Currently sitting sixth on the WSL Leaderboard and fresh off a historic Olympic performance, Caroline Marks may be the biggest threat on the Championship Tour right now.

With only two regular season events left to solidify her spot in the WSL Final 5 -- and a mere 730 points off that critical fifth spot -- Marks is uniquely qualified to fly up the ratings and get herself in a position to contend for a World Title at the Rip Curl WSL Finals this September.

Next week the Corona Open Mexico presented by Quiksilver gets underway at Barra De La Cruz, and while the sand-bottom, right-hand point is undoubtedly a regular-footer's paradise, the depth and power of Marks' backhand has the potential to take her far in the draw.

Look no further than her break-out season in 2019 where she surfed her way to third-place finishes at Bells Beach, Margaret River, the Surf Ranch and J-Bay -- all notorious rights on the Championship Tour schedule.

Caroline Marks: "She's Maybe The Best Backside Surfer We've Ever Seen"
With a ferocious lip attack, a powerful rail game, and decisive barrel-ridding ability, Caroline Marks will be a dreaded heat draw in Mexico. 

The youngest surfer on Tour, her ability to drive hard off the bottom and straight up into the lip is a point of difference between her and the field. Plainly put, if she can link a few of her powerful top-to-bottom combos together, the judges are going to reward her for the effort.

And less than a week after the waiting period for the Mexico comp ends, the CT heads to Tahiti for the Outerknown Tahiti Pro, the last stop of the regular season.

Celebrating the return of the women to the End of the Road, Teahupoo, after a nearly two-decade hiatus Marks is one of the few females on Tour who has experience surfing the infamous reef break.

She made her first trip to the South Pacific to celebrate her 18th birthday back in 2020, and with coach Mike Parsons lending support in the channel, she looked right at home. On her frontside at Teahupoo, if it's pristine four-to-six-foot west bowls when the contest runs, the speed, drive and experience of Marks could carry her to a win.

LEMOORE, CA, UNITED STATES - JUNE 19: Caroline Marks of the United States surfing in Heat 3 of the Qualifying Round of the Surf Ranch Pro presented by Adobe on JUNE 19, 2021 in Lemoore, CA, United States. (Photo by Pat Nolan/World Surf League) Perfect backhand surfing on a perfect right, Marks going vertical at the Jeep Surf Ranch Pro. - WSL / Pat Nolan

World number one Carissa Moore and number four Tatiana Weston-Webb have also logged some time at Chopes, and rookie Isabella Nichols just made a sneaky strike mission down there, where she stayed with the family of local charger Kauli Vaast.

Overall, Marks has had a bit of an up-and-down season, but when she's found her rhythm she's proved near impossible to beat. Marks bagged a win in Narrabeen and a third in Newcastle, her best finishes of the extended Australian leg, and she's coming off a fifth-place at the Surf Ranch. She went into surfing's Olympic debut with a head full of confidence, and came away one spot from medalling, after falling to Japan's Amuro Tsuzuki in the Bronze Medal round.

The surfing Marks was doing in 2019 was even more on point. She started the year off strong, beating Moore in the the Final of the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast and taking the Yellow Leader Jersey from then reigning World Champ Stephanie Gilmore in the process. Marks also had a huge run between J-Bay and Portugal, where she made Semis or better in four consecutive events.

ROTTNEST ISLAND, AUS - MAY 17: Caroline Marks during Round 2 of the Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona on MAY 17, 2021 in Rottnest Island, WA, Australia.(Photo by Matt Dunbar/World Surf League via Getty Images) Nineteen years young and at the top of her game, Caroline Marks has plenty to smile about these days. - WSL / Matt Dunbar

Going into the final event of 2019 at Honolua Bay, Marks had put all the pieces together. She made it to the Quarters before going down to eventual winner Gilmore. Ultimately, she finished the year ranked second in the world and qualified for the Olympics, joining Moore, who beat her as a grom at Lower Trestles back in 2015, on the U.S. national team.

Considered one of the most powerful goofy-footers on Tour, Marks' surfing has drawn a lot of comparisons to Australia's Mark Occhilupo. She has a compact center of gravity and an intense backhand, under-the-hood hack, which sets her apart from the other women on Tour. And let's not discount her ability to charge when the surf is pumping. She's not afraid to go.

Growing up in Florida, Marks has relocated to San Clemente, California, where she lives an e-bike ride away from Lowers -- giving her a little added motivation to make the Rip Curl WSL Finals.

It's a two-event sprint to the end of the CT season, and for Marks, if she can put up a couple big results, she'll find herself in a strong position to contend for the first World Title of her already accomplished career.

The Corona Open Mexico presented by Quiksilver kicks off on August 10, 2021, don't miss a minute of the action.

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