Teahupo’o on the French Polynesian island of Tahiti is considered one of the best surfing spots in the world
The International Surfing Association (ISA) welcomes delays in construction work at the site of the Paris 2024 Olympic surfing competition in Tahiti.
Construction of a judging tower was paused after local opponents said a barge damaged coral near the competition site in Teahupo’o.
Footage posted by Save Teahupo’o Reef on social media appeared to show a barge stuck in the reef and broken coral.
The ISA said it was “saddened and surprised” by the incident.
The surfing association confirmed that the French Polynesian government has “suspended all further testing and preparation to learn lessons from the reef incident.”
Teahupo’o is considered one of the best surfing waves in the world and has long hosted events on the professional World Surf League (WSL) championship tour.
However, this has been done by installing a wooden tower on the reef for the judges, and local residents say the construction of a much larger aluminum tower that would allow up to 40 people to watch, film and judge surfing at the games that would damage corals.
Organizers agreed to build a smaller, lighter tower on the site, which would require smaller equipment to install – but new foundations in the reef are still required.
Responding to the footage posted by Save Teahupo’o Reef – a coalition of locals, surfers and environmental NGOs – Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore said: “It doesn’t seem worth it.”
The ISA said: “Since the inception of the proposal to host Olympic surfing in French Polynesia, the ISA has always insisted that protecting the natural environment in Teahupo’o is a priority.”
It added: “The ISA welcomes this decision and has called for intensified consultations to consider all available options.”
Paris 2024 organizers said in November they remained committed to hosting the Olympic surfing event at its planned location in Tahiti – 9,500 miles from the Paris Games – despite locals raising concerns about the environmental impact.
The Paris 2024 surfing event is scheduled for July 27th to 30th.
Source : www.bbc.co.uk