(Tsuragasaki Beach, Japan) - July 25, 2020 - Team USA surfers opened surfing’s Olympic debut with some inspired surfing in small, tricky conditions.
Four-time WSL world champ Carissa Moore became the first woman to win the first heat of surfing’s first Olympic Games.
In challenging conditions, Carissa delivered powerful, vertical turns, sticking her re-entries over tricky white water. She will move to round three to face Sofia Mulanovich.
Carissa said she was honored to have the distinction of winning the first women’s heat of the first Olympic Games, and was feeling more than a little nervous going into the first heat.
“It’s definitely a much bigger stage and there’s a lot of build up,” she said. “I’m just really enjoying this moment and the Olympic experience with my team. I have my work cut out for me in my next heats.”
Coach Brett Simpson said, “Carissa’s big power maneuvers stood out among the rest. Her 6.17 was one of the best single-maneuver waves of the day.”
Nineteen-year-old Caroline Marks dominated her round one heat, with some sizzling turns on both her back and front side. Caroline advances to round three, where she faces Japan’s Mahina Maeda.
“It feels surreal to actually put the Olympic jersey on,” Caroline said. “I feel just so proud and honored to be here and represent my country. It was really fun.”
Kolohe Andino was the first Team USA surfer to hit the water in surfing’s first Olympic Games. He advanced to round three, after placing second in his heat.
“Kolohe surfed a super solid heat and capitalized on each moment thrown his way,” said coach Simpson. “It was a tight heat, but his air game got him through to the next round!”
Two-time world champ John John Florence had a slow start in his first round one heat, but he more than made up for it in round two. He told reporters he reset and was able to just enjoy surfing and stop overthinking.
Coach Simpson said, “John came out firing with one of the best two-maneuver combinations of the day. Excellent scores were hard to come by!”
John and Kolohe face each other in a round three one-on-one elimination heat, which has been some crushing news for the team.
The Surfline forecast is calling for building swell, with wave heights growing to possibly 3 to 5 feet with stronger winds. “It should be the biggest of the waiting period and definitely stronger than what we saw today,” said Simpson. “With these conditions, we are expecting some higher scores in tomorrow’s one-on-one elimination heats!”
Caroline Marks gets things started for Team USA tomorrow with her round three heat at 8:48 am Japan time. Carissa Moore's round three heat is 9:24 am Japan time. The John John Florence and Kolohe Andino heat is at 12:24 pm Japan time. You can watch the livestream at NBCOlympics.com and sign in with your cable provider. Heat draws can be found here. Live scoring can be found here.
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