Meet Our Favorite Surf Chicks of the 2020 Olympics

woman surfing

Did someone say… SURFING? That’s right! The wave-riding water sport was approved by the International Olympic Committee in 2016, and made its historic debut in Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Olympics. 

So, which babes are making major waves (pun intended) in the never-before-seen event? Allow us to introduce the badass semi-finalist surf chicks in the first-ever Olympic Women’s Surfing Competition!

A Brief Overview of Surfing in the Olympics

40 surfers from around the world will compete, and will do so at Tsurigasaki Beach located about 40 miles outside of Tokyo in the town of Ichinomiya, Chiba – one of Japan’s most popular surf cities. Riders use what are referred to as ‘short’ boards, which are considered more efficient in navigating waves.

In the first rounds, four to five athletes compete in roughly 30-minute heats, after which the two highest-scoring surfers advance. Five judges score each wave or ride on a scale from one to ten. Surfers are awarded the average of the three middle scores and the top two competitors from each round advance. 

LOTS of math involved here, but thankfully math isn’t an Olympic sport…yet.

surf chicks surfing cta

Meet the Badass Surfer Chicks in the Semifinals of the Olympics

Only 20 women were selected to compete in the 2021 Olympics with a maximum of two female athletes from each country. These surf chicks are the best of the best. Having made it to the semifinals in the first-ever event, these Olympian ladies are making BIG waves and leading the charge for female competitive surfers. 

Carissa Moore

Representing: U.S.A.

Age: 28

Taking home the Olympic gold medal and becoming the first-ever Women’s Olympic Surfing champion, Carissa Moore has become a bit of a legend. 

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Carissa Moore has a lifelong connection to the sport. She started surfing at the age of five and has spent most of her life in the ocean. By the time she was 18, she became the youngest person – male or female – to win a world title… and has since gone on to win another three. 

In 2012 National Geographic named Moore one of its Adventurers of the Year, and in 2013 Glamour Magazine named her Woman of the Year at just 21 years old. Like, what?! If you’re not already blown away, she also became a member of the Surfer’s Hall of Fame in 2014, and the state of Hawaii officially declared January 4 Carissa Moore Day. How many athletes can say that?

When Moore’s not busy winning world titles and empowering young women, this surfer chick loves scrapbooking, hanging with friends, and spending time with her dogs, Maya and Tuffy. We love a dedicated dog mom!

Bianca Buitendag

Representing: South Africa

Age: 27

South Africa’s first and only competitor in surfing, Bianca Buitendag brought home the Olympic silver medal – an AMAZING new career-best!

Having been encouraged by her father, Buitendag learned to surf at age eight alongside her two brothers in the Victoria Bay Area of Cape Town, South Africa. By age 14 she was traveling to compete and gaining attention as a pro surfer across the country.

In 2011, this chick of the waves got her first international recognition when she won the Billabong ASP World Junior Championship at just 17 years old. In 2015 Buitendag won second in the Swatch Women’s Pro Surfing Competition (Carissa Moore beat her for first) in Southern California, and was ranked fourth in the world by the World Surf League the same year — her most renowned title until the 2020 Olympics.

Bianca refers to the ocean as her ‘first love,’ and credits her father with introducing her to it. This inspiring surf chick says she plans to keep surfing as long as she can walk, and is incredibly thankful for the opportunities and travel experiences surfing has given her. 

Amuro Tsuzuki

Representing: Japan 

Age: 20

Both competing in and representing her home country in the first Olympic Surf competition in history? Before the age of 21? Yeah, we’d classify Amuro Tsuzuki as pretty badass. 

Not to mention bringing home the bronze medal after an outstanding performance.

Tsuzuki grew up surfing the beaches of Japan, and frequently visited the surf-centric city of Chiba where the competition took place. She won the World Surf League Junior Championship in 2019, and in 2020 became the first Japanese female ever to qualify for the WSL Championship Tour.

Before she began surfing at age 10, Tsuzuki trained in classical ballet. Both her father and older brother are avid surfers and encouraged her to get into the sport. They all share the joy of the sport, including her younger brother as well. Amuro says her father takes videos and gives her advice for every practice session. Yay for surf dads supporting surf daughters! 

Caroline Marks

Representing: U.S.A

Age: 19

At just 19 years old, Caroline Marks is the youngest semi-finalist to compete in the 2020 Women’s Olympic Surf Competition – and that’s just one of the records she holds. Though she didn’t place in the 2020 Olympics, this beach babe already has 17 world titles under her belt! 

When Marks was only 13 years old she won the Vans U.S. Open Surfing Junior Division title. In 2017 at 15 years old, she became the youngest person male or female to qualify for the World Surf League Championship Tour. In 2019 Marks was ranked second in the world and qualified for the 2020 Olympics, and in 2021 placed first in the Ripcurl Narrabeen Classic. Need we continue? 

A Florida native, Marks is one of six children and grew up in Melbourne Beach with a popular surfing spot across the street from her home. You could say surfing was right on her doorstep growing up! 

Before getting serious on her surfboard, Caroline’s first sport of choice was horseback riding. When she’s not riding waves, she enjoys snowboarding and fishing with her family.

Come Surf With Explorer Chick!

surf chicks explorer chick trip
Explorer Chicks surfing.

Feeling inspired and want to get your body on a board? Come surf with us! Join us on one of our surfing adventures with a ½ day surf lesson near Houston, a week-long trip cruising in Baja, or our 8-day Dominican Republic adventure vacation.

Julie K.

February 24th, 2018

I got to go on the DR trip back in March 2017 and I had the time of my life. Where surfing and waterfall jumping are so much fun that you want to do it over and over again.. I not only made new friends I pushed myself to do things I would have never done by myself. I have a great group of women there to help each other, I had an awesome person who was in charge of making sure everyone was happy and encouraging everyone to have fun. Nikki’s is an amazing lady and a great person who I call a friend. I’m planning on going on another trip in the future.

Meet the Writer

April Brightman

April is an adventure lover and freelance writer based in New England, with a passion for public lands, wild places, and all things outdoors. She loves camping in any form and spends as many weekends as she can hiking New Hampshire’s highest peaks, or road-tripping with her sweet dog Marley. If not in the mountains, you can find her planning her next expedition or caring for one of her far-too-many-houseplants.

Favorite outdoor adventure: National Parks Hiking and Road Trips!

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