Hawaiʻi’s Carissa Moore Wins First-Ever Women’s Olympic Surfing Gold

The four-time world champion defeated South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan.
Carissamoore Flag
Photo: Courtesy of Ben Reed/International Surfing Association

Carissa Moore, the four-time world champion from Oʻahu, dominated the final heat at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach Tuesday, handily defeating South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag to win the gold medal in the first-ever women’s surfing event in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The inaugural Olympic surf competition debuted in fickle, typhoon-generated waves, and event organizers crammed the quarterfinals, semifinals and medal heats into one day. By the time Moore and Buitendag hit the water, the winds had backed off, giving the two competitors cleaner conditions for the medal match.

Moore’s scoring waves of 7.33 and 7.60 exceeded Buitendag’s total score of 8.46.

Carissamoore Surf

Photo: Courtesy of Ben Reed/International Surfing Association

It was a historic moment for the Olympics—and for many viewers in Hawaiʻi, a proud one, too.

“I can’t wait to come home and celebrate,” said Moore, 28, to the Los Angeles Times, after she draped the gold around her neck during the medal presentation.

Carissamoore Win

Photo: Courtesy of Ben Reed/International Surfing Association

Moore will talk more about her win on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT. Here’s a quick clip:

Carissamoore Medal1

Photo: Courtesy of Pablo Jimenez/International Surfing Association

For the men, Brazil’s Italo Ferreira, 27, the 2019 world champion, beat Kanoa Igarashi, 23, a Japanese-American born and raised in Southern California who competed for host country Japan, for gold.

Hawaiʻi’s John John Florence, 28, was eliminated in the third round of competition, losing to U.S. teammate Kolohe Andino, 27, of California.

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