The Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro World Surf League (WSL) specialty event crowned Team California the overall victors and Team Lakey for their individual efforts. Pristine, four-to-six foot swell delivered immaculate conditions for some of the world’s best women to showcase their talents with Lakey Peterson and hometown hero Caitlin Simmers leading the charge to the finish line – making her the youngest Super Girl in the event’s prolific history. Joining the list of victors, Alana Nichols and Faith Lennox claimed the iconic Super Girl cape in the adaptive surf competition, further inspiring young women everywhere to get in the water.
All the bragging rights for Team California and Team US came down to the final heat between Team Sage, featuring Championship Tour (CT) veteran Sage Erickson and notable Qualifying Series (QS) competitor Tia Blanco, facing off against Team Carissa which included four-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore and the event’s youngest surfer Vaihiti Inso, 13. Team Sage stood their ground after Team US claimed the two previous heat wins and clutch surfing from Blanco secured a victory despite Moore’s spectacular 9.63 (out of a possible 10) in the dying minutes to renew a fading hope.
“Oh my gosh, Tia (Blanco) did so amazing under pressure and did this huge turn so close to me and I was so happy she made it,” said Erickson. “Carissa (Moore) seemed to kind of struggle this event and we knew she’d want to get some big scores in that last heat. Unfortunately, I gave her that 9 because we had priority but it all worked out (laughs).”
“Nissan Super Girl Pro is always one of my favorite events, it’s all about women empowerment and it’s always a good time,” said Blanco. “It was a lot of work but I had such a blast today and just so blessed I got paired up with Sage (Erickson). She was so calm out in the heats and made sure I was confident the whole time and I loved competing with her the whole time. I think we’re all just so grateful that there has been this event and it’s been awesome to prepare for something.”
Team Lakey couldn’t be stopped on finals day with three big wins to help catapult Team California toward victory with the 14-year-old local competitor Simmers earning a flawless weekend of competition – not losing a single heat. The duo marched through Sunday’s pumping conditions, each dropping immaculate scores when they needed them most – Peterson a 9.00 in Round 2 alongside Simmers’ 8.00 in Round 1 and clutch 7.50 in Round 3. Notable victories included wins over Team Zoe, Team Tatiana, and the event-clinching heat over Team Caroline.
“Today was really fun with the waves getting way bigger and better with that hurricane swell so Caity (Simmers) just gave me some of that local knowledge and told me where to go,” said Peterson. “There was a ton of opportunity and I think that’s just good for competition when surfers can get a lot of waves but we just kept gaining momentum all day. The future is very bright for Caity if this is what she wants to do. I think she’s just a phenomenal surfer and everyone’s seen it around the world now.”
“I was pretty nervous being teamed up with Lakey (Peterson) because she’s really good and she’s a really cool person,” said Simmers. “It was great to see all the people here supporting me, I thought that was super nice to have that backing. It also made me a little nervous but I just went out and surfed my best. I’m stoked to be on the winning team and get my first Super Girl cape at home.”
Some of the day’s highlight performances included a battle royale between Team Courtney, spotlighting CT veteran and 2017 Super Girl Pro champion Courtney Conlogue and 2016 WSL North America QS Champion Meah Collins, overpowering Team Carissa in Round 2. But, stepping up in Round 3 when Team US seemed to be headed toward an early defeat, Team Tatiana, featuring 2015 Super Girl Pro winner Tatiana Weston-Webb and fellow Kauain Brianna Cope, and Team Zoe which had QS chargers Zoe McDougall and Gabriela Bryan which earned vital wins – helping push Team Tatiana into a third-place finish.
Alongside the world-class women in attendance competing for the Super Girl cape, some of the country’s top adaptive surfers took to the water for their own Super Girl capes with Faith Lennox and Alana Nichols taking out the wins in their respective heats per their adaptive disciplines. Nichols’ devastating snowboard accident at age 17 rendered her paralyzed from the waist down and the Reno, Nevada, competitor came back to help claim a 2008 Gold Medal in Paralympic Basketball and 2010 Paralympic Sportswoman of the Year. The three-time Gold Medalist led the way in her heat and emerged with a massive win to add to her already incredible resume.
“Surfing is my creative outlet,” said Nichols. “Every other sport I’ve done is so linear, it’s so competitive and just ‘start to finish.’ Surfing is so creative and it just makes me feel so free. I get to leave the wheelchair on the shore and it’s just truly freedom for me.”
Lennox took over her heat and continues to inspire women all over the world of what’s capable with compartment syndrome and that nothing can hold her down.
“It was so fun,” said Lennox. “The current was kind of strong and the waves were really pumping, but I loved surfing out there with all my friends and being here with the professional surfers. Watching them and being a part of Super Girl is just so cool.”
Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro will be broadcast on FOX Sports throughout the country from Nov. 20 through Jan. 31. Check for local listings in your area and also watch event replays at supergirlsurfpro.com and worldsurfleague.com. For more information, visit supergirlsurfpro.com.
Final Overall Leaderboard:
1 - Team California - 24 points
2 - Team US - 21 points
Final Team Leaderboard:
1. Team Lakey - 15 points
2. Team Tatiana - 10 points
3. Team Caroline - 9 points
4. Team Zoe - 6 points
5. Team Sage - 6 points
6. Team Courtney - 4 points
7. Team Alyssa - 3 points
8. Team Carissa - 1 points
Round 1 Results: (2 points for overall and individual team)
Heat 1: Team Lakey (California) 24.80 DEF. Team Zoe (US) 23.46
Heat 2: Team Courtney (California) 24.20 DEF. Team Caroline (US) 19.70
Heat 3: Team Tatiana (US) 21.19 DEF. Team Sage (California) 19.96
Heat 4: Team Alyssa (California) 24.19 DEF. Team Carissa (US) 21.17
Round 2 Results: (2 points for overall and individual team)
Heat 1: Team Sage (California) 25.10 DEF. Team Caroline (US) 20.33
Heat 2: Team Lakey (California) 27.80 DEF. Team Tatiana (USA) 24.30
Heat 3: Team Zoe (USA) 21.10 DEF. Team Alyssa (USA) 19.80
Heat 4: Team Courtney (California) 27.30 DEF. Team Carissa (US) 24.20
Round 3 Results: (4 points for overall and individual team)
Heat 1: Team Lakey (California) 25.30 DEF. Team Caroline (US) 18.70
Heat 2: Team Tatiana (US) 23.20 DEF. Team Alyssa (California) 17.60
Heat 3: Team Zoe (US) 23.43 DEF. Team Courtney (California) 20.13
Heat 4: Team Sage (California) 23.00 DEF. Team Carissa (US) 19.96