After colossal waves and heating UV rays, two nations clinched the top two Olympic quota spots for the Paris 2024 Games: Japan’s men’s national team and the USA women’s national team.
The United States and Japan will be aiming for gold in Paris in two years after an incredible performance at the ISA World Surfing Games last week, which took place September 16-24 in Huntington Beach, California.
Team USA’s Kirra Pinkerton won the individual women’s title at the 2022 ISA World Surfing Games, while Tokyo 2020 silver medalist Kanaoa Igarashi won the men’s title. Both wins contributed to their teams’ overall wins as it’s all based on a points system.
Pinkerton was accompanied by Zoe McDougall and Gabriela Bryan, while Igarashi had Kamiyama Keanu and Murakami Shun by his side.
Both teams expressed pure joy after the competition, marveling at what they had achieved with their teammates.
“I said to myself at the start of the competition that I wanted to take the little girl inside me to the top and I can’t believe I did that,” Pinkerton said in an interview with Olympics.com. “I’m so proud and so happy to have taken another step towards my dream of trying to win gold at the Olympics.”
“This week I learned a lot about myself,” Igarashi said. “In surfing you have to be selfish, but I really learned a lot about myself as a person and the importance of sharing that competitive energy and knowledge with the team and putting a team together.
The 2024 Summer Games will only be the sport’s second time on the Olympic programme, with its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games.