(Tsuragasaki Beach, Japan) - July 26, 2021 - It was a roller coaster of emotions for Team USA surfers in day two of surfing’s Olympic debut. While a head-to-head elimination match between John John Florence and Kolohe Andino broke up the merry Team USA surfing band, Kolohe and Caroline Marks earned the first excellent scores of surfing’s first Olympic Games, advancing to the quarterfinals with teammate Carissa Moore.
Event organizers expect to complete the quarterfinals and medal rounds in day three, setting the stage for the first ever men's and women's Olympic medalists.
In her round three, 19-year-old Caroline Marks scored an 8 for three perfectly timed and executed backside lip slashes, drifting the fins in the close-out section.
“Bing, bang, boom,” said Coach Brett Simpson. “Caroline grew up in conditions like this, so she was super comfortable and confident.” Caroline advances to the quarterfinals tomorrow where she will face Costa Rica’s Brisa Hennessy at 10:00 am Japan time, 9:00 pm ET/6:00 pm PT.
Carissa Moore was up next, finding scores in sloppy conditions to advance to the quarterfinals in a match up with Peru’s Silvana Lima at 10:36 am Japan time, 3:36 pm Hawaii/6:00 pm PT.
After John John had to surf a round two re-seeding heat to get back in contention upon placing third in round one, the math in the seeding of the heats put them head-to-head in a round three matchup.
Simpson said “Carissa is surfing mediocre waves really well and getting the scores needed to advance. Her goal is to continue building her rhythm and lose the jitters. She’s the four-time world champ and favorite, so it’s natural to feel more pressure.”
The highly-anticipated John John Florence vs. Kolohe Andino heat had plenty of drama. After a delay to let conditions build to overhead peaks, Kolohe launched an 8.5 frontside slob grab air reverse in the first 30 seconds of the heat. Kolohe said he hadn’t done a maneuver that big in seven months, and surprised himself to get a quality air section that early in the heat.
While bummed to face his teammate so early in the competition, he said he looked forward to the heat. “John is a two-time world champ and the greatest surfer in our generation," Kolohe said. "I was stoked to have the heat and get it on. The best surfers in the world are here, so they’re all tough heats.”
Kolohe will match up with Kanoa Igarashi in the quarterfinals tomorrow – the first heat of the day at 7:00 am Japan time, 3:00 pm PT/6:00 pm ET. To watch, go to nbcolympics.com, click on “watch with us” or “watch live” then sign in with your TV provider. You can also get the NBC Sports and/or Peacock app from the App Store.
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