Watching surfing events at the Olympic games will be exciting for supporters, families and fans of the sport.
With several avenues to qualify for the Olympics, the best surfers in the world will represent their countries in pursuit of an Olympic medal.
I often get asked, “Who are Australia’s Olympic Medal Favourites in Surfing?”
Some of the best surfers in the world come from Australia. The Olympic medal favourites in the female surfing event are Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons and the Olympic medal hopefuls in the male surfing event are Julian Wilson and Owen Wright from Australia.
The Olympic games allow a maximum of two athletes for each surfing event. Because there are so many talented professional surfers from Australia, qualifying for the Olympic games in Australia is very competitive.
Australia’s Olympic Medal Favourites: Female Surfing Event
In the Olympic Female Surfing Event, the Australian surfers that have qualified are considered to be medal favourites.
Based on past results from the World Championship Tour, surfing’s highest level of professional surfing, some of the best female surfers in the world come from Australia.
Over the past twenty years, the Women’s World Championship Tour has been won by an Australian surfer a total of 15 times, which is a 75% winning percentage.
Who are the Australian Female Surfers that Qualified for the Olympics?
Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons from Australia qualified for the Female Surfing event at the Tokyo Olympics by finishing in the top 8 places of the 2019 World Championship Tour.
Gilmore and Fitzgibbons are two of Australia’s top female surfers and are consistent top finishers on the Women’s Championship Tour (WCT).
Check out the table below to review Gilmore and Fitzgibbons’s World Championship Tour finishes over the last ten years.
Stephanie Gilmore is considered to be one of Australia’s medal favourite at the Tokyo Olympics. Gilmore is not only one of Australia’s best surfers, but she is considered one of the best female surfers of all time.
Gilmore has won 7 world titles between 2007-2018, which equals fellow Australian Layne Beachley for the most wins in history.
Check out Stephanie Gilmore’s feature story on 60 Minutes Australia.
At 33 years of age, Gilmore consistently finishes at the top of the leaderboard on the Championship Tour and is known for her competitive success and stylish surfing.
Gilmore will be the top ranked Australian surfer at the Olympics and has an opportunity to bring home the first Olympic surfing medal for Australia.
Sally Fitzgibbons is considered to be a medal favourite at the Tokyo Olympics as well. As one of the top surfers in the world, Fitzgibbons has finished on the podium on the Women’s Championship Tour six times in the last ten years.
A 30 years of age, Fitzgibbons is known as a strong all round athlete with an intense training regime and dedication to fitness.
Check out Sally Fitzgibbons athlete profile below.
In order to add a new dimension to her competitive arsenal, Fitzgibbons has been training to master airs, with the goal of being the first women to land airs consistently in competition.
In surfing, an air is when a surfer launches completely out of the water, lands back on the wave and continues riding, which is a maneuver that will receive high scores at the Olympics.
Why isn’t Tyler Wright at the Tokyo Olympics?
If you are wondering why Tyler Wright, the 2 time World Surf Tour champion is not representing Australia at the Olympic games, you are not alone.
Tyler Wright is not only one of Australia’s best surfers but she is also one of the top female surfers in the world.
Wright was unable to qualify for the Olympics because she missed a significant portion of the 2018 and 2019 WCT season due to a case of post viral syndrome that left her bedridden.
Check out the video below to learn about Tyler’s journey.
Wright is fully recovered and would be considered a medal favourite if she was representing Australia at the Olympic games.
Australia’a Olympic Medal Favourites: Male Surfing Event
In the Olympic Male Surfing Event, the Australian surfers that have qualified are considered to be medal hopefuls.
Based on the past results from the Men’s World Championship Tour, Australia’s male surfers have won the WCT tour twice in the past 10 years.
Who are the Australian Male Surfers that Qualified for the Olympics?
Julian Wilson and Owen Wright from Australia qualified for the Male Surfing event at the Tokyo Olympics by finishing in the top 10 places of the 2019 World Championship Tour.
Wilson and Wright are two of Australia’s top male surfers and are consistent top finishers on the Men’s World Championship Tour (WCT).
Check out the table below to review Wilson and Wright’s World Championship Tour finishes between 2010-2019.
|2010||not on tour||7th|
|2011||9th (rookie of the year)||3rd|
Julian Wilson is one of Australia’s top male surfers and has finished on the podium of the World Championship (WCT) tour twice in the last five years.
In 2011, Wilson won the rookie of the year award for being the best newcomer on the WCT and finished 9th in the world.
Check out the Video below showcasing Julian Wilson’s unique surfing style.
Wilson is known for his innovative surfing and for pushing the limits of what is possible on a surfboard; this skill will serve him well at the Olympics.
Owen Wright, brother to 2 time Women’s World Surfing Champion Tyler Wright, is one of Australia’s top professional surfers and has finished in the top 10 of the World Championship (WCT) four times in the last five years.
Wright is known for his consistent results and all around ability to perform in a wide range of different surfing conditions.
Wright has faced adversity in his career, coming back from a traumatic brain injury suffered while surfing in Hawaii in 2015.
Wright missed the entire 2016 WCT tour but returned in 2017 and won the first event of the season in dramatic fashion.
Check out Wright’s emotional interview after winning the first competition of his comeback.
What Surfing Events will be held at the Olympics?
At the Olympics, a female and male shortboard surfing event will be held. A ‘shortboard’ is a surfboard that is under 7 feet long with a pointy nose and designed for maximum maneuverability, including turns, tricks and airs.
The Olympics will be won by the surfer that can perform difficult, progressive moves while maintaining speed and flow on the wave.
Surfers will rely on a combination of strength, speed, stamina and acrobatics to receive high scores from the judges.
In Conclusion: Australia’s First Olympic Surfing Medal
With talented surfers in both the male and female Olympic surfing event, there is a good chance that they will bring home Australia’s first Olympic surfing medal.
If you are keen to learn more and check out all the action, click on the link to read my Olympic post below.
Olympic Surfing: How to Watch? Which Surfers Qualified?
Go surfing, have fun, repeat!