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What you need to know about Olympic Surfing


July 21, 2021
Source: Ben Thouard/Red Bull
Source: Ben Thouard/Red Bull

⚙️How it works: This event will start with four-person heats (similar to track & field). Each heat competes for 20 to 35 minutes (depending on the waves), with surfers riding as many waves as they like during that span of time. Cowabunga! 

  • A panel of five judges scores each maneuver, and the top two performers from each heat move on to round 3 while the bottom two move to round 2 for a second chance to move to the knockouts.  
  • Scores are generated from a 10-point scale, and the International Olympic Committee's (IOC’s) judging criteria match that of the International Surfing Association (ISA). 
  • The decision to hold the event at Tsurigasaki Beach on Japan’s Pacific coast, without artificial waves, has not been well-received, considering world No. 1 and Olympic favorite Gabriel Medina has described the area’s current waves as “small and funky.”

👀Who to watch: Team USA is stacked. With world No. 1 Carissa Moore and No. 6 Caroline Marks on the women’s side, along with world No. 10 John John Florence (so nice they named him twice) and No. 38 Kolohe Andino (who’s making his return from injury) on the men’s, we’re bound to bring home at least one medal. 

  • And if anyone’s going to stop that from happening, it’ll be the aforementioned Medina of Brazil or Australian power squad of Stephanie Gilmore and Owen Wright.

👀Who to watch: Without any Canadians in the field, we’ll be cheering for current Queen of the Waves, Carissa Moore, and her American teammate John John Florence (so nice they named him twice), and Australian power squad Stephanie Gilmore and Owen Wright.

⏰When to watch: 

July 28th: Gold medal round