Team USA Men and Women Clinch Silver Medal
Miyazaki, Japan (September 15, 2019)– In the dying seconds of the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games grand final, Kolohe Andino stuck a massive full-rotation slob (a difficult airborne board grab) to take the silver medal from Brazil’s Gabriel Medina. Italo Ferreira won gold, scoring a perfect 10 and finishing with a 17.77 heat total. Japan’s Shun Murakami finished fourth for a copper medal.
Kolohe needed at 7 to move into second place and scored a 9.43 to finish with a 17.06 heat total. The final round set a record for number of waves ridden in a heat, with Gabriel Medina riding 21 and Italo Ferreira 14. The limit for the World Surfing Games is 25.
USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse coached Kolohe 15 years ago when Kolohe surfed for the Shorecliffs Middle School team. “It is such a privilege to support young groms becoming the world’s best surfers,” Cruse said. “Brother’s surfing at these World Surfing Games was electrifying. Truly next level. I can’t wait to see what’s next for him.”
Eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater was sent to the second-chance repechage round after placing third in a super heat with Brazil’s Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira and teammate Kolohe Andino. Andino and Medina took first and second in that heat to advance to the final.
Kelly just missed advancing, with Italo Ferreira and Japan’s Shun Murakami taking first and second. “To have the greatest of all time surfing on Team USA was epic for everyone – the coaches, the team, support staff and fans,” said head coach Chris Stone. “And to have Kolohe win the individual silver medal and the U.S. to win team silver is a boost for surfing at all levels. The program benefits, everybody benefits all the way down to the junior programs.”
Team USA’s men and women took team silver. Brazil clinched gold and host country Japan finished third.
USA Surfing assistant coach Brett Simpson said the men and women on the team built a strong camaraderie throughout the World Surfing Games that he hopes continues after the games. “We all hung out and supported each other. It was a great vibe that showed in our team's surfing,” Simpson said.
This year’s World Surfing Games in Miyazaki, Japan was the first time the WSG is an Olympic qualifier for the more than 40 countries not represented in the World Surf League (WSL).
The event offered a compelling preview of the 2020 Olympic Games when surfing makes its debut. There were 55 nations with 250 surfers who surfed hundreds of heats to narrow the field to four.
According to the Olympic qualification rules, the top 10 eligible men and eight women, maximum two per country, at the end of the 2019 WSL CT season, will earn qualification slots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. This end-of-year ranking will also be used to determine who is nominated to be members of their national surfing teams at the 2020 WSG. The 2019 WSG is in Japan, but the 2020 WSG location is to be determined. With four WSL events remaining for the women and five for the men, Olympic qualification is adding a new element of excitement to the WSL season.
Contact: becky (at) usasurfing (dot) org
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