(Tsuragasaki Beach) – July 27, 2021 - Hawaii’s Carissa Moore is the first Gold Medalist of surfing’s first Olympics Games!
Carissa worked her way through the quarterfinals and semifinals in day three of surfing’s Olympic debut, saving her best for the Medal Round against South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag.
After a stormy morning, a rainbow even showed up for a few minutes of the Medal Round heat – a reminder of Carissa’s home, Hawaii.
“It’s a dream come true,” she said. “Winning a Gold Medal for Hawaii, the birthplace of surfing means everything. Just to see Duke Kahanamoku’s dream of having surfing in the Olympics come true 101 years later is just so special.”
After winning five World Surf League world titles, she said winning a Gold Medal is a truly special, next level accomplishment and stage.
“The scale of this event felt so much bigger. I want to use the platform to spread some positivity and joy,” Carissa said. “The ocean has changed my life and I want to share that. I want people to know that riding a wave makes you feel free. It makes you feel more in love. It makes you feel powerful. It connects people and simplifies things.”
After sharp surfing all event, Caroline Marks lost to Japan’s Amuro Tsuzuki in the Bronze Medal round.
In the quarterfinals, teammate Kolohe Andino fell to Japan's Kanoa Igarashi, who went on to win the Silver Medal. Two-time world champion John John Florence lost to Kolohe Andino in a heartbreaking round three match up.
“We are so blessed to have such a powerful ambassador for surfing and positivity in our sport's first Gold Medalist Carissa Moore. She is sharing her love for surfing with the world with full-days of media and promotions,” said USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse. “This entire team and support staff are winners and vanguards of our sport and the Olympic movement.”
Cruse said he was incredibly honored to support the team. “Each team member contributed in ways that we will all never forget. From John who came back from an injury that usually takes 6-9 months to compete on the world’s largest sporting stage with just gnarly performances, launching air after air, and his signature power carves. That in and of itself is an immense feat that should be celebrated. The mental and physical tenacity and soul he shared with the team is something we will all cherish."
Cruse said the Olympic Games was especially gratifying, having watched Caroline and Kolohe grow up in the sport through USA Surfing's Prime Series. "They have gone through difficult challenges in life and sport and shined on the Olympic stage. Caroline had the highest wave score and heat total of the entire Olympic Games - an 8 and 15.33. Kolohe's surfing and leadership was the strongest I've seen. I am immensely proud and grateful for the example they’ve shown the world that now goes down in history as Team USA’s first Olympic surf team," Cruse said.
Cruse praised coach Brett Simpson for "a masterful job of recognizing their strengths and knowing how to best add value and let their talents and character shine. He was the perfect coach for surfing’s first Olympic Games,” Cruse said.