Day two of Paul Mitchell Neon Supergirl Pro bore witness to surprising upsets and stunning surf talent, as the competition got whittled down to the final 16 athletes.
Today, the battle to be queen of the waves continues with four rounds of surfing that will determine who will claim this year’s cape.
In the running are three-time World Surf League champ Carissa Moore, 2017’s Supergirl Pro victor Courtney Conlogue, the number-two ranked Lakey Peterson and 13 other spectacular female surfers.
The biggest turning point in yesterday’s competition came in the fourth round, when six-time league champion Stephanie Gilmore was eliminated. But Gilmore emerged from the water smiling and then stood on the sand signing autographs for fans, showing true Supergirl grace in defeat.
Tatiana Weston-Webb brought in Saturday’s top heat score, a 17.33 out of 20. The Brazilian-American 22-year-old, ranked third in the Championship Tour, is looking to win another Supergirl Pro cape.
In an interview with an event emcee, Weston-Webb encouraged young girls to follow their dreams. She said, “If you’re doing what you love, then that’s what’s right for you.”
Saturday’s sets of two-to-three foot waves required patience and good selection. After showing off tricks and speed on the initial part of the ride, most surfers had to repeatedly pump their boards during the latter half in order to generate enough momentum to showcase their talents.
Moore was able to do so, with a series of three cutbacks that ended one wave with a final flourish of speed and technique that earned her a single-wave score of 8 points. She took the top spot in her fourth-round heat with a 14.83 overall score and will be a formidable opponent today.
Other upsets included the round-three elimination of Sage Erickson, who lost valuable points for interference. Interference happens when a surfer who does not have priority for catching the next wave gets in the way of one who does.
Carlsbad junior pro Alyssa Spencer — who had received a contest wild card that gave her a priority spot with top-seeded surfers — lost her chance to continue by a mere 0.17 points.
Photographer Liza Sautter said the 15-year-old Spencer had an “epic session.” Sautter continued, “She was the first one to go after it really aggressively this morning.” Spencer’s maneuvers, in fact, took her right to the edge of the pier.
In addition to being the largest all-female surf competition in the world, Supergirl Pro provides a competitive space and message of empowerment for girls and women in other sports where they’re often underrepresented.
For instance, Saturday saw professional and amateur skateboarders put their rails to the grind during the “Curb Queens Skate Pro” street-style competition.
Blair Bowen of Exposure Skate said the “energy was high,” with everyone rooting each other on and giving high fives. Bowen said, “It doesn’t matter if you get first or last. It’s empowering to all.” Exposure Skate, a North County-based nonprofit, teaches girls and women how to skate while also giving back to the community through service.
Bowen said, “We’re teaching girls confidence. I wish I had something like this growing up.”
Eliana Sosco of Sao Paulo, Brazil, was crowned the Curb Queen. Coming in second was Nika Washington out of Phoenix, Arizona, with the third-spot honors going to California native Amanda Castillo.
Oceanside’s own DJ INSP!RE impressed the judges and crowds with her technical skills, winning the Sound Session Female DJ Competition.
In the gaming tent, the “Smash 4” tournament finished with a sibling rivalry, as Nadia Avila triumphed over her twin sister in the final.
Abby Sherlock, a UC San Diego student, hosted at the Gamer Pro tent and shared her thoughts on women’s roles in gaming. “It’s a time now when I can be myself.” Sherlock shared that she’d loved video games since she was a kid, but she hid that fact because she thought it would “freak people out.”
“It’s wild to me how rapidly we’re progressing as a gaming community for women. Gaming has become more diverse and inclusive overall.” She credits the game “Overwatch” with providing positive and varied representations of body type, orientation, gender, ethnicity and more.
Those types of representations, according to Sherlock, have had a freeing effect. “There’s no longer a stereotype of what a gamer is,” she said.
Sunday offers more free game play and tournaments in the Gamer Pro tent, while the Nissan Concert Series continues free of charge. Other festival highlights include a Female Empowerment Panel and Celebrity Surf Invitational. For more information on today’s lineup, check out http://supergirlpro.com/welcome-to-super-girl-jam/.