San Clemente, California (September 21, 2018) – After an inspiring week of surfing, Team USA’s three men and three women won the bronze medal at the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games (WSG) in Tahara, Japan. The performances represent an exciting prelude to surfing’s debut in the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
Going into finals day all the pressure was riding on Team USA’s women – one 12-year old and two 18-year olds. All three Team USA women – Caitlin Simmers, Zoe McDougall and Summer Macedo – advanced to the competition’s final twelve positions. In the days’ prior Team USA’s three men – Kevin Schulz, Taro Watanabe and Jordy Collins – collectively put together scores that put the U.S. in fifth place going into the finals.
Team USA’s podium position came down to the performance of 18-year old Summer Macedo of Maui, who battled her way through stacked repechage heats to the grand final heat, in which she put enough points on the board to clinch Team USA’s bronze medal. Kevin Schulz’ fifth-place finish and Summer Macedo’s fourth-place finish, now guarantee them a position on USA Surfing’s Pan American Games surf team for Summer of 2019.
“The men did their job early in the week and now the women ‘sealed the fruit’ with all three women finishing in the top 10 and Summer Macedo getting it done to make it to the finals. I’m so proud of this team - how they came together and what they were able to accomplish: Bronze Medals in Team and Copper Medals in the Aloha Cup team event!” said USA Surfing head coach Joey Buran.
The World Surfing Games will be an Olympic qualifying event next year and is the largest international team surfing event attracting the world’s best surfing talent.
“The Olympic spirit was on full display in Japan this week with the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee officials on site preparing for next year when the World Surfing Games becomes an Olympic qualifying event,” said USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse. “The World Surfing Games is such a special event. The diversity of countries and athletes create a next level excitement and electricity that will be absolutely captivating on the Olympic stage.”
Twelve-year-old Caitlin Simmers of Oceanside, California is the youngest team member and impressed the world with her progressive surfing and intense focus. She was featured on Team USA’s digital channels, The Olympic Channel and the San Diego Tribune and is handling the attention with the same poise and confidence that shows up in her surfing.
“This team was one of the youngest U.S. teams to compete at the World Surfing Games and represents the future of the sport,” Buran said. “Their athleticism, heat strategy and poise are far beyond their years and it showed up in heats against the world’s most seasoned, high-ranking surfers. Every athlete on this team contributed in critically important ways.”
The standout performances in Japan this week lead right into another major event for the United States. Next month USA Surfing’s junior national team will defend its International Surfing Association’s World Junior Championship title at California’s Huntington Beach.
“We look forward to defending our title at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in front of a home crowd next month. The high caliber international competition experienced by junior team members Caitlin Simmers and Taro Watanabe at the World Surfing Games will be invaluable to them as we approach the Junior World Championship,” Cruse said.
Contact: Becky Fleischauer, 302-588-0671, 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.