Olympic-bound surfers Caroline Marks, Kolohe Andino & coach Brett Simpson introduced at Lakers Game in Toyota presentation
LOS ANGELES (February 25, 2020) – Team USA surfers Caroline Marks and Kolohe Andino and two-time US Open champion and junior national coach Brett Simpson met with Lakers fans, signed autographs and were introduced center court today, in a special Toyota presentation recognizing surfing’s Olympic debut.
These Californians plus Hawaiians Carissa Moore and John John Florence are headed to Tokyo for surfing’s first Olympics in just five months. To celebrate surfing's first Olympic Games, each team member received a custom Lakers jersey from the Lakers and Toyota.
Team USA’s Golden State surfers and coach were stoked to watch the legendary Lakers players, three of whom have won gold medals at the Olympics – LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Dwight Howard.
USA Surfing’s junior national coach and two-time U.S. Open champion Brett Simpson is an avid Lakers fan. “What a special opportunity! I’m so stoked to stand with America’s best surfers and be introduced during the famed Lakers organization’s home game,” Simpson said. “We get to watch one of the best ever - Lebron James, who has earned two gold medals!”
“The United States fielded an absolute dream team of surfers. I am so proud of these word class athletes and excited about what they will bring to surfing’s first Olympics,” said USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse. “It will be fun for the team to interact with the Lakers’ hometown crowd in a city that will host the 2028 Olympics, where surfing is expected to be a major highlight of the Games.”
USA Surfing is grateful to partner with Toyota to raise the sport’s visibility and help the athletes prepare for success. “We’re excited to present Team USA’s first Olympic surf team,” said Dedra DeLilli, group manager, Olympic and Paralympic marketing, Toyota Motor North America. “In just a few short months, this exceptionally talented group of athletes will make history as surfing debuts at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and we’re honored to partner with USA Surfing as we support them on their journey to the Games.”
Team USA surfers are gold medal contenders with formidable talent. Moore is the current world No. 1 and has four world titles to her name. Florence is a two-time world champion. Marks is ranked No. 2 in the world at just 18 years old. Andino is ranked No. 5 in the world and has an acrobatic style made for Japan’s waves. See athlete bios below.
“I’m super honored to represent my country and share it with my family and friends,” Marks said. “I’m excited for surfing’s fan base to expand and bring more attention to the WSL and to the sport.”
“I am so happy and could not be more excited to compete in Tokyo,” Andino said. "I love my country and I always love watching the Olympics, so it will be really rad to march in the Opening Ceremony and to be a part of everything.”
Cruse said an Olympic gold medal will represent a pinnacle of achievement for surf athletes with more national and worldwide attention than surfing has ever known.
“Carissa, Caroline, Kolohe and John will be the pioneers in surfing’s Olympic movement. I’m looking forward to having them experience all the exposure, resources, history and inspiration of the world’s biggest sporting stage,” Cruse said.
USA Surfing became the national governing body for surfing in the Olympics in 2017 and is creating a high-performance path to the Olympic stage and cultivating the next generations of talent.
TEAM USA SURFERS’ BIOS
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 before the season ended. Growing up in San Clemente 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 San Clemente 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 2 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 won his first title and clinched his second in 2017. 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, Fla., where she learned to surf with her brothers when she was 8 years old. Before going on the WSL CT, 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 (NSSA) 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 surfer – male or female – 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. 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.
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