Olympic Surfing athletes and coach adapting to new liaisons as COVID-19 pandemic continues

Charis Tsevis/Flickr

Two Olympic athletes discuss COVID-19 procedures as the 2021 Olympic Games approach

How are the best athletes in the world preparing for the now 2021 Olympic Games. Caroline Marks and Kolohe Andino are two surfers that qualified for the games in Tokyo in 2019. The first time the world will see surfing in the Olympic Games. Their qualification is only the beginning of the historical moment for surfing competitors, as it will be the first time the world will see surfing in the Olympic Games. Brett Simpson, Team USA head surf coach, talks about preparing for what is expected to be an Olympics the world has never seen before since the outbreak of COVID-19. 

Simpson oversees the Olympic surfing team, of which Marks and Andino are two of four to be a part of. Simpson has been trying to watch his team closely as possible delegating what is fit for them during this pandemic regarding keeping up with their health and fitness. With travel bans across the world, competing has been something that they are adapting to ahead of the games. 

“Health is always important, but we also have to find ways to get better,” he said. “We’ve been lucky that over this period we’ve still been able to surf and work on our craft. It’s also pretty sick that we are lucky enough to stay in touch and run practice heats whenever we can.”

Marks and Andino stay close to home and in touch with each other, making it a point to surf, train, and push each other overall ahead of the games. Both athletes run 25-minute practice heats that are judged and timed by Simpson on the beach in San Clemente, California.

“Covid has made it really hard because of limited travel, lucky enough to live close to a few athletes but our Hawaii squad has been tough, we’ve had to resort to staying in touch online,” Simpson said.

Kolohe Andino, first American surfer to qualify for Olympic Games. Oahu, Hawaii 2019. chde.eu/Flickr

Andino hits on the things that he has found key during this pandemic.

“It’s really sick to be able to have someone that lives right up the street from me that pushes me harder than anyone else on tour,” he said. “Especially during Covid because it’s really easy to forget about the passion that lights the fire under your ass that drives an athlete when the whole world is shut down.” 

Marks and Andino are also members of the World Surf League and are currently ranking both in the top ten of the whole world. 

“I pretty much pick your brain all day long on what you eat, where you surf, who you train with, sauna and ice bath, everything,” Marks said to Andino.

Simpson seemingly has the utmost faith and trust in his team, no matter the hardship COVID-19 Pandemic has brought on them.

“I have ultimate trust in all our team and that they are the best in the world,” he said. “It definitely has changed, we haven’t been able to get together as much as we like, so that makes it difficult on the chemistry side of things, but like I said, I have so much trust in our team. They are at the top of their games right now and they understand the opportunity in about six months’ time.”

The Tokyo Olympic Games 2021 will begin July 23 and conclude on Aug. 8. Marks, Andino, and Simpson will travel there along with the other two Team USA surfing members John Florence and Carrissa Moore, both of whom are from the state of Hawaii. Their inside scoop is that it will be like no Olympics the world has ever seen before. 

The difference of this Summer Olympic Games, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will likely have no spectators, the athletes will only be there to strictly compete. They fly in, only bringing the most important person by their side, competing and then leaving.

In the meantime, you can watch Marks and Andino compete on the World Championship Tour, taking place this year in New South Wales, Australia at Boomerang Beach. This first event of the season will be running from Feb. 16. through Feb. 19. The competition will be live on the World Surf League mobile app or on the Fox Sports televised channel.