Tahiti villagers say barge to build Olympic surf tower damages reef

A barge planned for use building a controversial judging tower for the Paris 2024 Olympic surfing competition in Tahiti snagged on a reef and damaged coral near the contest site, local opponents said.

Residents of Teahupo’o in October protested plans by Games organizers to build the 14-metre high aluminum tower to enable up to 40 people to watch, film and judge the surfing at a famed break in front of the village.

Organizers including the Paris 2024 committee and the French Polynesia government said last month they had decided building a smaller, lighter tower on the site was the best option, allowing for smaller equipment to install it — but still requiring new foundations in the reef.