Photo by: International Surfing Association
Surfing made its Olympic debut
The art of riding waves can be traced back to ancient Polynesians living in Hawaii and Tahiti. Surfing was popularised by Hawaii’s Duke Kahanamoku; a swimmer who won three Olympic gold medals for the United States. Considered ‘the father of modern surfing’ he planted the seed for surfing’s future Olympic inclusion. It took 108 years before this dream finally became a reality at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
After being postponed due to COVID-19, the best surfers in the world finally got the chance to celebrate their sport’s Olympic debut by competing at Chiba’s Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan.
Carissa Moore makes history by winning Olympic gold
There has been a lot of pressure on Carissa Moore leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, as the women’s favorite to win the first-ever Olympic gold medal.
Despite all the hype, the 28-year-old surfer from Honolulu remained calm and focused on her performance at Chiba’s Tsurigasaki Beach, where she secured the victory over South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag. The Olympic gold medal adds to the achievements of the four-time world champion, and Carissa Moore seems to be unstoppable at the moment.
It was a special moment for Carissa Moore, but also for the evolution of surfing. As she said, shortly after securing the Olympic Gold Medal: “As a Hawaiian, just seeing Duke Kahanamoku’s dream come true to have surfing in the Olympics is super special”.
Italo Ferreira's way to the Olympics
Italo Ferreira has come a long way from his early days surfing as a kid on a styrofoam cooler lid in Baía Formosa, Brazil. Yesterday he made history as the first male surfer to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games. With this victory, he manifested his position as one of the greatest surfers in the world, following up on his first-ever world title win in 2019, where he became widely known as “the people’s champ”.
The Olympic Games in Japan was not only a special moment for the surfers who reached the podium, but for any surfer attending, any surf enthusiast watching, and the sport in general. This was a milestone for surfing, and many people have been dreaming about this moment.
As Italo said after winning at the Olympics in Japan: “All surfers made history here. Every surfer has a piece of this gold medal. I truly believe that the Olympics will change our lives. Not just the medalists, but for all the surfers that competed in this historic event.”
The Brazilians have been incredible at supporting each other on The World Tour, and despite the rivalry among Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira, they celebrated this historic moment together as proud Brazilians – not competitors, and this was a very special moment to witness.
Kanoa Igarashi represented Japan in the men’s final against Brazilian surfer Italo Ferreira. After an intense start where Ferreira broke his board on the first wave, he finally turned the heat around and secured the title leaving Kanoa Igarashi a silver medalist. Despite his loss in the final heat, Kanoa Igarashi put on a great performance throughout the event and made history that Japan can be proud of.
Japan got another victory to celebrate as Amuro Tsuzuki won the women’s bronze medal, after a strong heat against U.S.A.’s Caroline Marks. This victory really highlights the talent of the 20-year old Japanese surfer.
Athletes who made the podium
Women’s Surfing Results
- Gold: Carissa Moore (United States)
- Silver: Bianca Buitendag (South Africa)
- Bronze: Amuro Tsuzuki (Japan)
Men’s Surfing Results
- Gold: Italo Ferreira (Brazil)
- Silver: Kanoa Igarashi(Japan)
- Bronze: Owen Wright (Australia)
The Future of Olympic Surfing
This is only the beginning of an exciting new era for surfing. The future presence at the Olympic Games will only make surfing more widespread and popular worldwide.
We are already super stoked about the 2024 Summer Olympics, which will be hosted by France. The Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be the biggest event ever seen in France, and the surfing competition will take place almost 10,000 miles away, in Tahiti — which is part of French Polynesia.
Everyone who loves surfing will know Tahiti, as it is home to one of the most beautiful and dangerous waves in the world; Teahupo’o. This iconic surf spot has often been one of the highlights on the Championship Tour, and we can’t wait to see the Olympics Games take place in such perfect soundings and conditions.