- WSL / Kelly Cestari

While shooting for the 2020 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Caroline Marks sat down to talk about surfing's debut in the Olympics, equality and her life goals. And at just 18 years old, as Marks reveals, she has her heart set on progressing the future of the sport and paving the way for the next generation.

In 2019, Marks finished runner-up to Carissa Moore for the World Title and provisionally qualified for the U.S. Olympic team.

"I think with the Olympics people will respect us more as top level athletes," Marks shared.

MAUI, UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 1: Caroline Marks of the United States is presented with a congratulatory momento for her provisional 2020 Olympic qualification at the 2019 Lululemon Maui Pro at Honolua Bay on December 1, 2019 in Maui, United States.  (Pho Caroline Marks poses with her family after provisionally qualifying for the Olympic Games. - WSL / Cait Miers

Regarding equality, Marks explains that "surfing has been such a male dominated sport, but in the last five years the gap between men and women has narrowed. The really cool thing about surfing is that we are the first to lead the way with equal pay."

For her part in the evolution, Marks was the first woman to win a competition with equal pay at the 2019 Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast.

"A huge goal of mine as a surfer, especially as a female surfer, is to really push the sport. To be the girl that pushed the progression of womens surfing," said Marks. "I want to be the next generation that is pushing the sport and leading the way, surfing bigger waves, getting barreled more, and doing airs."

And she has been doing just that. Marks is one of the women who has brought aerial maneuvers into competition, as well as showed no fear in waves of consequence. Earlier this year she took a trip to Tahiti and broke the Internet with a clip of her in the barrel at Teahupo'o.

Marks dreams big in and out of the water. In addition to goals of World Titles and Olympic Medals, she shares goals of "being on the cover of Vogue and taking Billie Eilish surfing."

These goals transcend the sport and are an exciting merger between surfing and mainstream media.

Check out the full edit on Sport Illustrated

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