Team USA Surfers March in 2019 ISA World Surfing Games Opening Ceremony - Marks Wins First Heat of the Event
Miyazaki, Japan (September 7, 2019) – It was an historic and inspiring first day of the 2019 International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games (WSG) in Miyazaki, Japan, marking the first time the event was an Olympic qualifier for the more than 40 countries not represented in the World Surf League (WSL). Seventeen-year old Caroline Marks was the first Team USA surfer to compete, opening her heat with a series of precision backside slashes to score a 9. She backed it up with an 8.2 to win the heat.
Teammates Carissa Moore and Courtney Conlogue compete in their first heats of the event tomorrow, September 8. The WSG event is being webcast at www.isasurf.org.
Team USA’s men - Kolohe Andino, Conner Coffin and Kelly Slater- surf later in the week following the Aloha Cup event, which features two men and two women competing in an exciting tag team event combining the best waves of each surfer. The men and women’s heat draws can be viewed here.
“To surf as a team and represent the United States in an event with 55 other nations is such a special experience,” said USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse. “I’m really proud of Team USA’s women. Today they showed the world what strong competitors and ambassadors for the sport of surfing they are.”
Team USA women surfers Carissa Moore, Courtney Conlogue and Caroline Marks marched in the Opening Ceremony that drew throngs of fans from around the world. Conlogue and Moore added sand from Hawaii’s Rocky Point Rights to the mix of sand from 55 other countries, creating a beautiful representation of the joining of nations through surfing in the ocean.
"It's an honor to be part of this team and represent my country,” said world No. 1 and three-time world champion Carissa Moore, who speaks excellent Japanese.
As the first event to directly qualify surfers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the 2019 edition of the ISA World Surfing Games is a significant benchmark in the history of surfing. These surfers will compete with surfers they know well from the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour and athletes they’ve likely never faced before from countries like Morocco, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Israel and Germany.
The team’s selection is based on the surfers’ rankings following the World Surf League’s fourth event in Margaret River. The top three ranked surfers for each country are invited to surf as part of eligibility requirement to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. John John Florence’s ACL injury opened the door for 11-time world champion Kelly Slater to join the team.
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.
“These American surfers are the very best at what they do and will represent our country well,” said USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse. “With the Olympic Games less than a year away, we are beginning an exciting journey together. These athletes are part of an important moment in history, as we count down the days until surfing’s Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.”
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 and Paralympic Committee (USOPC). 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.
OLYMPIC HOPEFUL BIOS
Carissa Moore– Carissa is a three-time World Champion from Honolulu, Hawaii. She surfs with remarkable power and joy and is known for her work to help young girls develop confidence. Carissa started tallying up wins at 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. Currently ranked No. 1 in the world, she is eager to claim another world title.
Caroline Marks– Caroline grew up in Melbourne Beach, Fla., where she learned to surf with her brothers when she was 8 years old. In 2014, she made the move to split her time between Florida and California, making the most of San Clemente’s world-class waves and year-round surf to improve her performance. She made history as the youngest surfer (man or woman) to qualify for the World Surf League Championship Tour at just 15 years old and finished the year ranked No. 8 and was named WSL Rookie of the Year. Before going on the Championship Tour, she racked up multiple USA Surfing championship wins with powerful surfing that just keeps getting more impressive. Her strong start to the season earned surfing’s first Team USA “Athlete of the Month” award – a distinction awarded by the USOC to top athletes in all sports.
Courtney Conlogue– Born and raised in Santa Ana, Calif., Courtney started surfing at the age of 4 and was the youngest athlete to make the USA Surfing international team at 11 years old. Don’t let her big smile and infectious laugh fool you, she’s fierce. After being sidelined by a foot injury for the first half of 2018, her comeback form and tenacity earned a US Olympic Committee nomination for its Athlete of the Month award. She won two titles in just under two months (the 2018 Vans US Open and Roxy Pro France). She is a two-time runner up for the World Champion title and her determination to clinch it this year is on full display.
Kolohe Andino– Growing up in San Clemente with a pro surfer dad, Kolohe won seven USA Surfing Champion titles and nine National Scholastic Surfing Association championships – a record for boys under 18. One of the most entertaining surfers to watch, Kolohe has an aggressive, progressive style. Many of the local groms look up to Kolohe, who is quick to encourage and support the up-and-coming talent. Currently ranked No. 1 in the world, he is hungry for a world title and chance to compete in the 2020 Olympics.
Conner Coffin– Always known for his speed and style, Conner Coffin is expanding an increasingly progressive repertoire. He and his brother Parker were repeatedly making finals and the podium at USA Surfing Championships and stoking up the energy level on the beach. He says his family has always watched and loved the Olympics. “Everyone has definitely talked about how cool of an experience (the Olympics) would be. Everyone’s trying to do their best this year, train harder and surf harder, and the Olympics would be the icing on the cake of a good year on the tour,” Conner told TeamUSA.org. A man of many talents from gardening to guitar, Conner is always keeping life on tour interesting and in perspective.
Kelly Slater– The greatest surfer of all time grew up on the East Coast and still has a home in Florida. Racking up 11 World Titles, 55 career victories, and holding the distinction of youngest and oldest World Champion in men’s history, his surfing continues to inspire and impress. Surfing for Olympic gold would be an athletic feat made for the GOAT.
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