Miyazaki, Japan (September 14, 2019) – Team USA’s Kelly Slater and Kolohe Andino placed first and second in the ISA World Surfing Games main round final in conditions that were all too familiar for Florida-born Kelly Slater. Stormy conditions created churning, disorganized peaks that made conditions challenging. Slater said it reminded him of surfing east coast conditions as a grom.
Both Kolohe and Kelly went to work getting scores early. Kolohe nailed a vicious, above-the-lip turn, free falled as the wave closed out and stuck the landing to score an 8. Kelly Slater found one of the event’s few barrel rides to score an 8.33. Kelly finished the heat with a 15.66 heat total. Kolohe Andino put together a 14.0 heat total.
Kolohe said the opportunity to be on the same team as eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater is “special and strange at the same time.”
The ISA format, which has surfers competing in multiple heats a day presents a test professional surfers don’t normally face on the WSL Championship Tour.
“You find out a lot about yourself and what you’re capable of physically and mentally surfing this many heats,” Andino said.
The competition was called off for the day. Finals will run tomorrow when Kelly and Kolohe will face Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira.
After today, the United States is still in second place behind Team Brazil. Brazil has 4,420 points to USA’s 3,805. Brazil still has all three men (Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira and Filipe Toledo) in the competition. The U.S. has two. Host country Japan is in third. New Zealand is in fourth.
Watch all the heats live at www.isasurf.org.The heat draws can be viewedhere.
This week’s World Surfing Games in Miyazaki, Japan mark the first time the WSG is an Olympic qualifier for the more than 40 countries not represented in the World Surf League (WSL).
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.
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.
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