El Salvador (May 29, 2021) -- Team USA surfers joined surf athletes from 50 other nations for the Opening Ceremony of the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games in El Salvador. The 2021 edition of the World Surfing Games is the final qualifying event for the remaining seven women and five men left to join the field of 40, who will compete in the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.
Team USA’s 2021 ISA World Surfing Games team will include current world No. 1 and four-time world champion Carissa Moore and fellow Olympic teammate Caroline Marks and four of the nation’s best young, medal-winning surf talents: Alyssa Spencer, Dimitri Poulos, Ryan Huckabee and Taj Lindblad (see bios below). Olympic athletes Carissa Moore and Caroline Marks represented the U.S. in the ISA's "Sands of the World" Opening Ceremony event, pouring sand from San Clemente into a glass container joining sands from the other nations' beaches.
Competition begins at 8:00 am CT May 30 with ISA World Junior Surfing Championship gold medalist Dimitri Poulos in the first heat of the day. Watch live at isasurf.org
All four Team USA Olympic team members – Carissa Moore, Caroline Marks, Kolohe Andino and John John Florence – have already qualified for the Olympics, but are required to compete in the World Surfing Games in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympic Games. John John Florence and Kolohe Andino have injury exemptions, as they continue to rehab surgeries aimed at getting them full strength for the Games.
“The World Surfing Games are an opportunity for Team USA surfers to test themselves against familiar competitors from the World Surf League, but also elite surfers from other countries they are likely to face in Japan,” said USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse.
“There is nothing like the mental and physical challenge of surfing in a heat to help prepare for Olympic competition. Our surfers have already qualified for the Olympic Games, so the stakes are lower,” said USA Surfing coach Brett Simpson. “But putting the jersey on and competing in a defined window of time is an opportunity to practice heat strategy and find scoring opportunities under pressure.”
Simpson said he looks forward to the energy and team vibe of the World Surf Games. “To surf as a team and represent the United States in an event with 50 other countries is a special experience,” Simpson said. “I’m stoked on this mix of Team USA surfers! They continue show the world what strong competitors and ambassadors for the sport of surfing they are.”
Four-time World Champion and current world No. 1 Olympic surfer from Honolulu, Moore surfs with remarkable power and finesse. She 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, and at age 16 became the youngest champion at a Triple Crown of Surfing event. At age 18, she became the youngest person – 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 featuring the world’s best male surfers. Carissa 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.
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 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.
18-year old Spencer of Carlsbad, Calif. was ranked 10 in the QS in 2019 in prime position to qualify for the World Surf League’s Championship Tour. She surfed the WSL Surf Ranch event as a wild card and is excited to take on the 2021 ISA World Surfing Games in El Salvador.
“Having the opportunity to compete in the ISA World Surfing Games representing the USA is an honor, especially this year with this event leading up to the Olympics. Everyone at this level is surfing so good and everyone wants those spots in the Olympics, so it’s going to be such a fun and exciting event!”
Ventura, California’s Poulos won ISA World Junior Surfing Championship gold in the U18 division, helping Team USA win team gold in 2019. Surfline said Poulos “can put it on rail with authority. And also has the air game to propel him into the next generation.”
“I believe that surfing being involved in the Olympics this year is going to bring the sport of surfing to a new level, and being and able to be involved and to represent my home country is a huge honor. I am excited to see what the future has in store!”
18-year old Lindblad of San Clemente, Calif. was also on Team USA’s gold-medal-winning ISA World Junior Surfing Championship 2019 team. You will see him showcasing his fluid, deep rail gouges and lofty air game.
“I’m so stoked to be surfing in the ISA World Surfing Games. I don’t get this opportunity every day to surf against the best guys in the world so, I’m extremely excited to compete against them!”
Florida 17-year-old Huckabee was on Team USA’s gold-medal-winning ISA World Junior Surfing Championship team – launching and landing impressive airs and scores. He is stoked to join fellow East Coaster and Olympic surfer Caroline Marks in representing the U.S. in El Salvador.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to surf for Team USA at the ISA World Surfing Games! With the Olympics coming up, it is going to be an incredible experience to surf against some of the Olympians from other countries. I hope to one day be surfing in this event as an Olympian for Team USA.”
The event will stream live daily on ISA’s website - isasurf.org and the ISA’s Facebook page.
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