Just a few months after our semester ends, surfing is set to debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. While some surfers have praised this development, others see it as being unnecessary and problematic, potentially leading to more overcrowded line-ups around the world and, in general, continuing recent trends of commercializing the sport. But, wait a minute, IS surfing really a sport? In an article assigned for class on 3/26, Brian Blickenstaff notes that many of the best surfers on earth do not enter competitive events organized by the World Surfing League, and that the judging of these competitions has often been seen as subjective and questionable. In addition, there are issues of gender, race, and sexism on tour, and “the clothing and apparel industry that banks on the surfing culture is far, far bigger than the actual professional surfing economy.” Of course, these issues do not necessarily mean that surfing is not a sport. For this Blogpost, then, we’d like you to enter into the fray on this topic, a debate that has been raging in the world of surfing for at least 50 years, and is only intensifying with the Olympics nearly upon us. What do you think: IS surfing a sport, or just a fun pastime? In the “sport vs. art” debate, is it true that artistry, the relationship with nature, and individual expression on the waves has taken a back seat to professionalized competition and commercialization? Why do you think the way that you do? And, ultimately, why is this question so important, to “soul surfers” and competitive surfers alike?