Controversy surrounds Paris 2024 Olympic surfing venue in Tahiti

The surfing events for the 2024 Paris Olympics were initially planned for Teahupoo on the island of Tahiti, some 15,000 km away from Paris. However, the proposed facilities on site are increasingly being contested.

Teahupoo, on the wild peninsula of Tahiti Iti, is renowned for its mythical wave, discovered by adventurous surfers in the 1980s.

This impressive, wide, and long wave typically reaches heights of two to three meters but can soar to seven meters with the swell.

In August 2000, a Hawaiian surfer set a world record by riding what is considered the largest tube of all time.

The selection of this location for the Olympic events, scheduled for four days at the end of July, seemed ideal.

However, the installation of a tower offshore to accommodate judges is becoming more controversial, especially after damage to coral during the first technical trials last weekend.

Opponents documented these damages to emphasize the impact on the coral reef.

In response to the controversy, the President of French Polynesia visited the site, adhering to a local custom by bathing in the lagoon to honor the sacred power of the wave.

Construction has been temporarily suspended. An alternative project considers the construction of a much smaller tower, devoid of water, toilets, and electricity, but even this is contested by supporters of the site.

Californian surfers have expressed their support, organizing a demonstration in San Diego.

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