SIT DOWN WITH STEVE: Brevard Native and Surf Phenom Caroline Marks Talks About the Olympics and More
By Steve Wilson // May 21, 2021
Marks was the youngest-ever inductee into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame at age 14 in 2016
SIT DOWN WITH STEVE – CLICK HERE TO WATCH: Surfing sensation Caroline Marks, originally from Melbourne Beach, talks with Steve Wilson in the latest edition of “Sit Down with Steve.” Marks is coming off of a huge win at the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic in Australia. She is currently in second place on the World Surf League Tour and will be competing in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. “That’s CAROLINE,” a documentary about Marks, was recently released to the public and can be seen below.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Caroline Marks, the surfing sensation originally from Melbourne Beach, Florida, continues to get everything out of a wave.
Just days after she won the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic in Australia, Space Coast Daily’s Steve Wilson sat down, via zoom, to talk with Marks about, among other things, the win that propelled her into second place in the World Surf League (WSL) Standings.
Marks has been surfing with a lot of confidence. She placed third in the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup in early April.
When talking about how she felt going into the Narrabeen Classic, she said, “My boards were feeling amazing. I feel like I put in a lot of work before the Australian. Everything just came together.”
What makes this win even more impressive is that Marks had never surfed the area before. She adapts as well, and as quickly, to her surroundings as anyone on the WSL Tour.
Another huge milestone for Marks is right around the corner.
By virtue of finishing second place on the WSL Tour in 2019, Marks qualified to compete in the Summer Olympics, which will be held July 23 through August 8 in Tokyo, Japan.
She beams with excitement when she talks about what it means to be a member of Team USA.
Marks smiled and remarked, “It is such an honor to represent my country. It is an event that brings the whole world together.” She added, “I am super honored!”
Marks’ sponsor, Red Bull, recently released a documentary entitled “That’s CAROLINE.” The 21-minute narrative chronicles the surfing life of Marks from an early age, to where she is today.
Marks is excited about the release of the account. She asserted, “I have so much confidence in everything Red Bull does. Everything they do is always so cool.”
After watching the documentary, one word comes to mind – family. Luke Marks, Caroline’s brother, narrates the documentary and does a terrific job. Caroline Marks is constantly surrounded by her family, which gives her a strong support system.
With the support of her family, her God-given talent, and her love of surfing, the sky is the limit for Caroline Marks.
– Steve Wilson
ABOVE VIDEO: The Story of Caroline Marks and Her Rise to Surfing’s Top Ranks | THAT’S CAROLINE
Surf phenom Caroline Marks has ascended to professional surfing’s next title contender in just a few short years, a span highlighted in Red Bull Media House’s latest documentary release, “That’s Caroline,” that will release on April 14 on Red Bull TV.
The 21-minute film chronicles the Red Bull athlete’s growth from a youth of barrel racing and backyard fun in Florida through competitive moments with her brothers that spurred Marks to become one of the best surfers on the planet.
The release of “That’s Caroline” falls on April 14, coinciding with the 100 days mark from the start of competitions in Tokyo this summer, where Marks will represent America as surfing participates for the first time.
Marks initially qualified in December 2019 by finishing 2nd in the World Surf League standings as one of the top two Americans, a feat chronicled in the film.
“It was so fun to relive some of my most intense waves and proud winning moments in the film, “ said Marks, who will be surfing alongside the world’s top athletes this summer.
“Never did I think I’d have a film crew following me around, sharing my life’s story. I hope after seeing the film my fans will be cheering me on even more as I compete for gold. It’s all a dream come true.”
Forget peer pressure, Marks’ three older brothers provided all the drivers needed to propel her meteoric rise in surfing.
Early on she gave the equestrian competition a shot, but soon enough the surfing sibling rivalry won out. Marks started surfing at 10-years old in her hometown of Melbourne Beach, Fla., and with an unrivaled natural ability, won the Under-12 Surfing America Prime — the U.S. top amateur title — just one year later.
After turning pro at age 13, she has won 17 titles, including the 2016 ISA Under-16 Championship, and consecutive National Scholastic Surfing Association titles in 2014-2015.
In 2018, the Floridian became the youngest surfer to qualify for the World Surf League Championship Tour and went on to win the Rookie of the Year award.
This summer illustrates a huge milestone for the sport, and for Marks personally, who will be competing alongside her lifelong idol, Carissa Moore.
This is just the beginning for the goofy-footed 19-year old named Caroline Marks – a name we’ll be hearing for decades to come as she continues to carve her way to the top of the surfing world.
“That’s Caroline” was produced by The Front, an all-female documentary production team and creative think-tank that specializes in story-telling based in Brooklyn, NY.
The documentary will be available to watch on April 14th at redbull.com/thatscaroline and on the Red Bull Surfing YouTube page.
ABOVE VIDEO: By age 16, Caroline Marks’ career was already the stuff of surfing legends. At 11, this goofy-footed ‘tween was the youngest girl to make the USA Surf Team. She is also the youngest female ever to surf in a World Surfing League Women’s Pro event. Marks was also the youngest inductee into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame at age 14. (Video aired in 2016)
2016 AMATEUR INDUCTEE
• Volcom VQS World Champion
• NSSA Open National Champion
• 11 National Titles In Three Years
When asked what her favorite book is, Caroline Marks doesn’t hesitate with her answer.
“The Bible,” said the then-14-year-old surfing wunderkind from Melbourne Beach.
Her faith and her family come first to Caroline, and this well-grounded attitude, coupled with an incredible surfeit of innate talent, has enabled this young surfer to earn serious accolades from the surfing community well before she can even drive.
2015 was an excellent year for Caroline, who was named the Volcom VQS World Champion, NSSA Open Girls National Champion, the NSSA Explorer Girls National Champion, NSSA Open Women’s National Champion and the Surfing America USA Champion.
Adult surfers would feel extremely blessed if they could claim just a portion of what this young woman has already accomplished.
The year 2014 also brimmed with kudos for Caroline. “Surfing” magazine named her #11 in the “Hot 100” list.
She was the 2014 RipCurl Grom Search National Champion and earned a trifecta as Surfing America USA Champion under 16, Surfing America USA Champion under 14 and Surfing America USA Champion under 12.
In one year, she has traveled the world, from Indonesia and Bali to Australia and Brazil, chasing waves and winning competitions.
Caroline’s career is the stuff of surfing legends. At 11, this goofy-footed ‘tween was the youngest girl to make the USA Surf Team. She is also the youngest female ever to surf in a World Surfing League Women’s Pro event.
When she was 12, Caroline tied surfing world darling Carissa Moore’s record as the youngest NSSA Open Women’s Champion. She was the youngest ever to win the Vans U.S. Open Championships with her Pro Junior Title.
Her ability enabled her to gain a wildcard spot in the Swatch Women’s Pro, making her the youngest wildcard in World Surf League history. Overall career highlights include 11 national titles in three years.
ART IN MOTION
Watching Caroline gracefully ride a perfect wave from start to finish is seeing art in motion. Not only is she amazing on the water, but back on land, she is also humble and sweet, and as passionate about her large family as she is about her favorite sport.
Big brother, Luke, by the way, is a fantastic, nationally-ranked surfer who introduced Caroline to surfing.
Although she divides her time between the training waves at San Clemente, California, and the home surf of Melbourne Beach, Caroline is often out on the road, traveling the circuit of the big waves.
In the next two years, Caroline is well poised to polish off her amateur career and qualify for the World Tour.
“I want to bring a world title back to the East Coast,” she said.
She is on the road every other month with her parents or her coach, but no matter how many frequent flier miles she may accumulate, Caroline can’t wait to come back home again and hit the beaches of the Space Coast, particularly along her homebreak at Sebastian Inlet.
“Nothing beats a good swell in Florida,” she said.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com
CLICK HERE to see all the members of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.