An American Dream: Kelly Slater To Surf The World Surfing Games For The Red White And Blue
With dreams of Tokyo gold, the 11-time World Champ will compete in the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games.
Kelly slater is going all-in on the Olympics in 2020. Announced today, Slater will join the U.S. National Surf Team at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Championships in Japan later this year.
The official roster was released today and the stacked team will include Slater, current ratings leaders Kolohe Andino and Carissa Moore, as well Connor Coffin and Courtney Conlogue.
“To support a team with two world No. 1’s, an 11-time world champion and surfers with incredible abilities and commitment to their sport is such an honor and privilege,” said USA Surfing head coach Chris Stone.
Up until very recently, Slater had been on the fence about committing to the Olympic cause.
“I think I have to surf that event, and if I don’t, it may disqualify me,” he told NBC News in regards to World Surfing Games. “But I’m not sure if I want to go to Japan and compete right now.”
Whether they lose in Round 1 or win the whole thing, all prospective Olympic surfers are required to compete in the 2019 World Surfing Games to be eligible for the Olympics. Slater was informed that he would indeed be disqualified from Olympic qualification if he failed to appear in the World Surfing Games.
In terms of who was selected for the U.S. National team, a spot opened up after John John Florence's injury in Brazil in July. The final roster was based on WSL Championship Tour rankings after the Margaret River contest with the top three American men and women being eligible for the national team. The World Surfing Games will help determine who gets the nod to participate in the Tokyo Games.
A refresher in case you’re not totally dialed in on ambiguity of the Olympic Surfing rulebook: The top 10 men and eight women from the CT get spots in the Games. Only two surfers per gender per country will ultimately compete.
The 2019 ISA World Surfing Games will determine “slots on a continental basis to the top finishing eligible man and women from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania.”
Two spots were awarded to the Americas at the recent PanAm Games, with Peru’s Daniella Rosas and Lucca Mesinas. Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi has also already been granted a spot as a member of the host country.
“To surf for your team and country to prepare for the Olympics is powerful,” said Andino in USA Surfing’s press release.
“It’s an honor to be part of this team and represent my country at the upcoming World Surfing Games in Japan,” added Moore.
The World Surfing Games will take place from September 7-15, 2019, in Miyazaki, Japan.