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French Polynesia

The first Pacific island to host an Olympic event

Tahiti, French Polynesia will be the first Pacific island nation to host the Olympic Games as it has been approved as the site of the 2024 Paris Olympics surfing venue.

All other events will take place 15,000 kilometres away around the French capital.

Surfing made its Olympic debut in 2020 in Japan and Tahiti was singled out in December as the preferred option over rival beaches on the French mainland in Biarritz, Lacanau, Les Landes and La Torche.

The International Olympic Committee approved the move at its executive board meeting on Tuesday, while also approving the Place de la Concorde in central Paris as the site for its urban sports “cluster”.

The move to Tahiti is one of the longest distances between an event and the host city at any Olympic Games.

The waves at Teahupo’o in Tahiti. Tahiti, French Polynesia will be the first Pacific island nation to host the Olympic Games as it has been approved as the site of the 2024 Paris Olympics surfing venue. Picture: World Surf League

A similar move took place in 1956 when the Melbourne Olympics equestrian competition was held in Sweden’s Stockholm due to quarantine laws in Australia.

Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet in a statement: “We are delighted that the IOC Executive Board has approved the Teahupo’o site in Tahiti for the organization of the surfing competitions and Place de la Concorde for the urban sports events.

“This marks another milestone with our ambition to deliver spectacular and sustainable Games that will offer a unique experience for athletes.”

The International Surfing Association, governing body for the sport had given Tahiti the nod as well and over the weekend the island nation held the Outerknown Tahiti Pro in epic surf at Teahupo’o.

Brazilian Miguel Popo took the top honours but the talk of the event was 20-year-old Tahitian Kauli Vaast who beat 11 time world champion Kelly Slater, 50, in the semi finals.


Vaast told La Premiere he was proud of the win and to do so at home.

“The fact that it is at home, the fact that it is on the spot of Teahupoo which I love the most. Especially when I did my semi-final against Kelly Slater which I never surfed against before, beating him is even more unbelievable,” he said.

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“It was a good experience and I learned a lot and I will come back stronger, better and will win it for Tahiti.”

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