- Surfing will finally make its long awaited Olympics debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games
- Brazilian Gabriel Medina is the men’s betting favorite; American Carissa Moore is the favorite on the women’s side
- Read below for odds, analysis and picks for the men’s and women’s surf competition
The surf will be up for the first time ever at the Olympics.
Despite talks to bring the sport to the Olympics that date back as far as 1912, actions only started intensify in 1995, and it still took 26 more years to make surfing a medal sport at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The event kicks off July 24th and runs until July 28th at the Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach, around 100 km away from Tokyo. Organizers have baked in July 29th – August 1 as backup dates, in case weather at the beach is not susceptible to surfing on any of the scheduled dates.
You can watch all the action on NBC, while USA Network will carry the final both the men’s and women’s final.
Let’s break down both the men’s and women’s odds, and try to find you the best bet.
Men’s Surfing Odds
|John John Florence||USA||+600|
Odds as of July 21 at DraftKings
Scoring at Home
The surfers will be scored on a 5-point marking system by judges. The categories will be: commitment and difficulty, innovation and progression, variety, combination and speed power and flow.
The first three rounds will consist of heats where four to five surfers will take to the waves, with at least 50% of contestants advancing to the next round of heats. Surfers are allotted 30 minutes in the ocean. Only their best two scoring waves will be used during the final marking tally. After three heats, it’s a one-on-one competition.
All surfers will be competing on shortboards.
Surfers to Watch
The betting favorite it 2-time world champion Gabriel Medina. He’s the first-ever Brazilian to claim a world championship. He arrives in Tokyo having made five of the six finals in the 2021 World Surf League men’s season so far, winning twice and finishing second in three other events.
@gabriel1medina, bicampeão mundial, vem mostrando que é #AtletaDeFibra e já está classificado para o Rip Curl WSL Finals. Veja as Top 3 melhores notas no Championship Tour 2021. @oi_oficial pic.twitter.com/ZFGuWTwxRY
— WSL Brasil 🇧🇷 (@WSLBrasil) July 21, 2021
Close on his heels is countryman Italo Ferreira, whose resume includes first-place finishes at the World Surf League Championship Tour, the ISA World Surfing Games in Miyazaki, Japan and the Billabong Pipe Masters in Hawaii.
American John John Florence has the fourth-best odds, and the 2016 and 2017 WSL champion is widely considered one of the most dominant pipe surfers of his era, but he’s coming to Japan off a knee injury, so questions abound about his readiness to compete.
“Put the foot down and grit your teeth” – Kanoa Igarashi’s Olympic approach as the Japanese star of #tokyo2020 surfing! 🔥
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) July 20, 2021
There might not be anyone who knows this layout better than 23-year-old Kanoa Igarashi. A dual citizen from California, he will be competing for Japan at the Games and he’s been surfing at Tsurigasaki beach his whole life. It’s also happens to be in his blood: His father, Tsutomu Igarashi, said he helped popularize the waves at the beach as a young surfer, long before he moved to the US, where Kanoa was born.
For my money, we’re going to keep it local.
The pick: Igarashi (+400)
Women’s Surfing Odds
Odds as of July 21 at DraftKings
Moore Wants More
The betting favorite on the women’s side is 28-year-old American Carissa Moore. The current world champion has claimed four World Surf League titles, and would love to be the first to wear Olympic gold. She was inducted into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
Riding the barrel! 🤙
American surfer Carissa Moore is stoked! 🏄♀️#StrongerTogether
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 15, 2021
Her competition will come from legendary Aussie surfer Stephanie Gilmore, who enters with +500 odds but is one of the best in her sport, claiming seven world championships. The 33-year-old ranks fifth in the world.
Moore will also be pushed by teammate Caroline Marks. The 19-year-old arrives in Tokyo fresh off finishing second in the end of year world rankings.
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 22, 2021
Brazil’s Tatiana Weston-Webb and Silvana Lima are also a pair to keep an eye out for. Known for their aerial manoeuvers, they may be able to use the Japanese waves to their advantage. Still, Moore appears to be at the peak of her powers right now.
The pick: Moore (+150)