Aussies keen to ride Olympic wave
TWO seasons out from the Tokyo Olympics and the battle for surfing's historic first gold medal is shaping to be a two-horse race between Australian and US women.
The two surf powers are riding a wave of unprecedented success with surfers from both countries filling 13 of the 16 World Tour spots so far determined.
While the qualification process for the Olympics is still being sorted, the show of strength on the world tour is a major indicator of which countries can be expected to dominate.
Australias top trio - two-time world champion Tyler Wright, six time world champion Steph Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons - have all committed to the campaign.
"I am a big fan of the Olympics," said Wright, who trumped four rivals to claim her second world crown on the Island of Maui earlier this month.
"I remember coming home last year and I caught the back end of Rio and just sat in front of the TV all day watching these athletes doing crazy things. I'd love to go for sure."
There are any number of young Aussies who could beat the big three to the punch, including fellow world tour surfers Nikki van Dijk, Bronte Macaulay and Keely Andrew.
Also in the mix are reigning world junior champion Macy Callaghan and former world junior titleholder Isabelle Nichols.
This young duo have yet to crack the world tour but are consisted two of the sports rising stars.
The US also has a deep talent pool, including four-time world champion Carissa Moore, World No. 4 Courtney Conlogue and star teenager Caroline Marks who joins the World Tour full time in 2018.
Professional surfer Bede Durbidge will run the Australian program for the Tokyo Olympics after retiring from the World Tour at the Pipeline Masters.
Seven-time world champion Layne Beachley is overseeing the Olympic preparations as chairwoman of Surfing Australia and has no doubt Australians will be in the medal mix.