How does Olympic surfing work? Format, judging, scoring

Bianca Buitendag of Team South Africa surfs during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach. Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Surfing is as much a sport as it is a lifestyle enjoyed by wave chasers and ocean lovers around the globe.

The activity made its way from Hawaii to the mainland in California in the early 20th century. Bands such as the Beach Boys brought surfing to the mainstream in the 1960s.

After making its Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, the sport will return at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

How does it work? Here's everything you need to know about surfing at the Olympics.

When will surfing take place at the 2024 Summer Olympics?

The competition will be held over four days from July 27 to Aug. 8. The exact dates will depend on conditions.

Where is the surfing competition?

It will take place in Teahupo'o, on the French Polynesian island of Tahiti, 9,765 miles from Paris.

What are the rules of surfing at the Olympics?

Surfers perform maneuvers and tricks on a wave for 20-35 minutes, depending on conditions. There is no limit to the number of waves a surfer can catch.

How does scoring work?

Five judges will analyze the surfers' performances and score each wave on a scale of 1-10, with two decimal places. The judges' highest and lowest scores for each wave are thrown out and the surfer is given the average of the remaining three scores. A surfer's two highest-scoring waves are combined for an overall total. A perfect ride is 10 points, so a perfect heat is 20 points.

What are the judges' criteria for the surfing competition?

The judges have five criteria:

1. Commitment and degree of difficulty

Judges reward higher-risk maneuvers and evaluate a surfer's commitment to maximizing the wave's potential.

2. Innovative and progressive maneuvers

Judges are looking to see whether a surfer is pushing the boundaries and performing innovative maneuvers such as tail slides and aerials.

3. Variety of maneuvers

4. Combination of major maneuvers

5. Speed, power and flow (how a surfer seamlessly connects their moves from one to the next)

Who has qualified to compete for Team USA?

Men: Griffin Colapinto and John John Florence

Women: Caroline Marks, Carissa Moore and Caity Simmers

Who won the surfing competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics?

Brazilian surfer Ítalo Ferreira won the gold medal in the men's shortboard. Moore won gold in the women's shortboard.

(Shortboards are smaller and more ideal for performing tricks.)

Check out the ESPN Olympics hub page for the latest news, previews, in-depth features and more.