Surfing Preview

Team USA's first two-man, two-woman, Olympic surf team — Kolohe Andino, Carissa Moore, Caroline Marks and John John Florence — have the honor of representing their country on the world’s biggest sporting stage: the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 taking place in 2021.

Team USA surfers represent east and west coasts and Hawaii, and boast some of the top talent in the world. Eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater and world No. 3 Lakey Peterson are alternates and will need to surf at ISA World Surfing Games 2021 to continue to be eligible for the alternate slots in the games.

Hawaiian Moore is the reigning world champion, winning her fourth world title and qualifying for the Olympics in December.

Fellow Hawaiian Florence is a two-time world champion and had such a commanding lead in the 2019 World Surf League season, he was able to qualify for the Olympics after missing half the season recovering from an ACL injury.

Californian Andino was the first American to provisionally qualify for the Olympics in October 2019 after achieving results that guaranteed he would finish as one of the top two American men in the 2019 World Surf League Rankings, the path for Olympic qualification in the U.S.

The surfing competition for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – now taking place in 2021 – will be held at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba — about 40 minutes outside Tokyo. USA Surfing’s official forecasting partner Surfline has been watching weather and wave patterns that bode well for good conditions during the late July window of 2021.

The window for competition at the 2020 Olympic Games runs July 25 – August 1. With the help of official forecaster Surfline, Olympic Game leaders will identify the dates during that window with the best conditions to run surfing’s first Olympic competition. The contest could be compressed into two-and-a-half days, but ideally will run over four days.

Updated on July 17, 2020. For more information, contact the sport press officer here.

Stronger Together: The Tokyo Games will be the first time mainland U.S. and Hawaii surfers compete on the same team under the U.S. flag. For the World Surf League and International Surfing Association events, Hawaii has historically been given sovereignty for competitions because of its recognition as the birthplace of surfing.

American Woman: American women surfers hold the top three positions in the World Surf League’s rankings, which created an intense battle for our country’s two Olympic team spots. Moore (No. 1), Caroline Marks (No. 2) and Lakey Peterson (No. 3) have been competing together since they were young girls, continually pushing their performances to new heights. Marks and Peterson even share the same coach – Mike Parsons. In 2019 the World Surf League implemented equal prize money for women and men – leading the way for other sports to follow. The WSL also launched Rising Tides, a grassroots movement aimed at inspiring young surfers and breaking down barriers.

The Ocean Venue: The 2020 Olympic surfing competition will be held at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba — about 50 minutes outside Tokyo. USA Surfing’s official forecasting partner Surfline has been watching weather and wave patterns that bode well for good conditions during the late July window of 2020. Surfline installed three new cameras at the 2020 Olympic surfing venue and can draw on 40 years of weather and wave condition data from that location. To help Team USA’s surfers prepare for success at the Olympic Games, Surfline’s lead forecasters presented trends and surf reports and their best thinking on the kind of waves expected for the Games. The science, technology and history of wave condition forecasting is fascinating and continually evolving. Some of the same science is used in designing wave-pool waves, and Surfline has even put some of its cameras at wave-pool sites. 

Front Row Seat to the Future of Surfing: Before Team USA’s Olympic surfers competed professionally, they were part of USA Surfing’s youth development pipeline and prime series competitions. Unlike other sports, surfing doesn’t have an NCAA, so it’s important to help U.S. athletes prepare for the big leagues of surfing with competition experiences that mirror professional events. America’s pipeline of youth talent has never been stronger, and surfers are qualifying for the World Surf League’s championship tour at younger and younger ages. USA Surfing’s junior team won team gold in 2019 and is on track to make more podiums. 

Olympic Debut: As surfing makes its debut at the Olympic Games, it is a completely unwritten book just waiting to unfold and develop. The heightened exposure is changing the sport and introducing the world to an incredibly beautiful and athletically demanding enterprise. In addition to the fascinating stories of the athletes and coaches, the world will see a refined set of judging criteria and protocols in Tokyo.

Kolohe Andino (San Clemente, California)
Andino was the first American surfer to provisionally qualify for Team USA’s Olympic surf team with performances so strong he earned the position in October, months before the WSL season ended. Growing up in San Clemente, California, with a pro surfer dad, he won seven USA Surfing champion titles and nine National Scholastic Surfing Association championships – a record for boys under 18. Andino has an aggressive, acrobatic style. His default approach is going big, which makes him one of the most filmed and entertaining surfers. Many of his hometown groms look up to Andino, who is quick to encourage and support the region’s up-and-coming talent.

John John Florence (Oahu, Hawaii)
Florence is a two-time world champion and made an incredible comeback from injury to gain provisional Olympic qualification in 2019. Despite missing more than half the season recovering from ACL surgery, he held onto one of two top U.S. spots, after returning to compete in the WSL's final event of the season - the Pipe Masters. He started surfing when he was just two years old. At the age of 13, he became the youngest person to compete in the Triple Crown of Surfing. Just six years later, Florence would win his first title and in 2017 clinched his second. His surfing is in a league of its own; he effortlessly pulls off freakish airs and maneuvers with athleticism and style.

Caroline Marks (Melbourne Beach, Florida)
Marks made history as the youngest surfer (man or woman) to qualify for the World Surf League Championship Tour at just 15 years old and had a performance so strong she was named WSL Rookie of the Year. She finished her second year on tour ranked No. 2 in the world and is aiming for her first world championship title in 2020. She grew up in Melbourne Beach, Florida, where she learned to surf with her brothers when she was eight years old. Before going on the WSL championship tour, she racked up multiple USA Surfing championship wins, including winning the gold medal in the 2016 ISA World Junior Surfing Championships Girls Under 16 division.

Carissa Moore (Oahu, Hawaii)
Moore is ranked No. 1 in the world, earning her fourth world title in 2019. She surfs with remarkable power and finesse, and is known for her work to help young girls develop confidence and pursue their dreams. Moore started racking up wins at National Scholastic Surfing Association junior surf competitions and top spots at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships, where she helped Hawaii win a team victory. In all, she clinched a record 11 NSSA amateur titles. At age 18, she became the youngest person (man or woman) to win a surfing world title and was the first woman to compete in the Triple Crown of Surfing, Hawaii’s most prestigious contest series featuring the world’s best male surfers. Moore was a star student at Punahou High (the same high school President Barack Obama attended) where she met her husband, Luke Untermann. She took four years of Japanese in high school and is looking forward to sharpening her use of the language during the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The top-two ranked American men and top-two ranked American women at the end of the 2019 WSL season in December will qualify to compete at the Tokyo Games. The ISA World Surf Games in September 2019 and the spring of 2021 are both required competitions for qualifying for the Tokyo Games. American surfers who qualify for these events will compete with athletes from countries such as Iran, Germany, Oman, Uruguay and Russia – surfers they’ve likely never faced before in the WSL.

The top-two ranked men and women at the end of the 2019 WSL season in December provisionally qualify to compete on the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team. In addition, to meet eligibility requirements these surfers will compete in the May 2020 ISA World Surfing Games.

· Spring 2021: ISA World Surfing Games (Surf City, El Salvador) – a requirement for provisionally qualified Olympic surfers and also open to America’s third highest ranking surfers – Kelly Slater and Lakey Peterson