When it comes to the sports making their Olympic bows at 2020’s games in Tokyo, one of the most eagerly anticipated will be the surfing. To those that don’t know a barrel from a whitewater, the event may educate as well as entertain, and it is sure to create a few heroes in the process. To those that are completely unaware then surfing is the act of riding, usually on a board, on the forward or deep face of a moving wave.
Betting on surfing at 2020 Tokyo Olympics
The countdown to Tokyo has caught the imagination of many big names in the sport – and not just the current crop of stars.
Kelly Slater – winner of nine world titles – has indicated he is interested in taking part when he will be 48. Widely considered as the greatest surfer of all time, the American’s last world title was in 2012. But with Hawaii surfers coming under the USA umbrella, there will be no easy route for Slater to qualify.
Australian Stephanie Gilmore is among the favourites for the women’s gold medal next year, and after her success in 2018 she’ll be going for her eighth world title this year.
There will a total of 20 men and 20 women competing at the event at Shidashita Beach, 40 miles outside of Tokyo. The event will be a four-person heat structure, two going through. Each heat will be over 20-25 minutes and a panel of judges will award points on the difficulty of the manoeuvres performed.
Surfing betting opportunities
Many British and American betting sites offer an extensive range of odds on this year’s world surfing championships, the odds based on last year’s results. (You can bet on surfing online at BetAmerica or William Hill US. They offer in-play betting on surf events as well as welcome bonuses for the first players.) One name that finished down in 33th place in the rankings, John John Florence of Hawaii, is joint favourite. The 26-year-old was seeking his third successive title but missed half of last season with a knee injury, much to Gabriel Medina’s benefit.
The injury hindered Florence throughout the campaign, but his skills in the sport are clear with the odds being offered.
In the women’s competition another injury victim last year, Tyler Wright, is just behind Gilmore in the betting. She was also chasing a third successive world championship title.
Surfing betting strategy, rules and tips
When betting on surfing, it can be easy to just check on the results from last year and put your money on the defending champion. This is just one fo the strategies taht can be applied to surfing betting. With win only bets currently being offered, it may be better to keep your powder dry until the world championship season kicks off. The likes of John John Florence and Tyler Wright are short odds for a reason, but if they’re still nursing injuries an early bet may prove unwise.
It might be worth checking those who finished the season on a high, surfers like Carissa Moor. The Hawaiian boasted two first and two third-placed finishes in the final four competitions. If she can perform better away from the North Pacific tournaments then she is certainly one to watch.
Where to bet on surfing: odds and sportsbooks
If you’re looking for a longshot to upset the odds then you might be onto a loser, with most bookmakers offering win only bets for this year’s world surfing championships.
Check online bookmakers such as Pinnacle, William Hill and Betfair to find out what odds they’re offering on surfing betting lines. If you fancy a bet before the season kicks off, Betfair is currently offering dedicated world championship odds – for men and women.
It may be worth following events the season ahead of a bet for next year’s Olympics. But remember you may have to wait until closer to the surfing event you want to bet on when checking the surfing betting markets on sites such as Pinnacle. If you can’t find the event or bet you want then ask your betting provider – other odds can be available on request.
Upcoming surfing events to bet on in 2019
All surfing eyes are focused on its debut at the Tokyo Olympics and this year’s World Surfing Championships will be a good measure of who to watch in Japan in 2020. The season kicks off in Australia in April with Gabriel Medina the current bookies favourite to retain the title he won last year.
Medina, 25, is a superstar back home in Brazil with seven million-plus Twitter followers giving an indication of his level of popularity. In a country more known for its love of football, Medina is a national hero despite the round ball playing no role in his fame.
As we mentioned earlier a few big names of the sport spent a lot of last season on the treatment table or in their sick-bed. With that in mind it’s always making sure you know who’s fit and who isn’t when it comes to placing your bets.
There are several sites that will keep you in the surfing picture for this season and ahead of next year’s Olympics. One of the most popular is surfline which helps to keep you up to date with all this season’s events. Also offering that service and providing in-depth profiles of the stars of the sport is worldsurfleague.
Where to watch surfing live and on TV
The surfing community is very well served with TV coverage after Facebook joined forces with the World Surf League to offer live coverage of all Championship Tour Events and Big Wave Events, facebook.com/WSL.
The surfing at the Olympic Games will be on domestic channels in Europe such as the BBC in the United Kingdom, the Seven Network in Australia and NBC in the United States, along with several other US channels.
The art of surfing has been part of Polynesian culture – an area of islands in the central and southern Pacific Ocean – for centuries. There are records of observations of surfing made by British explorers around Tahiti in the late 18th century. It emerged as a spectacle on the Californian coast in the early part of the 20th century. To entice visitors to Redondo Beach, wealthy landowner Henry Huntington hired a Hawaiian called George Freeth to ride surfboards. Freeth cut a hardwood board in half to create the first ‘long board’, displaying his skills twice a day outside the Hotel Redondo.
It progressed to become a world championship sport in the early 1960s with a tournament held biennially from 1964.
Photo by Pierre Saladin