End of the controversy in Surfing at Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES

After back and forth discussions and alternative proposals from the ISA regarding virtual judging and the use of technology, Tony Estanguet has confirmed that a surfing tower will be built at Teahupo'o.

The President of the Olympic Organising Committee, former canoeist Tony Estanguet, has confirmed that the most controversial tower in Olympic history will go ahead. Speculation about moving the surfing event to mainland France or another part of French Polynesia is now behind us. The innovative use of technology, including land and underwater cameras and drones to judge the competitors, has also been ruled out. 

Environmental concerns remain, but according to Estanguet, the decision was made at the explicit request of the local authorities to proceed with the construction of a new aluminium tower. "We respect the decision, which was taken almost unanimously at the local level, to go ahead with this construction," Estanguet said during a year-end press conference at the committee's headquarters.

Teahupo'o will finally host the surfing event of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. GETTY IMAGES
Teahupo'o will finally host the surfing event of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. GETTY IMAGES

The reality is that the Olympic Games are just around the corner. Only eight months separate us from the start of the competition, and time is of the essence. "Five months before the trials, eight months before the Games, we have to move forward," stressed Etienne Thobois, CEO of Paris 2024, accusing the ISA of being late in seeking alternative solutions. 

In this context, Polynesian President Moetai Brotherson presented a work plan that should lead to a functional tower by 13 May, a few days before the World Surf League (WSL) Global Tour stage. The head of state claimed that there was unanimous support for the tower's construction, dismissing the significance of the word of the only association still opposed to the project, which they say will further damage the coral reefs that have already been affected for weeks. 

As a result, surfing will continue at the original site chosen by the Paris 2024 organisation, with the regulatory tower (the new aluminium one replacing the old wooden one) expected to be ready by mid-May, according to forecasts, in a place where the spirit of surfing is felt with every step or stroke. The environmental cost? In the background, as is unfortunately always the case when economic interests prevail.