American surfer Carissa Moore wins gold in sport’s Olympic debut

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July 27 (UPI) — Carissa Moore, a 28-year-old native of Hawaii, won the first-ever Olympic gold medal awarded in women’s surfing on Tuesday, in an event held at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach in Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

Moore’s score of 14.93 topped silver medalist Bianca Buitendag of South Africa, who finished with 8.46. Japan’s Amuro Tsuzuki took home the bronze, edging out American teenager Caroline Marks, who finished fourth.

For Moore, the world’s top-ranked surfer, the Olympic gold rounds out a collection of hardware that includes four world championships since 2011.

On the men’s side, Brazil’s Italo Ferreira took home the inaugural gold medal, topping Japanese surfer Kanoa Igarashi by 15.14 points to 6.60. Australian Owen Wright won the men’s bronze.

Ferreira recovered from breaking his board on the first wave to win convincingly, after which he was carried to the beach on the shoulders of members of the Brazilian contingent.

The waves were choppy as organizers moved the finals ahead by a day to take advantage of the bigger surf offered by the arrival of Tropical Storm Nepartak into the normally calmer waters of Chiba. Tuesday’s schedule was packed, with quarterfinals, semifinals and gold medal matches all in one day.

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