Brazil’s Italo Ferreira and American Carissa Moore overcame challenging conditions in brilliant style to win historic first Olympic surfing gold medals at the Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach on Tuesday (July 23).
Ferreira recovered from breaking his board on the first wave to beat Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi in the final, while Moore out-classed South African outsider Briana Buitendag to secure victory in the women’s event.
Australia’s Owen Wright took the men’s bronze after a tense 35-minute battle with world number one Gabriel Medina, edging out the Brazilian by two-tenths of a point, while Japan’s Amuro Tsuzuki beat 19-year-old American Caroline Marks to claim the women’s bronze.
The final day of competition started with big, clean waves that delighted the competitors, but a strong onshore breeze picked up to make the swell choppier and more inconsistent with good waves harder to come by.
It made no difference to Ferreira and Moore as they went on the attack in pursuit of Olympic gold.
Having learned to surf on the lid of his father’s fishing bin while growing up in Brazil, the 27-year-old Ferreira popped up on any wave that looked promising, notching scores of 7.0 and 7.77 to open an early lead as Igarashi struggled on the beach where his father learned to surf.
(Production: Xihao Jiang)