What we learned: Surfing wrap-up from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

From Italo Ferreira's broken board heroics to Carissa Moore's dream run: We take a look at surfing's Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, the most memorable moments, a medal recap, and what we have to look forward to at Paris 2024.

Picture by Ben Reed Photo

Swell, tears, broken boards and fist pumps.

The Olympic surfing debut was nothing short of a spectacular show.

With a typhon rolling onto Tsurigasaki Beach, the world's best surfing said, bring it on - and that's exactly what they did.

Four-time world champion Carissa Moore showed everyone why she's the creme de la creme, adding to her legacy with another historic milestone - becoming the first ever women's surfing Olympic champion.

Fellow reigning world champion Italo Ferreira lived up to the hype to take the gold medal honours on the men's side of the draw.

And Japan showed they are a force to be reckoned with in the surfing world with Kanoa Igarashi taking silver in the men's competition while Tsuzuki Amuro claimed silver in the women's.

Top 5 surfing moments at Tokyo 2020

Here are some of the highlights from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which took place in 2021.

1 - Carissa Moore adding to her golden legacy

Carissa Moore has been flying in 2021. The 28-year-old has been pushing the boundaries on what's possible for female surfers and there's no sign she's letting up yet.

Moore headed to Tokyo 2020 in fine form with six competitions under her belt this year - all of them finishing 1st, second or third.

Momentum stayed with her and she stormed through her heats with the iconic Moore smile.

Coming up against 17th placed South African Bianca Buitendag, the Hawaiian was poised and ultimately too clinical, taking home the gold she had aimed to win, with a rainbow-perfect ending to top it off.

Her achievement is also a special nod to surfing icon Duke Kahanamoku, who lobbied for surfing to be included in the Games after winning his first Olympic gold medal in 1920 in swimming.

2 -Italo Ferreira's triumph after board break in the final

It seems no obstacle is too big for Brazil's Italo Ferreira.

The reigning world champion overcame breaking a board in the opening minutes of his final with Kanoa Igarashi, but it didn't derail his competition.

Once he had a replacement board he picked up where he left off and seemed to dismiss his Japanese competitor with ease.

The gold medal means the world for the 27-year-old who does not appear to be slowing down at all.

3 - Owen Wright overcomes brain injury and learning to walk again

As far as comeback and redemption stories go, Owen Wright's is hard to beat.

The Australian suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2015 after being pounded by a heavy wave in Hawaii.

He fought for his life, and then he had to learn to walk and talk again.

Fast forward to Tokyo 2020, and the 31-year-old became the first ever men's Olympic surfing bronze medallist.

“I’ve been through some bloody battles and all my close friends and family stood beside me and coming from that, I had this goal to stand here with a medal around my neck.” - Owen Wight

4 - Final hurrah for Bianca Buitendag

The South African announced after winning women's bronze that she would be finishing her professional surfing career on an Olympic high.

After several years of dropping on and off the WSL Championship Tour, the death of her father and injuries, the 27-year-old had decided to ride her last competitive wave in Tokyo and and bow out in style.

5 - Japanese surfers putting their names on the map

In surfing circles Kanoa Igarashi and Tsuzuki Amuro are known, and now the Japanese surfers are helping spread the word that their nation's surfers have got the talent and skill to dominate the sport in years to come.

With Japan as the hosts of the Games, the pressure was on for the duo to deliver. And they did.

Their joint success suggests Japan will be making more podiums in the sport in years to come.

One last look at Julian Wilson

After a decade of travelling the world competing, chasing waves, victories and world titles, Australia's Julian Wilson announced a week before the Games got underway that he wold be stepping away from the WSL Championship tour to spend more time with his family.

Whilst he says he's not retiring fron professional surfing, rather taking an indefinite break, Tokyo 2020 may well have been the first and last time we see him compete at an Olympics.

Aussie male pro riders such as Morgan Ciblic and Jack Robinson are storming up the ranks and priming themselves to be the future of the sport in their country. Both are in their WSl rookie year but making more waves in the sport each time they get in the water against the world's best.

See below two-time world champion Gabriel Medina paid tribute to Wilson, gifting him his board.

"Thanks for all the good moments and for always pushing me. You helped me to be who I am today," - Medina wrote on the board to Wilson.

Hello Paris 2024 and surfing in Tahiti

If you enjoyed surfing's introduction to the Olympics in Tokyo, just wait until Paris 2024. You are in for a treat.

One of the world's most famous waves and iconic surfing locations in the world is confirmed to host surfing's second edition at the Olympics at Teahupo'o in Tahiti.

When and where to watch swimming replays on Olympics.com

The answer is here: Olympics.com/tokyo2020-replays

Highlights clips and full sessions from the surfing competition at Tokyo are now LIVE.

When do Italo Ferreira and Carissa Moore compete next?

The world's best five male and female surfer's from the 2021 season will compete in a new winner takes all, WSL Finals Day competition at Lower Trestles in California from between September 9-17.

Moore will take on all Olympians. From Brazil Tatiana Weston-Webb, Australia's Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore and France's Johanne Defay.

For the men, Ferreira will come up against fellow Brazilian Gabriel Medina and Filipe Toledo, USA's Conner Coffin and Australia's Morgan Ciblic.

Full medals list in surfing at Tokyo 2020 in 2021

Women’s competition

Gold: Carissa Moore (USA)

Silver: Tsuzuki Amuro (JPN)

Bronze: Bianca Buitendag (RSA)

Men’s competition

Gold: Gabriel Medina (BRA)

Silver: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)

Bronze: Owen Wright (AUS)


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