Surfing has been around for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. It was first popularized in Polynesia and the Hawaiian Islands in the 19th century and came to California in the early 20th century. By the 1960s, it had become a popular meme in Hollywood movies and rock songs, notably those by the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. The first well-known surfer was the Hawaiian Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku.
At the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, surfing was approved as a new sport for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with a shortboard event for both men and women. It was one of four new sports added to the Olympic Program for Tokyo, including karate, skateboarding, and sport climbing. For the 2024 Paris Olympics, surfing will be contested in Tahiti, in French Polynesia, which will be the venue the farthest from the main host city in Olympic history.
Surfing is governed by the International Surfing Association (ISA), which was originally named the International Surfing Federation (ISF) between 1964 and 1973. As of 2022, it has 108 member nations.