Caroline Marks has officially qualified for the 2018 women's Championship Tour, making the 15-year-old Floridian (who now spends half her time in California) the youngest surfer on next year's roster as well as the lone Championship Tour rookie.
The top six surfers on the women's Qualifying Series (QS) earn spots on the Championship Tour the following year, and while Marks ended her 2017 season ranked No. 7 on the QS, two surfers above her have already double qualified via the Championship Tour, opening up spots for Marks and New Zealand veteran Paige Hareb, who spent six years at the Championship Tour level before falling off three years ago.
Marks grew up in Melbourne Beach, Florida, where she learned to surf with her brothers when she was eight. In 2014 she made the move to split her time between Florida and California, making the most of San Clemente's world-class waves and year-round surf, helping to improve her technique.
Marks emerged as a serious threat at the age of 13, when she won the first of two Vans US Open of Surfing titles in the Pro Junior division. Those performances earned her a chance to surf in her first CT event at Lower Trestles in 2015, making her the youngest surfer ever to compete in one. She's been training with Mike Parsons for more than a year now, joining the likes of CT stars like Lakey Peterson and Kolohe Andino. Caroline's surfing includes a powerful backhand attack, which she enjoys refining at her home break of Lower Trestles. She has a penchant for bigger moves, too, which should translate well at the next level.
The 2017 season was Caroline's first real attempt at qualifying, and with her 2nd place finish at the QS 6,000 Pantin Pro in Galicia, Spain, and 3rd at the Supergirl Pro in Oceanside, California, she made it a very successful one.