Caroline Marks is a normal person, just like the rest of us. She wakes up, brushes her teeth, and puts on her pants one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. She does classes for school, eats meals with her family, and qualifies for the 2020 Olympics at 17 years old…just like the rest of us?
What sets Caroline apart from her peers isn’t the way she wears her hair, the car she drives, or the people she hangs out with, but her incredible ability to ride a surfboard.
Mark’s athletic career began not in the water, but in the stables. Competing in horseback riding for the majority of her childhood, Marks was a phenom barrel racer and quickly topped the ranks of the youth leaderboard. In her early pre-teen years, however, Mark’s thought it best to transition to an old love of her family’s: surfing. The laser focus and wicked intensity that made her equestrian career transferred seamlessly to her surfing career where she began dominating the local scene. Marks blossomed into a prodigy of a surfer, accumulating countless local, regional, and semi-pro titles.
When Marks turned 15, it was time to hit the big leagues. She became the youngest girl to ever make the pro tour, which came with many naysayers and doubts. Marks spent the better part of the year silencing these haters, traveling the world competing, and proving why she deserves to be there. While she didn’t place incredibly high in her first season, once all was said and done, Marks still came away as the rookie of the year.
With the 2020 Olympics on the horizon, the 2019 season had to be a big one for Marks. Each country is only allowed two male and two female surfers, so only the two highest placers on the world tour from each nation would earn Olympic honors.
Marks would need a breakout season to have any chance of qualifying…and a breakout season she had. Marks opened her season with her first world tour win at the Bells Beach Pro, and was off to the races after that. Each new competition brought a new challenge, a new location, and a new way for Caroline to shock the world. Going into the final competition of the year, the top three spots were nearly tied; Lakey Peterson and Carissa Moore, the multiple time world champs and veterans of the sport, were nearly tied with a 17 year old prospect on her second pro season.
All three women are Americans; only two can represent their country in the 2020 Olympic Games. This last competition was for all the marbles. Carissa Moore came away with another world title, and young Caroline Marks came away with second place and a ticket to Tokyo. Caroline Marks, the 17 year old upstart from south Florida, will be going to the 2020 Olympics. Come August 9, the world will have their eyes on her again to see if this incredible young woman can shock the world once more.