The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has announced a world class surf team to contest the Paris 2024 Olympics at the famed Teahupo’o surf break in Tahiti., including Molly Picklum, Jack Robinson, Ethan Ewing and New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) athlete Tyler Wright. They will all make their Olympic debut, building on the sport’s Olympic legacy that began at Tokyo 2020.

All four surfers provisionally qualified for Paris by finishing in the World Surf League top five end of season rankings in 2023, fulfilling the additional qualification element by participating in Australia’s campaign at the 2024 World Surfing Games in Puerto Rico.

The team has an incredible record of success on the global stage, with Wright a two-time World Champion, and Picklum a two-time Championship Tour (CT) event winner. Robinson has seven CT event wins, including at the Olympic venue in Tahiti last year and last month’s Margaret River Pro, while Ewing is a two-time CT event winner, finishing last year’s WSL in second overall.

The Teahupo’o venue also makes Olympic history as the farthest distance an Olympic event will be held from the host city – with Tahiti to Paris around 100 kilometres further than Melbourne to Stockholm, which hosted the 1956 Olympic equestrian events due to quarantine challenges.

Australian Olympic team Chef de Mission Anna Meares welcomed the four athletes to the Team for Paris.

“Congratulations to these world-class athletes on their selection to the Australian Olympic Team,” Ms Meares said.

“Surfing has been such an incredible addition to the Olympic program. The Olympic movement, athletes and fans have enjoyed welcoming our Australian surfers and the Aussie surfing community has embraced being part of the broader Olympic family.

“Tyler, Molly, Jack and Ethan have already shown they are among the best surfers in the world, and I know Aussie fans are going to be cheering them on in Tahiti in July. Congratulations as well to the team at Surfing Australia and the coaches, family members and supporters that have helped these four athletes achieve this Olympic milestone today.”

2016 and 2017 World Champion Tyler continues the Wright family’s Olympic legacy, after brother Owen won Australia’s first Olympic medal in Tokyo.

“To see surfing in the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 was kind of surreal,” she said. “The Olympics for me is something I’ve sat down since I was young and just spent two weeks absolutely obsessing over the sport for two weeks. To see my own sport there was kind of weird but so cool. I’m excited to see where it can go from here.”

Tyler Wright

“Teahupo’o is a massive wave of consequence. It’s beautiful, it’s raw and it’s a wave where you don’t want to find out the consequences. You want to go in with a really humble and respectful approach to mother nature and what she produces.

“More than likely I’m going to be scared, but it’s being honest with that and sticking to what’s important for me in that opportunity, that’s all I can ask for myself.”

Twenty-one-year-old Picklum is currently second on the WSL world rankings, with a growing reputation as a fearless surfer in big conditions.

“To be selected on the Australian Olympic team is an honour,” she said. “Once I put this shirt on and talk about it, it’s becoming real. I still don’t think I understand the full impact.

“Tahiti is a pretty scary wave. Our surfing team is really strong and this team is ideal for this location – the boys and Tyler are such good barrel riders, and this wave is all about barrel riding. This team is definitely worthy of sitting on the edge of your seat and watching.”

West Australian Jack Robinson knows what it takes to succeed in Tahiti, winning the 2023 Tahiti Pro at Teahupo’o.

“When I got selected it was a dream. Representing the Irukandjis, just really proud to represent your country,” he said.

“Teahupo’o is the heaviest wave in the world. It’s so gnarly, you just have to respect the wave every time you go out. It was really inspiring watching Owen [Wright], I just want to get to the Olympics first, once we’re there it will all unfold.”

Twenty-five-year-old Queenslander Ewing said it felt amazing to be officially selected for his debut Olympics.

“It’s been a huge goal of mine since surfing got introduced to the Olympics, it’s an absolute honour to represent Australia.

“It’s really exciting, I feel more pressure because I’m not just surfing for myself, it’s for my teammates, and the people that have represented Australia before me but I love it, I’m super proud.”

Surfing Australia High Performance Director Kate Wilcomes welcomed today’s announcement.

“We are excited to officially announce the Irukandjis team made up of Tyler, Molly, Jack and Ethan,” she said. “They are all incredibly talented athletes, and we are beyond proud to have them represent Australia.”

“Our athletes bring not only their skill but also respect for the wave, the local people and their culture. I believe this passion and connection to the location is important not only to our team’s success but also to the legacy that follows after the Games. I can’t wait to see them in the green and gold!”

Today’s selection takes the selected Australian Olympic Team size to 64 of an expected final team of around 460 athletes.

The Surfing competition window will run from 27 July to 5 August at Teahupo’o, located on the west shore of Tahiti.

Article and image courtesy of the AOC

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