After days of competition, the 2021 ISA World Surfing Games has come to a close in El Salvador. And with that, we now have the full list of athletes who have qualified for surfing's inaugural showing in the Olympic Games, set to take place next month.
This year was packed with more surfing protagonists than ever before, as all that talent were hoping to get the last few tickets to the Olympics. But overall, it was France who took the team win, with Japan in second place and Portugal in third place.
France's Joan Duru won the overall men's competition, followed by Kanoa Igarashi in second and Jeremy Flores in third. Sally Fitzgibbons won the women's event, with Yolanda Sequeira in second and Teresa Bonvalot in third.
With that, we now know every surfer going to the Olympics this year. Here's who made it from this event:
Teresa Bonvalot (POR)
Yolanda Sequeira (POR)
Leilani McGonagle (CRC)
Daniella Rosas (PER)
Mahina Maeda (JPN)
Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN)
Pauline Ado (FRA)
Lucca Mesinas (PER)
Miguel Tudela (PER)
Manuel Selman (CHI)
Leon Glatzer (GER)
Hiroto Ohhara (JPN)
Things got a bit tricky though as some athletes double qualified through various other Olympic qualifier events, too. Peru’s Daniella Rosas and Lucca Mesinas essentially double-qualified (first, at the 2019 Pan-American Games; then at the 2021 World Surfing Games). Thus, two more slots opened up for the silver medalists at the Pan-Am Games: Argentina’s Leandro Usuna and Ecuador’s Dominic Barona.
Then there’s Sofia Mulanovich, former World Champion and winner of the 2019 World Surfing Games in Japan. But, due to hierarchy of qualification events and limited spots, she was denied a ticket to Tokyo. That all changed in El Salvador, however, because Japan qualified two women at the 2021 World Surfing Games, and the provisional slot earned by Shino Matsuda at the 2019 World Surfing Games was reallocated to the next eligible surfer.
Next up, Indonesia’s Rio Waida has Japan’s Hiroto Ohhara and Shun Murakami to thank for his qualification. Oharra and Murakami were battling it out for Japan’s second slot in the Games (Kanoa Igarashi has the other one; and Hiroto ended up coming out on top). And since Japan had their slots filled, another one opened up for the next eligible surfer from Asia. Rio was the guy.
Those surfers will join Jordy Smith, Kolohe Andino, JJF, Kanoa Igarashi, Jeremy Flores, Michel Bourez, Gabe Medina, Italo Ferreira, Owen Wright, Julian Wilson, Sally Fitzgibbons, Steph Gilmore, Johanne Defay, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Silvana Lima, Carissa Moore, Caroline Marks and Brisa Hennessy – who all qualified for the Olympics via the 2019 CT.
Along with Shun Murakami, Ramzi Boukhiam, Billy Stairmand, Frederico Morais, Shino Matsuda, Anat Lelior, Bianca Buitendag and Ella Williams – who made it through via the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games and Lucca Mesinas and Daniella Rosas from Lima's PanAm Games in 2019.
Anyway, about the overall win, powerhouse Sally Fitzgibbons said: ““This is a whole different competitive battle. To work your way through 13 heats in a row is just wild. And especially at a place I’ve never surfed. I’m so patriotic, and we don’t get many opportunities to be on a team. Having my mates here on the beach, waving the flag, it’s just so awesome.”
And Joan Duru, who took down Kanoa and Flores in the final bout said: “It’s been a wild contest. It was a really hard heat. All those guys were ripping the entire event. The waves here have been so good since I arrived, and I’ve been eyeing down that right. I’m so glad it turned on for the final. My backside is better, so that worked out for me.”
Now, on to Tokyo.
Additional reporting by Dash Pierson