Tokyo Olympics about to get tough as surfing debuts

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) – Surfing makes its debut as an Olympic sport this weekend. Here are the surfers to watch out for and how Japan has a surfing contest at the mercy of Mother Nature.

The beach and the heat

Surfers will battle it out in Chiba Prefecture on Tsurigasaki Beach, 60 miles east of Tokyo. The beach was chosen for its position on the coast and its jetties which constantly channel the energy of the swell.

“It is essentially the easternmost point in Japan, making it a catcher’s glove for all swells from the north, east and south, depending on the season,” said surfer Ben Wei. at Wavelength Magazine.

The competition will take place over four days, whenever the waves are at their best between July 24 and August 1. Twenty men and 20 women will compete in three rounds and three finals. Each round will last 30 minutes. Surfers can catch as many waves as they want, but only their best two waves count towards the final score.

Summer is usually not a good time of year in Japan to produce strong swells, but the wave gods smile at the Olympics. A solid swell is in the forecast which looks promising to generate enough waves.

United States Team

Four surfers will represent Team USA: two are from California and two from Hawaii.

John john florence

John John Florence from Hawaii rides a wave in Teahupoo, on the Polynesian island of Tahiti. (GREGORY BOISSY / AFP via Getty Images)

Date of Birth : 10/18/1992 Place of birth: Honolulu Hawaii writes: “Born opposite one of the world’s most famous surf spots, Pipeline, Florence was first exposed to the sport by her mother, Alex, who is a surfer herself. She introduced the ocean to her eldest son and her two brothers as soon as they knew how to walk. The big moment came for the surfer in 2011 when he competed in the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) – the most elite competition in surfing. After having come close to the title of world champion in 2013, Florence finally achieved the feat in 2016 before repeating it in 2017. ”

Kolohe Andino

Kolohe Andino attends a workout at Tsurigasaki Surf Beach ahead of the Tokyo Olympics on July 22, 2021. (Photo by Ryan Pierse / Getty Images)

Date of Birth : 03/22/1994 Place of birth: San Clemente, California

Team USA writes: “Kolohe means ‘rascal’ in Hawaiian… To two younger sisters… His younger sister couldn’t pronounce Kolohe so-called ‘Brother’ – a nickname that has stuck on tour.

Caroline Marc

Caroline Marks competes in the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic final on April 20, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)

Date of Birth : 02/14/2002 Place of birth: Boca Raton, Florida (later moved to California).

Team USA writes: “Completed the 2019 WSL Olympic qualifying season ranked No.2 behind No.1 Carissa Moore… The youngest woman (at 13) to compete in a World Surfing League event.

Carissa moore

Carissa Moore competes in the 2019 Freshwater Pro-WSL in Lemoore, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

Date of Birth : 08/27/1992 Place of birth: Honolulu Hawaii

Team USA writes: “Four times world champion of the World Surfing League… Enter the Tokyo Games at the top of the World Surfing League. She surfs with remarkable power and finesse and is known for her work in helping young girls build their confidence and pursue their dreams.

Toughest competition: Brazil

The Brazil team has the No. 1 and No. 2 surfers in the world.

Gabriel Medina

Brazilian Gabriel Medina competes in the semi-final of the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic at Narrabeen Beach on April 20, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images) writes: “Gabriel Medina is the Brazilian changing the trend in global surfing. Born in Sao Sebastiao, Medina, two-time World Surf League (WSL) champion, is one of the most popular wave surfers in elite surfing.

Italo Ferreira

Italo Ferreira is hit by a wave as he stands on the rocks during a workout at Tsurigasaki Surf Beach ahead of the Tokyo Olympics on July 22, 2021. (Photo by Ryan Pierse / Getty Images ) writes: “When top-flight surfer Ferreira, well known for his aerial game, first took to surfing, he had no boards of his own. To get out on the water, he had to borrow boards from his cousins ​​who luckily were only too happy to help him.

Tatiana Weston Webb

Tatiana Weston Webb
Tatiana Weston-Webb (Getty Images) writes: “She was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to a Brazilian mother and a British father. His family moved to Kauai, HI. She represented Hawaii until she decided to represent Brazil in international competitions in 2018. “Brazil has always been an important part of who I am. I was approached by the Brazilian Olympic Committee with the opportunity to represent the country in an important way. I always dreamed of competing in the Olympics and when surfing was announced as an official Olympic sport, I knew my dream had a chance to come true. [Brazilian surfers] Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, Italo Ferreira and my partner Jesse Mendes have been very supportive of me. ‘”

Surfing accepted as an Olympic sport

Adding surfing to the Olympics was a dream that started with pioneering surfer Duke Kahanamoku 100 years ago. Kahanamoku was an Olympian himself and won a gold medal in the sport of swimming. He also loved surfing the waves and he shared his “aloha” spirit by bringing surfing to the world.

In 2016, the International Olympic Committee officially and unanimously confirmed the inclusion of surfing in Tokyo 2020.

The organizers debated a big question: should the competition take place in an artificial wave pool or in the ocean? Wave pools provide predictability for planning and can be built anywhere. Nature ultimately won because the ocean has everything to do with the essence and soul of surfing.

IOC Sporting Director Kit McConnell said: “We are looking for a natural beach for surfing. Japan has a number of strong surfing areas and a strong existing surf culture. “

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