Stade Jean-Bouin, home of French Top 14 rugby union club Stade Français, will be transformed into a water sports venue later this year when it hosts the Ocean Games.
The 20,000-seat stadium, which is located in Paris, will host the inaugural edition of the event on September 26-27. Sports planned for the event include windsurfing, kitesurfing, windfoil breakdance, laser sailing and foil surfing.
The pitch at Stade Jean-Bouin will be replaced by a large swimming pool that will stage all the sports. The event is the brainchild of windsurfer Fred Beauchêne, who took the sport to Paris’ AccorHotels Arena (then called Palais omnisports de Paris-Bercy) in the 1990s.
Beauchêne told French newspaper Le Parisien: “It may seem surprising but most of those who practice these nautical activities… do not live by the sea. They are urban people who take advantage of the weekend or the holidays to do so. So I know that there is a real audience of enthusiasts in Paris for such a spectacle.”
He added: “In Bercy, we had a 71m-long pool. This time it will be 100m with 280,000 litres of water. It will be more convenient and spectacular for the fans. The wind will be brought by huge fans of my design to push the equipment to Force 6, which is about 50km/h.
“Water will obviously not be lost. It will be returned to refill. The only negative ecological footprint will concern electricity for fans.”
Professional athletes will take part in the event, which will take place four years before Paris stages the summer Olympic Games. Surfing will be contested at the Paris Olympics but it was announced last month that the sport will be held over 9,000 miles from the French capital on the Pacific island of Tahiti.
Tickets for the Ocean Games event start at €35 (£30/$39).
Image: Ocean Games press kit