The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will feature four new sports at the international sporting event, including karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, as well as surfing, which will take place at the Shidashita Beach. As a new sport at the Olympics, surfing will garner a lot of attention from the spectators and bettors alike, as they look to predict the first-ever surfing Olympic gold medalist.
The competition at the Tokyo Olympics will take place at the world-renowned Shidashita Beach, or “Shida”, located 64km outside of Tokyo. There, the athletes will compete in a four-person heat structure, meaning there will be four athletes competing at any given time.
Tokyo Olympics 2020 – Women’s Surfing Format and Schedule
Each heat will run for 20-25 minutes, with the top two athletes, based on scoring, advancing into the next stage. The competition will also introduce a rule that follows standard surfing etiquette, where only one rider may ride a wave at any given time and the surfer who is the closest to the peak of the wave having the right of way.
Not following the rules could lead to points deduction or disqualification, based on the judgment of the panel of judges, who will be in charge of awarding points to the riders based on the difficulty of the maneuvers performed.
The Tokyo 2020 Surfing competition will feature 20 men and 20 women, who will compete on shortboards. Both genders will compete on the same day; however, the dates are not set in stone.
Since surfing is heavily weather-dependent, the organizers deserved the right to reschedule any stage of the competition if the right conditions aren’t met. It was, however, confirmed that the contest would take place over four days, between July 25 and August 1.
Can Moore Justify Her Tag As The Favourite?
The women’s event seems wide open, seeing how the World Surf League Championship’s six events of 2021 yielded six different winners. Although there are no clear favorites based on recent results, a few names stand out as strong candidates for the Olympic medal.
Carissa Moore travels to Japan as the odds-on favorite to win gold (3.00 at Bet365), which isn’t too surprising. The 28-year-old has made a name for herself for winning the Triple Crown of Surfing in 2008, just one year after her launching her career, and has since established herself as one of the best athletes in the sport.
She won her fourth World Championship title in 2019, after doing so in 2011, 2013, and 2015. From 2015 to 2019, Moore had hit a rough patch but came back swinging in 2019, when she reclaimed her spot as no.1 in surfing.
That said, the odds are a bit low for us to consider her as a solid bet for Tokyo Olympics, especially considering she has won only one event from her last six. Most recently, Moore finished second to Johanne Defay at Jeep Surf Ranch Pro.
Before that, she placed third at Rottnest Search, Margret River, and Narrabeen Classic, won Newcastle Cup, and landed in second at the Maui Pro. With those results, we don’t need to go too deep into why Moore isn’t a very appealing pick at the offered odds.
The 19-year-old Caroline Marks trails in second at 4.50 (Bet365) as the youngest surfer to compete at Tokyo 2020. Despite her young age, Marks has already highlighted her ability, finishing in second on the 2019 WSL tour and is currently ranked sixth on the season.
Sally Fitzgibbons is tied with Marks as the second-favorite to steal gold from Moore (4.50 at Bet365). She finished fifth on the 2019 WSL tour and has landed in the top five in nine of 10 major events. This year, she has done the same in five of six events and seems in a great spot to make a splash at the Shidashita Beach.
While Moore is priced as the betting favorite, you can back Defay at odds as high as 6.5 (Bet365). That might make sense since the 27-year-old hasn’t had much success early into the season, managing only ninth at Maui Pro.
To that, she added three-back-to-back fifth-place finishes at Newcastle Cup, Narrabeen Classic, and Margret River Pro. She travels to Japan ranked second on the 2021 tour with 34,645 points, which sits her just short of Moore, who is at 43,855 on the season.
Despite her iffy finishes early into the tour, Defay has found her form just in time and looked good at Rottnest Search (2nd). She further improved upon that showing at the Surf Ranch Pro, winning her first title of the year.
Even though Defay has never finished higher than fifth on a WSL tour, she seems to be finding her form just in time for Tokyo 2020 and presents solid value at the odds.
Prediction: Johanne Defay to win – 6.50 at Bet365