I’ve had the pleasure of watching Caroline Marks surf a couple of times. And watching someone live is always better. My favorite was a drizzly morning at Haleiwa after the wind and rain had left the sea a bit of a mess. If you’ve surfed there, you know what a workout it is and how challenging the current makes it to sit in the right spot trying for that big right-hand bowl. What struck me was the maturity with which Caroline surfed, how her compact, backhand style was so easy to spot with her right-arm opening up like she was propping a door open for someone before slamming the world shut on the lip.
I wanted to introduce myself. Watching from the beach park, as I paddled out she was sliding in on the whitewater. Missed opportunity. She’s going to be the next great American world champion from Florida. I know that probably isn’t the most revelatory thing you’ve ever heard. It’s a pretty easy pick actually (see track record).
She’s 16, right? If she can win the title this year at 17, she’d be the youngest ever to win a high-performance world championship (Rachael Tilly won a longboard title at 17, Carissa Moore’s first CT title came at 18). The rest of the women’s field will have something to say about it, but watching Marks tear apart Lowers’ rights on that backhand that should go with someone 20 years older, it’d be hard to bet against her.