Surfing at the Tokyo Olympics: How to watch – CNET

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Surfing will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games in Japan. Athletes will surf at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba, Japan.

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Surfing at the Tokyo Olympics is happening right now for the first time. Here's what you need to know...

When and where is surfing happening?

The Tokyo Olympics surfing program will take place at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach in Chiba, Japan, from July 25 to Aug. 1, 2021.

Check out the full Olympic schedule of events here.

2018 Russian Surfing Championships in Sochi

There are many types of surfboards, but the primary categories include shortboard and longboard. Olympic surfers will use shortboards, which are known for their pointed noses and excellent maneuverability. 

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How to watch surfing at the Olympics

The Olympics are back on NBC, with a 24/7 stream online if you verify you're a cable subscriber. NBCSports Gold will have a dedicated Olympics package -- pay an upfront fee and you'll be able to watch anywhere, uninterrupted by ads. 

Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of the West Coast, so watching live should get a good spread of events. It's a little trickier on the East Coast, where you may have to rely on highlights.

US residents don't need a cable or satellite TV subscription in order to watch the Olympics on NBC's family of channels. NBC itself will be the main channel, but you'll also find coverage on NBCN, CNBC, USA Network, Olympics Channel, Golf Channel and Telemundo. The major live TV streaming services include most or all of these NBC-related channels, and each one includes NBC though not in every market. The Olympics will also stream in 4K HDR on two of the services, FuboTV and YouTube TV. 

What will the events be like? 

Surfing consists primarily of two disciplines: shortboard and longboard. At the Tokyo Olympics, all athletes will surf shortboard. A shortboard refers to any board that's shorter than seven feet in length. They usually have a pointed nose and are lightweight. They're designed to be quick and accurate, and are more suited to fast and powerful waves than are longboards. 

How will the athletes be judged?

Judges will rate athletes on the type and difficulty of maneuvers performed. One example of an advanced surfing move is the aerial, where a surfer finds a ramp within a wave and launches off of the lip, gains air and lands back on the face of the wave. For even more jaw drops, a surfer would spin in a complete circle while in the air and still manage to land gracefully -- a surfing move known as the 360.

The judges will also account for speed, power and flow. Like other Olympic events, judges will score surfers from 1 to 10 with two decimals, for example, 7.91. 

Only one surfer may ride a wave at any given time, and athletes may lose points for failing to use common surfer etiquette, which rules that the surfer closest to the peak of a wave has right of way for that wave.

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