The men took to the air in their third round of Olympic surfing competition at Japan’s Tsurigakawa Beach on Monday, but, despite his renown in aerial maneuvers, dreams of a medal for Hawaii’s John John Florence, 28, ended abruptly when the two-time world surfing champion lost a heat against U.S. teammate Kolohe Andino, 27, of California.
Florence, who won the Billabong Pipe Masters at Oahu’s Banzai Pipeline in December, is currently ranked #10 on the World Surf League championship tour, despite sitting out the last three events due to injury; Andino, who is ranked #38, missed all six events this season due to injury, but won the heat with 14.83 points to Florence’s 11.60.
Andino advanced to the men’s quarterfinals, scheduled to be held Tuesday in Japan, kicking off at noon Monday in Hawaii; plans were to complete the first-ever Olympic surfing event for both the men’s and women’s divisions today.
Fellow U.S. teammates Hawaii’s four-time world champ Carissa Moore, 28, and Florida’s Caroline Marks, 19, also advanced and will surf in the women’s quarterfinals, scheduled for 2:24 p.m. Monday, Hawaii time; the plan, according to the Tokyo Olympics website, is to complete the competition with the men’s and women’s gold medal matches by the end of the day.
A face-off between Andino and Californian aerialist Kanoa Igarashi, 23, of the Japan team promises to make for an exciting quarterfinals first heat in bigger waves and cleaner conditions, due to a switch to offshore winds; Marks will face Brisa Hennessy, 21, surfing for Costa Rica, and Moore will take on Silvana Lima, 36, of Brazil.