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By Jake Howard

Kolohe Andino’s not the only surfer living in San Clemente hoping to rip their way to a gold medal. Caroline Marks will also be heading to the Tokyo Olympic Games to represent the Red, White and Blue.

The youngest female to ever qualify for the WSL Championship Tour when she was just 17, Marks grew up in Melbourne Beach, Fla., before her family moved to town.

In 2018, she earned Rookie of the Year honors, and by 2019, she finished second in the world and qualified for the Olympic Games.

She also appeared in Sports Illustrated’s esteemed Swimsuit Edition last year. Currently ranked sixth on the WSL Championship Tour, she’s accomplished all this, all before turning 20.

Caroline Marks, pictured here surfing at the Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California in October 2020, will head next month to Tokyo, where she’ll represent the U.S. on the nation’s first Olympic surf team. Photo: Courtesy of David Clancy/Red Bull Content Pool

“My youngest sister and her are good friends; she’s become like family,” Andino says of Marks.

When she’s not traveling the planet racking up accolades, there’s a good chance you can find her zipping down to Lowers on her e-bike. A powerful goofy-footer, surf pundits (myself included) have likened her brand of surfing to Australian icon Mark Occhilupo, whose nickname is the Raging Bull.

Marks’ unrelenting backhand attack and her ability to come strong at the lip of waves have set her apart on tour, and given her age, will continue to do so for years to come.

“Everything I think about all days is surfing,” says Marks in a documentary about her career released by her sponsor, Red Bull, in April. “It’s my passion. It’s my love. It’s everything I want to do. I just want to be a great influence on younger girls and really enjoy it, because it’s such an amazing life to have.”

In terms of how she handles all the success and pressure that comes with it, Marks keeps things in healthy perspective.

“Always make sure you’re enjoying it and having fun,” she says. “Everything’s going to happen when it’s supposed to happen, and everything happens for a reason.”

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