in Teahupoo, the increasingly contested Olympic surfing events

“I came to apologize to Teahupoo for what happened on Friday, it should never have happened like that” : when he meets the inhabitants of the Tahitian peninsula, Sunday December 3, the Polynesian president, Moetai Brotherson knows that resistance to the holding of the Olympic surfing events on this site, in the summer of 2024, has become even stronger .

Two days earlier, the barge scheduled to install the Judges Tower broke coral blocks. The scene was filmed by environmentalists. They had warned that the barge could not pass, the tests proved them right. The installation work on the judges’ tower was due to begin Monday, December 4, but has been postponed.

This is not the first adventure around the wall of skulls (Teahupoo, in Tahitian). The protest, initially discreet, took off on October 15, with a march of a few hundred residents. It is followed by a statement in English from local surfer Matahi Drollet, which gives an international dimension to the protest against the aluminum tower.

Its cost (4.4 million euros) had already shocked, its dimensions and its foundations in the coral worried. Surfers and protection associations want to continue using the wooden tower, which has allowed judges to observe surfers during World Surf League competitions for twenty years. But it no longer meets standards.

Agreement and concession

On November 7, Moetai Brotherson proposed maintaining the surfing events in Tahiti, but on another wave, in Taharuu. The tubes are less impressive, but they have the advantage of being formed in front of the beach, equipped with infrastructure for competitions. The president will then recognize that it is Teahupoo who applied: if Tahiti wants to host the Games, it will be on this wave and nowhere else.

On November 17, he co-signed a press release with the French government and Paris 2024. Everyone is committed to “a new, more sober tower, significantly revised and reduced in size and weight”with shallower drilling and a lighter barge.

On the 25th, Mr. Brotherson, after an interview in Paris with the Minister of Sports and Games, Amélie Oudéa-Castera, made a new concession to environmentalists: he removed the submarine cable which was to carry the optical fiber to the round. He suggests that a LiFi (Internet through light) system be used.

On the 26th, surfer Matahi Drollet published a new video. He is “certain that there will be an impact” on the site. It is supported by the Coral Gardener association, but also by Kelly Slater, eleven times world surfing champion.

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