The Coast News Group
Junior Pro Surfer Alyssa Spencer rides a wave during the 2017 Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro surf competition in Oceanside. Spencer returns to compete in this year’s contest. Photo by Steinmetz for ASA Entertainment

Junior pro surfer Alyssa Spencer shreds it up in local, international waters

CARLSBAD — Fifteen-year-old Carlsbad native Alyssa Spencer is a force to be reckoned with on a surfboard. She has won U.S. Championships in the girls under-12 and under-14 divisions. Last year, Alyssa won the gold at the Vissla ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Japan in the girls under-16 bracket, where her Team USA also took the top honors.

From July 27 to July 29, this junior pro will continue competing with the best female surfers in the world at the Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro event in Oceanside.

Alyssa has participated in Supergirl Pro — which is the largest female surf contest in existence with more than 100 female pros expected to contend — since she was 12 years old.

Junior Pro Surfer Alyssa Spencer. Photo by Shana Thompson

With many surf contests under her belt in places like Australia and South Africa, Alyssa said what makes this local event special is that “it’s so close to home, and my family can watch me compete.” She elaborated, “It’s also about empowering women and is cool to have an event that’s just focused on girls.” Most surf competitions have men’s and women’s divisions, but the Supergirl Pro is exclusively for women.

In keeping with the spirit of the contest’s theme of women’s empowerment, Alyssa leads by example. She said, “It’s really cool to be a surfer, and girls can be just as good as guys!” Alyssa noted that in the last few years she’s seen more and more girls and women in the water — a trend that she’s happy to see and encourages.  

When asked what she likes most about the sensation of surfing, Alyssa said, “You feel so free in the water, and there’s nothing you have to worry about. Each wave is like an empty canvas that you can paint however way you want.”

Despite her relaxed, quick-to-laugh manner, Alyssa is a fierce competitor. She shared that she loves the thrill of competition and revels in the feeling of winning.

Her ultimate surfing ambition is to make the Women’s Championship Tour, an honor reserved for the top 17 female surfers in the world. 

“I’m still only 15, so I’ll probably wait until the next year or the year after that to really push toward that goal,” Alyssa said.

Alyssa typically surfs every day — and often goes out for multiple sessions. She frequently surfs in Oceanside and at Ponto Beach in Carlsbad near her family’s home.

While she said that the best strategy for becoming a better surfer is to practice in the water, she also trains on land three to four days a week with her trainer at Resilient Strength and Conditioning in Carlsbad. Her exercises include sprints, stationary biking and weight lifting.

Part of her regimen consists of daily stretches and eating healthy foods. One of Alyssa’s favorite local dining spots for lunch and dinner is Fish 101 in Leucadia, which is also one of her sponsors.

Her main sponsor is Rip Curl, but she’s also sponsored by Skull Candy, Dakine, Hansen Surfboards in Encinitas, Fish 101 and Vertra.

Due to her surfing schedule and international competitions, Alyssa is home-schooled. While she misses the social aspects of attending a regular school with peers, she said, “Being on the road and meeting people and seeing incredible places makes it all worth it.”

One of her favorite places so far is Bells Beach in Australia, which she dubbed “an iconic surf spot.” She added, “The waves there are so fun, and the area is beautiful.”

Alyssa said that God plays “a big part in my life and in supporting me.” When asked whether she prays before contests, she said she often does — and then laughed, noting that she sometimes asks for good waves.