In surfing’s debut at the Tokyo Games, the Americans made their presence felt as Kolohe Andino reached the quarterfinals of the men’s event and Carissa Moore took home the inaugural gold medal in the women’s competition.

This time around, Team USA is looking primed for even better results, as they will hold the top two spots in both the men’s and women’s World Surf League (WSL) rankings when they touch down in Tahiti.

How are the world rankings determined?

Surfers in the WSL Championship Tour are awarded points for how they perform at each event on the calendar. The higher a surfer places in an event, the more points they earn.

This year, there are nine events in the WSL regular season and the eighth, the Rio Pro, just wrapped up in late June. The final competition will start in late August after the Olympics. Following that, the top five men's and women's surfers in the rankings will battle in the WSL Finals in San Clemente, California, to determine the season champions. 

Simmers, Marks lead women's rankings

Headlining the women’s ranks is Caitlin Simmers, who will be making her Olympic debut later this month. The 18-year-old has been dominant this season. She's won three events, including the most recent, the Rio Pro, and has three other top-five finishes under her belt. Simmers is nearly 6,000 points ahead of all other surfers, and with only one event remaining after the Olympics, she is in a great position to finish the regular season at the top of her class. 

If Simmers doesn't end up as the top-ranked woman though, it could be her Olympic teammate Caroline Marks, who is currently No. 2 in the WSL rankings. Marks has been a consistent contender this season, finishing in the top five in all but one event. She also recently picked up her first victory of the year, winning the El Salvador Pro at the beginning of June.

Simmers and Marks will comprise two of the three members of the U.S. Olympic women's surfing team this year. Five-time world champion and reigning Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore, who will be taking a break from professional surfing after the Games, is the other member of the team.

Costa Rica's Brisa Hennessy and Australia's Molly Picklum, both of whom will compete at the Olympics, are behind the Americans in third and fourth, respectively.

Florence, Colapinto sit 1-2 in men's rankings

On the men’s side, John John Florence has been the man to beat. He holds a whopping 9,613 point lead over second place, so he has first place for the regular season all but locked up. Florence has been a constant contender in events, recently winning the El Salvador Pro and claiming three other second-place finishes this year — one of which came in Tahiti, where the Olympic surfing competition will take place. After his last Olympic appearance did not yield a great result, there's no doubt Florence is ready for redemption in Tahiti.

Behind him in second place is fellow American Griffin Colapinto, who will be a rookie at the 2024 Games. Colapinto has four top-five finishes this season, with one being a victory at MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

This duo will be the only surfers representing the United States at the Olympics in the men’s competition.

Other surfers currently in the top five of the men's rankings include Australians Jack Robinson and Ethan Ewing and reigning Olympic champion Italo Ferreira of Brazil. Despite his success this season, Ferreira did not qualify for Brazil's Olympic team this year.