— Published 7 June 2023

Polynesia still wants the surf

Doubt has been dispelled. Present in Paris this week, the new president of Polynesia, Moetai Brotherson (pictured above), has given his assurance that the surfing events at the Paris 2024 Games will indeed be held in Tahiti. With just over 400 days to go until the opening of the Olympic Games, the question should no longer arise. But Nahema Temariin, appointed Minister of Sport in the new Polynesian government, threw a spanner in the works last month, suggesting that nothing was set in stone. “We have two options, she said during a visit to Tahiti. The first option: we go all the way, making sure that this Games event goes as smoothly as possible for everyone. The second option is that, because of our fragile economic situation, French Polynesia revokes the organization of this Olympic competition. It’s not too late”. During his stay in mainland France, where he met Tony Estanguet and Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Moetai Brotherson was considerably more categorical. “We have a certain number of requirements with regard to the holding of these events, and we absolutely want them to take place here, he told AFP. The Games will be held in Tahiti, but my role is to ensure that they run as smoothly as possible, both from the point of view of the COJO, but above all from that of Polynesia and Polynesians. It raises the question of the legacy: what will remain after these ten days of events? If it’s to leave behind structures that we won’t know what to do with, there’s no point. If we’re going to leave nothing for young Polynesians who want to surf or even go into professional surfing, we’ll have missed the boat too.” The President of Polynesia acknowledged that he had been reassured by his meeting with Tony Estanguet, President of the Paris 2024 OCOG. “When it came to implementing solutions, he made me understand that the ball was in our court,” confided Moetai Brotherson.