Florida has a rich history of producing world champion surfers. Consider this: In the last 30 years, every American champ from the contiguous United States on the women’s side has been from Florida. And on the men’s side, Tom Curren’s win in 1990 is the last time in those 30 years a non-Floridian mainlander was crowned world champ.
Still, it’s been some time since Florida’s had something to celebrate. The last was when Kelly Slater won a world title in 2011, and Lisa Andersen’s last was in ’97.
But for professional surfing fans in the Sunshine State, the next great hope might be rookie Caroline Marks. At 16, she’s officially the youngest surfer to qualify for the Championship Tour, and after a handful of good results, she’s currently ranked seventh. And fresh off a win at the Los Cabos Open, Caroline’s competitive success in her inaugural season makes her an obvious choice for Rookie of the Year.
If Caroline continues on the path she’s on, she’ll undoubtedly be a force for years to come. Scratch that. She already is.