OCEANSIDE — The 14th annual Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro has wrapped up another weekend championing women’s empowerment with three full days of action-sports competitions, concerts, fitness classes, discussion panels and more at the Oceanside Pier.
Nearly 90 of the world’s top-performing women surfers competed in Supergirl, the world’s largest all-female surfing event and the only World Surf League WQS 5000 women’s event in the United States.
During the competition, surfers can earn points to help them qualify for the Women’s Championship Tour in 2022.
Professional surfer Caroline Marks came out on top as this year’s Super Girl surf champion, finishing with 14.83 points. At 19, Marks is already a multinational surf champion who recently competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as part of the first USA Olympic surf team. Marks was the youngest girl to compete in a World Surf League event and the youngest surfer to qualify for the Women’s Championship Tour.
Fellow Olympic team member and gold medalist Carissa Moore was also expected to compete over the weekend but opted out just before the competition. Instead, Moore focused her attention on a group of young female surfers as part of her Moore Aloha mentorship program on Friday during the festival.
The Moore Aloha Foundation was founded in 2018 with the goal of using surfing as a means to bring young women together around the water to encourage and empower each other. Bringing her foundation’s message to Super Girl, Moore gathered a group of young girls to spend a day with her at Super Girl in the water.
Oceanside local Caitlin Simmers, a 15-year-old up-and-coming surfer and last year’s Supergirl champion, finished in second place with 14.27 points. Simmers previously told The Coast News that she was excited to compete in the event that she had been attending and watching for nearly half her life.
“I was definitely bummed I got second but it was sick to watch Caroline make an air in the final,” Simmers said after the competition ended. “It’s cool to see women’s surfing move in that direction.”
Despite being disappointed, Simmers still enjoyed spending time with her family and friends before and after each heat over the weekend.
“I definitely plan on doing this event for many years to come, and I definitely want to get first place next year,” she said.
Besides the surf competition, the Super Girl Pro Series is the only large-scale all-female action sports and esports competition in the world. The Super Girl Pro series includes two of the largest surf contests in the world, one here in Oceanside and the other in Jacksonville, Florida; a major women’s skateboarding event; the only female esports tournament in the U.S., and the world’s only all-female snowboarding competition in Big Bear.
The surf festival village, which was free to the public, offered various opportunities ranging from DJ competitions to live concerts to free yoga and other fitness classes to panels on sustainability, diversity and women empowerment.
One of the live concerts featured Sofia Carson, a singer-songwriter who starred as Evie in the Disney television film “Descendants.” After her performance on Saturday, Carson filmed a scene along with audience participation for her role in the upcoming Netflix film “Purple Hearts.”
Also included in the festival village was a tent set up with tables lined with high-tech computer monitors and equipment for attendees to test their abilities at gaming.
The tent also featured Super Girl Gamer Pro, another competition series hosted by Lenovo and featuring championship matches for the Super Girl Gamer Summer Series with gameplay in Valorant!, Hearthstone and League of Legends.
Lisa Marie Ferrell, head of public relations and communications at Lenovo, was one of several guest speakers during a discussion panel on women’s empowerment. Ferrell was joined by Dr. Jen Welter, the first female coach in NFL history; Major Lauren Olme, a B-1 pilot who served more than 200 hours of combat in the US Air Force, and Allyson Witherspoon, chief marketing officer of Nissan USA.
Ferrell was impressed by her panelist colleagues as they shared their experiences as successful women in mostly male-dominated career paths.
The panel went hand-in-hand with the overall mission of the Super Girl Pro Series, which was created to empower young women to pursue paths in spaces where they are traditionally underrepresented.
“If I could inspire one young woman, that would be amazing,” Ferrell said during her time as a panelist.
Ferrell also noted how Lenovo is championing women through its all-female game tournaments as well as through its own employee benefits.
Longboard and Adaptive Surfing
Two additional competitions in adaptive and longboard surfing were featured in this year’s Super Girl Surf Pro.
According to Gretchen Harris, captain of the Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club, Super Girl got its start in Oceanside by sharing time and space with the club during its annual longboard competition.
“Longboard surfing has a long history in Oceanside,” Harris said.
Earlier this year, CEO Rick Bratman of ASA Entertainment, the company that owns Super Girl, reached out to Harris and the longboard club about holding their own competition during Super Girl Surf Pro on the north side of the pier for the first time in the event’s history.
The adaptive surfing competition, which was also a first, was also held on the north side of the pier Saturday while the longboard competition took place Sunday.
Nevada resident Alana Nichols, adaptive surfer and 2010 Paralympic Sportswoman of the Year, won the adaptive surfing’s prone division, and Faith Lennox took first place in the stand division.
For the longboard competition, 16 women aged 12 to 39 competed for the title.
As longboard surfing grows in popularity once again, Harris is seeing a growing number of women of all ages stepping up to the board and heading out into the water.
Over the last two decades of her being team captain of the club, Harris has seen the club transform from a former predominantly men’s club to a club for all ages, gender and the whole family.
“It’s no longer just a bunch of dudes getting together to drink beer and surf,” she said.
Kirra Seale, of Oahu, Hawaii, won the longboard competition. Seale is ranked in 9th place by the WSL and previously won first place in the Oceanside Longboard Coalition.
To view a full list of results from this year’s Super Girl Surf Pro, visit www.supergirlsurfpro.com.