Paris 2024 Olympic Games Slots Awarded to Five Men on Day 8 of the 2024 ISA World Surfing Games

March 2nd, 2024

Five men earn Olympic qualification: Andy Criere (ESP), Joan Duru (FRA), Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR), Rio Waida (INA) and Tim Elter (GER)

Brazil maintain overall team rankings lead, jump ahead in women’s team rankings, France top men’s rankings

Stunning airshow from Yago Dora (BRA) delivers near-perfect heat total

Super-heat sees Johanne Defay (FRA) continue to top women’s Main Round scores

Arecibo, Puerto Rico – March 2, 2024

The last remaining individual Paris 2024 Olympic Games slots available in the 2024 ISA World Surfing Games (WSG) were assigned on a day of non-stop excellent surfing on Puerto Rico’s northern coast. Finals Day was determined in windy two-to-three foot surf, largely on the left of Rastrial.

Yago Dora (BRA) made the most of the conditions on offer, utilizing the strong trade winds blowing straight into the lefts to prove why he is one of the best aerialists in the world. Dora consistently delivered mind-blowing airs, building to a near-perfect 18.46 heat total from two 9-point rides that displayed incredible maneuvers very few people in the world are capable of.

Having lost Filipe Toledo (BRA) today, Brazil now sit behind France in the men’s team rankings, but Dora and Gabriel Medina (BRA) both have a laser-focus to end up on top. Defending gold medalist Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) and Taina Hinckel (BRA) are keeping the Brazilian women’s team in first, as the only team with two women left in the draw, adding to Brazil maintaining their overall lead in the team championship.

Yago Dora, Team Brazil / Photo: Pablo Jimenez

Rio Waida completes his long road to Paris 2024 qualification

Heading into the 2024 WSG, Tokyo 2020 Olympian Rio Waida (INA) had seen qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games slip through his fingers three times, two of them being as close as you could get without achieving it. Today, the 24-year-old finally grasped it with both hands.

Moving through a must-progress Repechage Round 8 heat proved to be all that was necessary after Sebastian Williams (MEX) bowed out in Repechage Round 9, Heat 1 with a 7.50 heat total. Once Waida, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) and Tim Elter (GER) had each posted two scores that added to more than Williams’ total in the second heat of the round, the trio were each qualified for the Olympic Games, along with Andy Criere (ESP), who had advanced alongside Yago Dora (BRA) over Williams. Waida couldn’t have been more happy to finally achieve his goal.

“It was a rough road,” Waida said. “There was four events for me to have opportunity to qualify, first it was CT (WSL Championship Tour), I had to make top ten, I didn’t get it, and then ISA Huntington, I had to win and it was very close, that one really hurt me, and then last year in El Salvador I did really bad. I was nervous coming to this event, but during the off season last year I worked hard. Whatever it is, I would do anything to qualify. The last ten days I just let it happen, just enjoy it and just surf, that’s it.

“I’m excited for Tahiti. The Olympics are one of the biggest events for the athletes. I’m just happy, I can’t wait for the Olympics. I’m sure I will push my level again in Tahiti. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world, so I’m excited to go.”

ISA President Fernando Aguerre with Team France's Joan Duru / Photo: Pablo Franco

Joan Duru triumphant in battle of the French men

French teammates Joan Duru (FRA) and Marco Mignot (FRA) came up against Gabriel Medina (BRA) in an intense Main Round 5 heat that, despite being non-elimination, had major Olympic implications, as whoever placed higher out of Duru and Mignot in the event would qualify for Paris 2024.

Medina ran away with the heat, earning a 9.23 for a full rotation and collecting one of the highest men’s heat totals of the event so far (17.06). Mignot earned a 7.17 early and held second position for much of the heat, while Duru couldn’t find a single score of note for the first 20 minutes. With five minutes remaining, Duru opened up on a left for a 7.23, but still stayed in third. With seconds remaining, he split a peak with Medina, took to the right and nailed a series of backhand turns for a 6.23 to advance and send his teammate into repechage, where Mignot was eliminated.

The 2021 WSG gold medalist, Duru was emotional as he accepted his ticket to Paris 2024 and announced that he would retire from competitive surfing after competing in the Olympic Games. A former WSL CT stalwart, Duru has proven himself in waves of consequence and will be a force to be reckoned with at Teahupo’o.

“Now it’s finished,” Duru said. “Marco had to lose, that was a shame, but it was an amazing contest, well done to him. But we’re going to fight until the end to win the third place for him. I’m so stoked the Olympics are in France. It was my last goal, I wanted to finish my career in France and Teahupo’o in August is the best place to surf in France, so it’s going to be amazing waves. It’s a barrelling left, it’s what I like, so I’m going to go train for this.”

Tim Elter, Team Germany / Photo: Pablo Franco

European underdogs Tim Elter and Andy Criere punch their tickets to Paris

While Tim Elter (GER) and Andy Criere (ESP) aren’t necessarily unknowns, they are hardly household names. That is all about to change however, as the two underground European chargers embark on their new path as qualified Olympic athletes.

Elter was originally an alternate for Germany and only received the call to be on the team two months ago. The 20-year-old’s Olympic dreams began when Leon Glatzer (GER) qualified for Tokyo 2020, opening his eyes to the possibility of a German surfer reaching the highest level of sport. Born and raised in the Canary Islands, Elter is a big fan of the type of wave that Teahupo’o represents and can’t believe that he will now head there to train to compete as an Olympic surfer.

“I get goosebumps when I think about Teahupo’o,” Elter said. “I’m super stoked and excited to surf the Olympics at a venue like Teahupo’o, because I grew up surfing heavier waves, and I love slabs and everything that’s not the kind of waves that everyone likes. I like to get beatings, I like to get barrelled, the adrenaline rush is just insane, you know.”

Criere has been a staple of European surfing for many years. A two-time Spanish National Champion, the 28-year-old has found much success in his career, but nothing close to what he accomplished this week.

“I just can’t believe it,” Criere said. “It’s a dream come true. It was a long road, a lot of people helping me out to get to where I am. They told me to just believe and just surf and it happened. Already coming here was something big and just making heats, surfing with my favorite surfers in the world, having the support of my entire team and getting this ticket to Teahupo’o.”

Johanne Defay, Team France / Photo: Jersson Barboza

Super-heat sees Johanne Defay (FRA) continue to top women’s Main Round scores

A super-heat featuring three multiple-time ISA medalists, Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Johanne Defay (FRA), along with newly qualified Paris 2024 athlete Taina Hinckel (BRA), played out as good as it sounded on paper, with a constantly shifting lead and strong battle between the three WSL CT surfers. Defay collected a 7.67 to take a solid lead, while Weston-Webb held firm in second. Fitzgibbons was not far behind however, and snuck a buzzer-beater to stay in the Main Round, relegating Weston-Webb and Hinckel to repechage.

Consistently posting some of the highest scores of the Main Round, Defay is part of a strong Team France, who are pushing for the team championship gold medal, though she is also eyeing off a personal WSG gold medal to join her silver and bronze.

“We are a good team. Everybody is motivated, I think we have good feelings in the group, good motivation. I’ve done second and third in ISA’s, I’ve never won, so why not this year?”

Competition will resume tomorrow at 8:00am AST with Men’s Repechage Round 11.



Anat Lelior (ISR)
Camilla Kemp (GER)
Janire Gonzalez-Extabarri (ESP)
Nadia Erostarbe (ESP)
Siqi Yang (CHN)
Sol Aguirre (PER)
Taina Hinckel (BRA)
Yolanda Sequeira (POR)


Alonso Correa (PER)
Andy Criere (ESP)
Joan Duru (FRA)
Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
Rio Waida (INA)
Tim Elter (GER)



Qualified via 2023 ISA WSG
Saffi Vette (NZL)
Sarah Baum (RSA)
Shino Matsuda (JPN)
Vahine Fierro (FRA)

Qualified via WSL Championship Tour

Brisa Hennessy (CRC)
Carissa Moore (USA)
Caroline Marks (USA)
Johanne Defay (FRA)
Molly Picklum (AUS)
Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)
Teresa Bonvalot (POR)
Tyler Wright (AUS)


Qualified via 2023 ISA WSG
Alan Cleland Jr (MEX)
Billy Stairmand (NZL)
Kauli Vaast (FRA)
Reo Inaba (JPN)

Qualified via WSL Championship Tour

Ethan Ewing (AUS)
Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Jack Robinson (AUS)
João Chianca (BRA)
John John Florence (USA)
Jordy Smith (RSA)
Matthew McGillivray (RSA)
Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)

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