Florida native Caroline Marks began her pro surfing career at 15 years old, becoming the youngest girl to ever go on the pro tour. In her maiden season, she was named the World Surf League rookie of the year. Now, in her first pro contest of 2019, Marks finds herself ranked number one in the world.
The Boost Mobile Pro on the Gold Coast (Australia) event took place from April 5-7. Boasting the greatest female surfers in the world, this competition kicked off the 2019 pro tour with a bang. Last year’s ranking meant nothing–this was a brand new year, and a brand new season.
Marks breezed her way through her first three heats, soundly coming out on top in every one. In the quarterfinals, Marks looked like anything but a rookie. Under not-too-stellar conditions, Marks faced off against Australian native, seven time world champ, and number one ranked woman Stephanie Gilmore–a competitor who has beaten Marks numerous times in the past. Looking anything but the younger competitor, Marks handily trounced Gilmore 16.80 to 8.77. It was the upset of the year, and only one contest into season.
The Florida native didn’t stop there. Marks narrowly beat Malia Manuel in the semifinal round and punched her ticket to the finals. The rookie of the year was set to square off against Carissa Moore, the Hawaii native and three time world champ.
In the final heat, Marks scored 13.83 points to Moore’s 11.67, emerging victorious. The 17 year old rookie from south Florida had won her Maiden WSL tournament trophy in astonishing fashion. Upon reaching the beach, the ecstatic teen was met with an adoring crowd and chaired up by her brothers Luke, Jack, and Dawson Marks.
In an interview, Marks described the whole experience as “the best day of her life.” Despite her age, Marks is now ranked the number one female surfer in the world. If she can remain in the top two of the ranking until the end of this year, she will not only be in contention for a world title, but a spot on the inaugural U.S. olympic surf team in 2020.
Caroline Marks is nothing if not a prodigy and absolute phenom in the sport. Her future is bright as she continues her season on the 2019 pro tour.