Surfing is a $10 billion industry, yet professional surfing, led by the World Surf League, largely remains niche and little understood. Surfing requires a well-rounded athleticism, including immense strength, agility, and grace to pull off maneuvers based on what the big, wild ocean delivers in the moment — think of the vagaries of the ocean as the fourth dimension in this sport many see as a spiritual pursuit. There’s hope now that the visually stunning sport will finally get its due with a mainstream audience at the Games, though some viewers may struggle to follow given the complexity and metrics of competition.
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Surfing will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games. Here’s what to know.