Meet the 40 athletes surfing at the Olympics including Florence, Igarashi, Moore, and Gilmore

Get to know the 20 men and 20 women from 17 nations who will compete at surfing's Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020
By Ashlee Tulloch

Olympic surfers locked and loaded.

The names of the 40 athletes who will be surfing at the sports Olympic debut in Tokyo have been confirmed.

A field of 20 women and 20 men will represent 17 different nations and compete for surfing's first Olympic gold medals in 2021.

The qualification process has been challenging, creating joy and elation for some, heartbreak for others.

For many it came down to the wire in El Salvador during the first weekend of June, where the final 12 tickets to Tokyo were awarded at the 2021 ISA World Surfing Games.

So, who made the cut for surfing's biggest international event in history? And who should you be looking out for at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics? We break it down.

Get to know the Olympic surfing teams

Six teams have the maximum number of 4 surfers representing their nation.

With no shortage of support and star studded skill, odds are high that surfing's first ever Olympic medal winners, could come from these nations.

Brazil are looking fierce and fired up. Two-time world champion Gabriel Medina is surfing with a new kind of freedom and enjoyment that seems to have made him more lethal. He's made four out of five finals to kick off the 2021 World Surf League (WST) men's season. Two of those of have been victories.

Reigning men's world champion Italo Ferreira has not been shy in showing his form. With one Championship Tour (CT) win under his belt this year, there's a sense he's just warming up.

Keep in mind that the conditions of the Olympic surfing venue at Tsurigasaki Beach are expected to suit the style and flair of the Brazilian men, with their gravity defying aerial maneuvers. With their abilities in the air, they'll be both entertaining and hard to beat.

The Brazilian team also includes Tatiana Weston-Webb, coming off a recent women's CT win in Australia, and 36-year-old veteran professional Silvana Lima, whose experience will come in handy in Japan.

Team USA are stacked with talent and will be looking for the one-two punch, gold medal double. There's no question that they are capable of it, with a quartet of surfers who were all on the verge of qualifying prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Leading the American charge is four-time world champion Carissa Moore. She's had an impressive start to 2021 with one CT victory under her belt, as well displaying some some jaw dropping aerial action, pushing the progression of women's surfing with innovative moves above the lip of the wave, in the air.

Moore is joined by Caroline Marks, who at 19 years of age is making a name for herself and is a star on the rise. Her best is yet to come, and there's every reason she could shine in Tokyo. The teen has a strong and explosive style of riding which makes her a threat in smaller conditions which are anticipated at the Games.

Two-time men's World Champion John John Florence is one many will be eagerly anticipating seeing in action. The 28-year-old USA surfer specialises in all aspects of surfing, making him one of the most all-round surfers on the planet. The challenge for him will be to stay fit and healthy.

The Hawaii born surfer has had a string of injuries in recent years including an operation in early May for an ACL repair, reattaching the end of the ligament to the femur.

His compatriot Kolohe Andino is also in a race against time to get fit for the Games.

The 27-year-old was in an operating room in April after re-injuring a high ankle sprain in Australia. He's been open about his focus on his diet in the built up to the Olympics, to ensure he is light and agile, enabling him to perform at his best at Tokyo in the less powerful waves.

Australia's Stephanie Gilmore is a big deal.

With a record-equalling seven world titles to her name, there's little the Aussie star has yet to achieve in surfing, thus making the allure of the Olympics and making history more exciting for the veteran.

Fellow Aussie Sally Fitzgibbons is the newly crowned 2021 ISA World Surfing Games champion, and is the first surfer to ever win three ISA world titles. Sally is yet to win a WSL world title, which is something that has long been on her bucket list. But with the recent winning roll she has been on, there's no reason why she can't make the podium in Tokyo.

Owen Wright and Julian Wilson complete the Australia squad. Both are seasoned professionals with nine CT event wins combined, and both equally capable of triumph on their day.

Hosts Japan have high hopes of their team, but most expectations will fall on the shoulders of Kanoa Igarashi. The America-based surfer who ended 2019 ranked world number six, has been open about his ambitions in Tokyo. He wants gold. And as the face of surfing in Japan, his nation wants it to.

Hiroto Ohhara claimed the very last ticket to Tokyo in El Salvador in June and will be proudly representing the Olympic hosts with women, Mahina Maeda and Amuro Tsuzuki.

France have a full team thanks to three Championship Tour surfers, Jeremy Flores, Michel Bourez and Johanne Defay. Rounding out their French side looking to make history is Pauline Ado.

There's also no question these four will be intrigued to see how surfing plays out in Tokyo, given their nation will be hosting the next Olympic Games in Paris 2024, with surfing set to be held at Teahupo'o, Tahiti.

Peru's flag will be flying high in Tokyo, with 2019 Pan American Games champions Daniella Rosas and Lucca Mesinas, along with 2019 ISA World Surfing Games champion Sofia Mulanovich and Miguel Tudela.

Portugal will proudly have three athletes representing them, with Championship Tour surfer Frederico Morais, along with Teresa Bonvalot and Yolanda Sequeria.

South Africans will be cheering for their very own WSL surfer Jordy Smith and Bianca Buitendag, while Kiwis in New Zealand will be backing Billy Stairmand and Ella Williams.

Brisa Hennessy and Leilani McGonagle will be carrying Costa Rica's surfing hopes, while Israel's Anat Lelior and Ecuador's Dominic Barona complete the 20 strong women's feild.

Look out for Germany's Leon Glatzer soaring. He's considered one of the most underrated aerialists and if the 2021 ISA world Surfing Games is anything to go by, he will be putting on an air show at Tsurigasaki Beach in July.

Indonesia's Rio Waida is another to not be overlooked. The Balinese surfer pulled off a stunning upset in 2019, defeating Gabriel Medina in Bali.

From a country where surf tourism is booming, Morocco's Ramzi Boukhiam is ready to show the world what he's got, while Leandro Usuna will be flying Argentina's flag and complete the men's 20-strong competition field.

Full list of confirmed female surfing Qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021

The 20 Women:

2019 WSL Championship Tour

Carissa Moore (USA)

Caroline Marks (USA)

Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)

Silvana Lima (BRA)

Brisa Hennessy (CRC)

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)

Johanne Defay (FRA)

2021 World Surfing Games

Yolanda Sequeria (POR)

Teresa Bonvalot (POR)

Daniella Rosas (PER)

Leilani McGonagle (CRC)

Mahina Maeda (JPN)

Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN)

Pauline Ado (FRA)

2019 World Surfing Games

Anat Lelior (ISR)

Bianca Buitendag (RSA)

Ella Williams (NZL)

Sofia Mulanovich (PER)

2019 Pan Am Games

Dominic Barona (ECU)

Full list of confirmed male surfing Qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021

The 20 Men:

2019 WSL Championship Tour:

Gabriel Medina (BRA)

Italo Ferreira (BRA)

Kolohe Andino (USA)

John John Florence (USA)

Owen Wright (AUS)

Julian Wilson (AUS)

Jeremy Flores (FRA)

Michel Bourez (FRA)

Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)

Jordy Smith (RSA)

2021 World Surfing Games

Leon Glatzer (GER)

Miguel Tudela (PER)

Lucca Mesinas (PER)

Manuel Selman (CHI)

Hiroto Ohhara (JPN)

2019 World Surfing Games

Rio Waida (INA)

Frederico Morais (POR)

Billy Stairmand (NZL)

Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)

2019 Pan Am Games

Leandro Usuna (ARG)