Who will be surfing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics? This is how it's shaping up!

Which male and female surfers will be flying the flag for their country at the Games debut for the sport, and who is on the brink of qualifying?

By Ashlee Tulloch

Some 18 athletes have provisionally qualified to compete at surfing's Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020.

And while there is high intrigue about the sports Olympic debut, the focus right now is on who's going and who's not.

There are still 22 spots remaining and with one event left on the 2019 World Surf League Championship Tour, surfers are drawing lines in the sand.

A total of 20 men and 20 woman will compete in Tokyo, but competition is stiff.

Only two athletes per country can qualify per gender, and 18 of those spots will come from the 2019 WSL Championship tour. Already, four men and four women are locked in through this route.

So with just a few months to go, who's in, who's out, and who's on the cusp?

Provisional qualification for world's best

Through the WSL Championship Tour, Japan's Kanoa Igarashi, South Africa's Jordy Smith, USA's Kolohe Andino and France's Jeremy Flores have all earned spots.

France's Johanne Defay, Brazil's Tatiana Weston-Webb, and Australia's Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore have also earned their places.

That leaves six men's spots and four women's spots open for 2019 WSL Championship tour surfers. These will be determined at the Hawaii Pro and Pipe Masters starting November 25 and ending December 20.

A nice way to round out 2019 for some. Heartbreak for others.

USA tussle

This is where things get very interesting.

There is one American men's spot left and currently that place is set to go to John John Florence.

The Hawaiian is siting eighth in the world despite missing half of the season after rupturing his ACL.

Chasing him for the second USA place is 11-time world champion Kelly Slater. The 47-year-old is 3,000 points behind the 27-year old and a real threat.

Florence's fellow Hawaiian is Seth Moniz is another 3,000 behind Slater, but will need to perform better than he has all year to have a shot at taking Florence's place.

John John has been teasing the surfing world with video and images on social media. If he does surf the Pipe Masters beginning December 8 he could well earn more points and deny Slater one accolade that he does not have - an Olympic Games on his curriculum vitae. Slater will need to finish above Florence at that event to earn enough points to overtake his Olympic qualifying rival.

The American women's Olympic bid is possibly more intense, because a world title crown is on the line.

Carissa Moore, Lakey Peterson, and Caroline Marks are sitting first, second, and third in the world.

The 2019 world title winner will take an Olympic spot, and the runner up will take the second American women's place.

Brazilian battle

Brazil's top three male surfers also have a fierce fight on their hands, with three surfers contesting the two spots.

Italo Ferreira sits first on the WSL championship tour rankings, with two-time world champion Gabriel Medina second, and Filipe Toledo fourth.

The two surfers that finish highest at Pipe will earn the Olympic ticket.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie

The Australian men are a little more straight forward.

Owen Wright is on the brink of taking the first Aussie spot.

Julian Wilson, Ryan Callian, and Wade Carmichael are in a hot contest for the second ticket.

Wilson has 2,000 more points than Callian and won the Pipe Masters in 2014.

The best of the rest

The final two women's WSL places will likely to to Brisa Hennessy of Costa Rica and Silvana Lima of Brazil.

France's Michel Bourez sits further down the WSL men's rankings ladder at 15th, but is likely to take the final men's spot from the CT qualification.

Pan American Games and ISA World Surfing Games qualifiers

The first qualification slots were awarded to Peru’s Lucca Mesinas and Daniella Rosas in July at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.

The 2019 ISA World Surfing Games saw eight other surfers book their Olympic spots.

The women's qualifiers were Japan’s Shino Matsuda, South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag, New Zealand’s Ella Williams, and Israel’s Anat Lelior.

For the men, Japan’s Shun Murakami, Portugal’s Frederico Morais, Morroco’s Ramzi Boukhiam, and New Zealand’s Billy Stairmand will be in Tokyo.

Two host nation places were available for Japanese surfers, but because Igarashi, Murakami and Matsuda earned their places through the normal qualifying pathways, two additional places are up for grabs 2020 ISA World Surfing Games. Seven women and five men will earn at the final surfing places at this event in May next year.

*All slots are provisional until the International Surfing Association final announcement at the end of the 2020 ISA World Surfing Games.