The U.S. holds top world ranking for men and women – Kolohe Andino and Carissa Moore move up to No. 1 spots this week
San Clemente, Calif. (July 22, 2019) – The countdown to surfing’s debut in the 2020 Olympic Games Tokyo is on! In exactly one year, two American women and two American men will represent their country and the sport of surfing on the world’s biggest sporting stage for the first time. The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee is planning a week-long series of promotional activities and athlete appearances to mark the milestone.
This week Americans Kolohe Andino and Carissa Moore moved up the rankings to No. 1 for men and women in the World Surf League’s (WSL) Championship Tour. These world rankings take on new meaning in this Olympic qualifying season, as the top two ranked U.S. men and top two ranked U.S. women at the end of the WSL season in December 2019 will qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Carissa Moore won her last world title in 2015. There are four contests remaining in the WSL women’s season, and she is defending champion at three of them. Kolohe Andino has finished second in events four times in his Championship Tour career and is on a mission to make 2019 the year he claims the world title. He would be the first world champion from California since Tom Curren in 1990.
“It is interesting that a Californian (Kolohe Andino) and Hawaiian (Carissa Moore) are holding down the world No. 1 spots and in a strong Olympic-qualifying position one year out from the Games,” said USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse. “Except for the Pan American Games, the 2020 Olympic Games will be the first time mainland U.S. and Hawaii will surf on the same team under the U.S. flag. For the World Surf League and International Surfing Association (ISA) events, Hawaii has historically been given sovereignty for competitions because of its recognition as the birthplace of surfing.”
American Olympic hopeful women surfers are crowding the top of the world rankings, creating a dramatic race for the top two spots: Carissa Moore (No. 1), Lakey Peterson (No. 4), Caroline Marks (No. 5), Courtney Conlogue (No. 6) and Malia Manuel (No. 7). The women have been competing together since they were young girls, continually pushing their performances to new heights. This year, the World Surf League is providing equal prize money for men and women – leading the way for other sports to follow.
At 15, Caroline Marks was the youngest surfer to qualify for the WSL’s Championship Tour and was named Rookie of the Year in 2018. She was the first surfer to win Team USA’s “best of” monthly athlete recognition for the month of April.
There have been plenty of plot twists in the men’s Olympic qualifying season. After injuring his ACL while competing in Brazil, two-time world champion John John Florence is taking it event- by-event and went from world number 1 to world number 3. Eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater moved to No. 8, Conner Coffin is No. 12 and rookie Seth Moniz, No. 14.
"Surfing is a truly global sport and it's fantastic to see it included in the Olympic Games,” said Pat O’Connell, WSL Head of Competition and SVP of Tours and Events. “The surfers are genuinely excited about representing their countries on such a prestigious stage and I think it will provide the Games with an important and exciting new dimension in 2020 and beyond."
In the lead up to the Olympics, the top ranked American men and women will come together as Team USA to compete in the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games to be held in Miyazaki, Japan September 7-15, 2019. The event will be an opportunity to compete with athletes from countries like Morocco, Mexico, Argentina and Germany - surfers they’ve likely never faced before in the World Surf League and will potentially see again at the 2020 Olympic Games.
“This is an exciting milestone to celebrate. We are just 365 days away from sharing an incredibly beautiful and athletically demanding sport with a whole new audience,” said Cruse. “Surfing isn’t just an exceptional sport – it is a lifestyle that celebrates our oceans and beaches and the diplomacy that comes with catching waves together.”
Contact: becky (at) usasurfing (dot) org
USA Surfing is the National Governing Body for surfing in the United States, recognized by the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). USA Surfing’s mission is to promote and grow the sport of surfing and support United States athletes of all backgrounds to achieve sustained competitive excellence in Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American competition. USA Surfing will oversee and support America’s Olympic team as surfing makes its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and surfing and stand-up paddleboarding athletes compete in the 2019 Pan American Games.