Pierre’s Olympic Ambition.
By Dan Dobbin.
You recently came out strongly on social media expressing the desire to see Bodyboarding included as an Olympic sport. What prompted this?
I am a sports fan, I love to see all kind of different sports and learn about them, the technique, the rules.
The Olympics represent how humans invented all kind of different ways to compete against themselves along the time. I personally get more into the most ancient sports because they were the most basic ones, who runs the fastest , who jumps the highest, who can lift the most weight, etc. I don’t necessarily watch it all but I genuinely like to know who won those events.
Those sports aren’t the most exciting to watch, but I have the biggest respect for all the athletes in the world but the Olympics has become much more than just a sports event. They need media, they need to attract people to watch the games and they will always look at ways to attract more and more people in the future, so it wasn’t a surprise for me for them to include Surfing, SkateBoarding, Climbing or BMX freestyle at this year’s Olympics.
They have to attract the younger generation if they want numbers, bodyboarding will follow sooner or later because the Olympics can tap into a big community to watch their events. It is beneficial for both the Olympics and those radical sports.
My post was to wake up everyone, to celebrate the fact that wave riding made its debut in the Olympics program but if we want to have bodyboarding included, then it is time to work on it, whether that be in Paris 2024,Los Angeles 2028 but it can be in 2032 in Australia.
Just like histoy has shown, people become bored with what they see or do commonly. One day the general public will want to see people riding waves differently than just standing up on a board, they will get used to that eventually, which opens up the demand for watching bodyboarding, longboarding or bodysurfing.
What would it mean to you to be able to represent France at the Paris 2024 games?
That would be a dream for sure.
What sort of impact do you think the global exposure of the Olympics would have on bodyboarding?
For any sport, being at the Olympics means world wide exposure to an audience you can’t reach on the professional world tour and also fundings from the government for the sport itself and all the athletes wanting to make a career in the sport.
The surfing venue for Paris 2024 is at Teahupoo, is there a better venue to showcase what bodyboarding is all about to the world?
If it’s the best I am not sure, but it is quite a symbolic place and if the waves are good, bodyboarding can show its full potential to the world.
It is quite understandable that surfing wasn’t included until now, where would you run the event in Pekin, Athens or London?
It is important here to remind people, the success of the wave pools at the moment and the fact we no longer require the ocean to make a surfing event played a key role for the Olympics to see the sport continue in further games so regardless where is the venue is in 2024. Most likely future events may end up in wave pools, so that makes the 2024 Olympics games a special one and a peferct opportunity for bodyboarding to be included.
With Stand up surfing already admitted as an Olympic sport, does that open up the possibility of bodyboarding simply being added as a discipline of surfing for future Olympics rather than having to qualify as an independent sport?
Yes, like I said wave riding is now considered a sport by the Olympic program, that is a huge step towards the inclusion of bodyboarding in the future. Now we need to fight for the Olympics to include bodyboarding as a discipline of surfing, not to include it as a different sport which is a completely different process. It is the same process that allowed BMX freestyle to be included in the Cycling program.
Paris and its organization may have the power to do so, they are including Breakdancing in 2024 ( And removing Karate), they can potentially take the decision if a real work is done from our side.
As the International Surfing Association (ISA) is the recognised governing body for surfing disciplines by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in your opinion is it imperative now that bodyboarders get behind and support ISA more strongly?
The ISA managed to reunite 109 federations of Surfing across the world, that is such a phenomenal work as some of those countries do not have an ocean or a sea. The work has been done, all the political part with the International Olympics Committee already recognized Surfing.
The Olympic Charter indicates that in order to be accepted, a sport must be widely practiced by men in at least 75 countries and on four continents and by women in no fewer than 40 countries and on three continents.
Imagine having to do it again on our own when there is clearly a faster and easier way.
We bodyboarders helped the sport of surfing and eventually the inclusion of Short Board in the Olympics, as did the longboarders , the SUP racers etc…
We increased the numbers of Surfing, all the ISA world games from those disciplines had an impact on getting surfing recognised as an Olympic sport.
The ISA needs to help us now, by starting the process with the help of the bodyboarding community for us to be included. One part of this process will be to run the ISA World Games again the next few years as this is the first criteria for recognition, a strong World Championship will also help hugely.
Any other comments or information you’d like to add feel free here.
Yes, I honestly would love to see bodyboarding in the Olympics as a recognition for all those people and athletes who are responsible for the evolution of the sport, that is why I expressed myself because it can happen much more easily than we think now that Surfing is part of the Olympics.
We are lucky that we don’t have a huge pressure like some others sports who only survived because of the Olympics, our community is strong and will continue to be with or without the Olympics, people will still do it regardless where it stands in the sports world.
I will do what I can to help get bodyboarding to the Olympics for the reasons I mentioned earlier and because I like the challenge but in the end of the day. I will bodyboard anyways because it is such an incredible things to do, I first consider bodyboarding as a lifestyle and that is why it is so popular.