Olympic surfing is on the horizon and the team lineups are now official. Before the Tokyo Games begin, take a minute to get familiar with the who, how and where.

Below is a breakdown on how surfers qualified, who will compete, what's up with the 6-round contest format and where the first-ever Olympic wave will crash.

Also, check out our interview with John John Florence on Olympic preparations. For info on Olympic skateboarding, here is a separate breakdown on athlete qualification, contest formats and insight on team uniforms.

Olympic Qualification: Who will be surfing?

The Olympic qualification process for surfers was a little confusing, but the results are in and the teams have been determined.

Long story short, there are four paths to Olympic qualification with a pre-determined hierarchy. In order of rank: World Surf League (WSL) 2019 overall ranking, 2021 International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games (WSG) result, 2019 ISA WSG result and a result at the Pan American Games.

Each country is allowed a maximum of two surfers per gender but athletes must individually earn their ticket to Tokyo Games by the above-mentioned qualification process. The Summer Olympics will feature 20 participants per gender, 40 surfers in total. Additionally, an Olympic rule requires representation from every continent as well as allocated spots for the host nation in each discipline.

For the complete list of who will be surfing in the Tokyo Games, SCROLL DOWN!

Olympic Surfing Format

In addition to a complex qualification process, the Olympic contest format itself comes in layers, too—six, to be exact.

  • Round 1 is non-elimination and will contain five heats of four surfers at a time. The top two from each heat advance to Round 3, while the remaining two surfers move on to Round 2.
  • Round 2 will include two heats of five surfers at a time. The top two will advance to Round 3, but the three lowest scoring surfers will be eliminated.
  • Round 3 heats will feature only two surfers at a time, for a total of eight heats. One surfer advances, and the other is eliminated.
  • Round 4 will be the Quarterfinals and include four heats of two surfers. One surfer advances, and the other is eliminated.
  • Round 5 is set to be the Semifinal with two heats that advance losers to the Bronze medal match and winners to the Gold medal final.
  • Round 6 will be the medal round. Two heats will take place, with one heat determining the Bronze and fourth place finish, while the last heat will declare the world's first-ever Silver and Gold medal Olympic surfers.

Olympic Wave Location

Arguably the most important piece of the Olympic surfing puzzle is the contest venue—the first-ever Olympic wave.

Taking place at Tsurigasaki Beach, this event is sure to create drama as the rounds unfold. Known as a rather small in height and typically short in length of ride, the beach also known as Shidashita has potential to upset typical world favorites that often perform in overhead and barreling wave conditions.

Regardless of what happens in 2021, the world will be watching with anticipation. And for those who haven't heard, the 2024 Olympic Games have surfing taking place at Teahupo, Tahiti—one of the world's largest, most magnificently barreling waves. So, consider Tokyo just a taste.

Tokyo Games Olympic Surfers - Men's

2019 WSL Overall Rankings

Jordy Smith RSA
Kolohe Andino USA
John John Florence USA
Kanoa Igarashi JPN
Jeremy Flores FRA
Michel Bourez FRA
Gabriel Medina BRA
Italo Ferreira BRA
Owen Wright AUS
Julian Wilson AUS

2021 ISA WSG Result

Leon Glatzer GER
Lucca Mesinas PER
Miguel Tudela PER
Manuel Selman CHI
Hiroto Ohhara JPN

2019 ISA WSG Result

Rio Waida INA
Ramzi Boukhiam MAR
Billy Stairmand NZL
Frederico Morais POR

2019 PanAm Games Result

Leandro Usuna ARG

Tokyo Games Olympic Surfers - Women's

2019 WSL Overall Rankings

Sally Fitzgibbons AUS
Stephanie Gilmore AUS
Johanne Defay FRA
Tatiana Weston-Webb BRA
Silvana Lima BRA
Carissa Moore USA
Caroline Marks USA
Brisa Hennessy CRC

2021 ISA WSG Result

Pauline Ado FRA
Yolanda Sequeria POR
Teresa Bonvalot POR
Mahina Maeda JPN
Amuro Tsuzuki JPN
Daniella Rosas PER
Leilani McGonagle CRC

2019 ISA WSG Result

Sofia Mulanovich PER
Anat Lelior ASR
Bianca Buitendag RSA
Ella Williams NZL

2019 PanAm Games Result

Dominic Barona ECU