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Tokyo Olympics Picks: Predictions for the Free $500 Gold Medal Games Surfing Pool on DraftKings Sportsbook

Reid Fowler gives his picks for the Free $500 Tokyo Olympics Surfing Event on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Olympics: Athlete Portraits Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

For the first time in the sport’s history, Surfing is an official Olympic event. Set for July 25-27, the 40 contestants (20 male, 20 female) will compete for the opportunity to be the first-ever medalists in the sport. The competitors will head to Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba, Japan, a surf break with mixed reviews. Tsurigasaki Beach has hosted international competitions and Japanese National contests and now will add the Olympics to its resume.

Tsurigasaki Beach, also known as Shidashita Beach, can be inconsistent at times and should provide a stern test for the surfers. The break is susceptible to right swells during the summer months and can be on the smaller side from what the WSL professionals are used to each week. There does appear to be a good chance for bigger (head-high) waves during the contest. Per a Surfline Article found on the WSL site, it says that “ models also show a multi-day run of head-high easterly swell through much of the contest window, with the biggest question which days will have the best combination of size and wind.” The USA team, led by John John Florence on the men’s side and Carissa Moore on the women’s, are considered some of the best surfers in the world, and the swell only helps someone like Florence who grew up charging Pipe on the North Shore. Still, Brazil’s team should be the one to beat.

Both the right and left breaks provide enough run for multiple maneuvers, including ariels, which surfers like Italo Ferreira will undoubtedly be excited to deploy.

Here are some of my favorite picks for the Free $1K Surfing Event Pool on DraftKings Sportsbook. To play the pool, head over to the DraftKings Sportsbook Pools page.

Who will win the Men’s Surfing Event?

In six events, Medina has won twice and finished runner-up three times. If the swell report is true, then these waves should suit Medina’s style more than most competitors this week, even his teammate, Ferreira. This season, Medina has 24 heat wins and is averaging a score of 12.75 per heat. The No.1 ranked surfer in the world is the frontrunner to add a gold medal to go along with his two world titles.

Choice: Gabriel Medina (BRA)

Who will come in second in the Men’s Surfing Event?

Right now, both Ferreira (No. 2) and Gabriel Medina (No. 1) are the two highest-ranked surfers in the world on the men’s side — Brazil has a great chance of getting one of these two on the podium. Ferreira is ferocious on more minor breaks and generates a ton of speed, which will help to get ariels on both lefts and rights. He’s catching an average of nine waves per heat over his previous five heats and hasn’t finished worse than ninth this season.

Choice: Italo Ferreira (BRA)

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Who will come in third in the Men’s Surfing Event?

Florence (USA), who’s been sidelined for several months due to an injury, is the other surfer who should be considered for a medal. Still, Kanoa Igarashi’s skill set, surfing style and experience should give him the nod over the Hawaiian this week. This will be Florence’s first time competing since the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic back in the middle of April. Florence is one of five surfers who won his first two world titles on the WSL in back-to-back years, but Igarashi might be Japan’s best chance at medaling and maybe even capturing a gold. When he was young, Igarashi moved from Japan to Huntington Beach, Calif., a smaller wave break where you have to generate a ton of speed by stacking maneuvers on top of each other, similar to what we’ll see here. In 2019, Igarashi won the 2019 Vans U.S. Open on the Qualifying Series at Huntington Beach in front of his family and friends, which can be helpful when competing for your country, especially when it’s the host country. While the Brazilians have a talent advantage over Igarashi, they might not have the same local experience as the sixth-ranked surfer in the world. Igarashi’s father, Tsutomu (Tom), grew up surfing in Japan, and more specifically, at Tsurigasaki Beach.

Choice: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)

On the women’s side, Brazil’s Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) is ranked fourth in the world and has two third-place finishes, a runner-up and a win this season — she’s someone to watch. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) represent Australia, a country ripe with surfing talent. Still, the U.S. team with Carissa Moore (USA) and Caroline Marks (USA) have a combined two wins on the WSL this season and should be the ones to beat.

Who will come in first in the women’s Surfing Event?

Moore hasn’t finished worse than third this season on the WSL and is one of the best power surfers on Tour. Growing up in Hawai’i, Moore learned how to surf a myriad of different waves and finished third in 2018 at the Vans U.S. Open at Huntington Beach. Moore’s had a win in each season dating back to 2013, and she’s won the World Championship four times in her professional career. She was already inducted into the World Surf Hall of Fame back in 2014.

Choice: Carissa Moore (USA)

Who will come in second in the women’s Surfing Event?

Choice: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)

Who will come in third in the women’s Surfing Event?

Choice: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)

Will the USA win a medal in both the Men’s and Women’s surfing events?

Brazil and Australia have more well-rounded teams and have a really good chance at medaling in both the men’s and women’s events. Also, Florence is coming off a three-month recovery from an injury, and it may be tough to come back right away.

Choice: No

Which country will win the most medals in surfing events? (Men’s and Women’s)

Their talent is undeniable on both teams. Medina and Ferreira for the men’s side and Weston-Webb is a frontrunner to medal on the women’s side. Australia is a close second with Fitzgibbons, Gilmore, Julian Wilson (AUS) and Owen Wright (AUS). Both Wilson and Wright have been mainstays on the WSL, and both have dealt with injuries preventing them from winning more on Tour. Medaling here would be an excellent benchmark on either of their careers.

Choice: Brazil

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