Retiring star Mick Fanning says surfing has a good chance of becoming a regular sport on the Olympic Games roster.
Surfing will be one of five new sports for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics although like skateboarding and sports climbing, there's no requirement for future cities to include it in their Games.
But with Paris and Los Angeles hosting after Tokyo, Fanning says surfing at the Olympics might be more than just a one-hit wonder.
The Californian coast is a mecca for board riders while Fanning says France is a huge surfing nation.
The three-time world champion said France excelled when hosting last year's World Surfing Games off the country's Atlantic coast.
And technology also means nations such as Germany are increasingly getting behind the sport despite obvious difficulties in accessing good waves.
"I think we're in a really unique place," 36-year-old Fanning told AAP on Thursday.
"I guess it's up to the athletes and surfing organisers to put on a really good show so the next few Olympics do pick it up."
Fanning is set to step away from the global surfing circuit in a few weeks at Bells Beach.
But, while being in the water at Tokyo is a bridge too far, he hasn't ruled reappearing from time to time.
The man who six times finished second or third in the title race may even pay back some younger athletes who, as upstart wildcards, played havoc with his championship hopes.
"I think it would be fun to come back as a wildcard and annoy the people that annoyed me when I was going for world titles," he says, with a chuckle.
"If the event is right, I feel right and I get offered it, maybe I'll throw my hand up but I'm not looking too far forward, I'm just enjoying what life is right now."
Though he and lifelong mate Joel Wilkinson are Australia's only male world champions since 2000, Fanning is optimistic about the future.
"Obviously it goes up and down," he said.
"We've still got so many good guys - Julian Wilson, Owen Wright, Matt Wilkinson - and then there are juniors who are extremely strong.
"Then on the women's side, we're the best in the world."
Fanning's next event will be at his hometown Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast in mid-March before he tries to win a record fifth Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach from March 28.
Australian Associated Press