Meet Caroline Marks, Olympic-Bound Surfer and Full-On Force to Be Reckoned With

Caroline Marks would be the first to inform you that 2019 was one of the best 12 months of her life. At 17, the professional surfer completed her season ranked quantity two on the planet, a powerful consequence for simply her second 12 months on the WSL Championship Tour and one which secured her a provisional spot on the 2020 Olympics, the place browsing will probably be contested for the primary time. It got here down to the ultimate contest of the 12 months, the place three American surfers Caroline, Carissa Moore, and Lakey Peterson vied for each the Olympics and the coveted world title. It was a high-stakes state of affairs for any surfer, not to mention one who was simply off her rookie season.

“I’ve got nothing to lose,” Caroline instructed POPSUGAR earlier than the final contest, the Lululemon Maui Professional. Her relative inexperience meant that folks weren’t anticipating a lot from her, she defined. Her age meant that the stress was considerably off; she has a few years to win a world title and might doubtlessly compete in a number of Olympics over the course of her profession. “The only expectations are the ones I’m putting on myself.” She’d already surpassed her personal targets for the 12 months, however that success had solely fed the drive for extra. “I’m not satisfied,” she mentioned. “I really want to win.”

Caroline entered the competition ranked third on the planet, trailing Lakey in second and Carissa in first. She misplaced within the first warmth and landed within the elimination spherical, the place one other loss might have knocked her out of the competitors, the world title race, and Olympic {qualifications} in a single fell swoop. As an alternative, she rallied to win that warmth and the next spherical of 16 matchup. Regardless of getting knocked out within the quarter-finals (to Stephanie Gilmore, a seven-time world champion and the eventual winner of the competitors), Caroline’s comeback was sufficient to propel her to the second spot within the rankings and punch her ticket to Tokyo 2020. Caroline and world title winner Carissa Moore will each be representing the US within the Olympics, one thing Caroline mentioned was a childhood dream of hers.

However even earlier than qualifying, even earlier than climbing virtually to the highest of the leaderboard, Caroline’s 12 months had been a hit by any requirements. She received her very first CT occasion, which was additionally the primary contest through which the WSL paid out equal prize cash to each males and ladies. “It was just crazy to be the one to win it. It was a really special moment for me and my family and the sport of surfing. It was just incredible to be a part of,” Caroline mentioned, acknowledging that the feminine surfers who got here earlier than her had actually made the milestone doable. (“Luckily my timing was really good!”)

It was additionally the primary CT contest that her complete household each dad and mom, plus 5 siblings had witnessed in particular person. When she joined them on the seashore after the win, “I just started bawling,” she remembered.

Caroline grew up browsing together with her brothers in Florida, the place the inter-sibling rivalries would get so intense that Caroline would are available in crying if she misplaced a warmth to them. “My brothers and I are so competitive, it’s unbelievable,” she mentioned.

It fed right into a pure drive to be one of the best, an depth that is palpable once you speak to her. “I’m addicted to competing and that winning feeling,” Caroline mentioned. “I want to impress my brothers, I want to impress my dad. I want to make everyone proud. It’s just something I’ve always had.”

Caroline is in her final 12 months of highschool and suits in homeschooling round main competitions, however her priorities are clear-cut. She’s identified since age 11 that browsing is what she needs to do, and on this breakout 12 months on tour, she’s made over $400,000 in prize cash alone. She thrives on competitors and the joys of victory; together with uncooked expertise and a strong work ethic, it is a part of the rationale why she’s seen such success so shortly. However on the finish of the day, the game of browsing is what Caroline actually loves. “I think surfing is kind of like painting a picture,” she mentioned. Every distinctive wave is “like a big open canvas. You can do whatever you want. That’s what’s so fun you just feel so free.”

Meet Caroline Marks, Olympic-Bound Surfer and Full-On Force to Be Reckoned With

Picture Supply: WSL / Dunbar

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