OCEANSIDE – The World Surf League (WSL) Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro Powered by CELSIUS, a North America and Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000, blitzed through opening day affairs in two-to-three-foot, clean conditions. Round of 104 and 96 battles unfolded with proven QS competitors clashing with emerging talents to decide who entered the top-seeded Round of 64.
Eden Walla (USA) put on a decimating performance, earning an excellent 16.16 (out of a possible 20) in her Round of 96 debut. The 14-year-old’s form was undeniable, earning a stunning 8.33 (out of a possible 10), and left her fellow competitors needing near-perfection to even come close to catching her lead. Walla made her QS debut last season in Morro Bay and looks to build her young career.
“It was super fun out there,” said Walla. “There were a lot more waves than I thought there was going to be. It’s super special to be surfing against some of the best surfers I know.”
Costa Rica’s rising talent Rubiana Brownell upped the ante with a powerful performance, unleashing an excellent 8.50, the day’s best single-wave score. Brownell has her eyes set on Challenger Series qualification for 2024 and looks to capitalize on the QS 3,000 events in North America.
“I was really lucky that right when the heat started,” said Brownell. “I was able to separate myself from everybody and it just came right to me, and it was just a really perfect wave, and I was able to get a two-hit combo. This is one of my most important events all year, so I’m really happy to start it off good.”
Current Hawaii/Tahiti Nui No. 1 Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) took full advantage of a bump in wave conditions, smashing her backside to earn a 7.50 and 7.00 to nearly put the field in a combination situation the field. Tomoda-Bannert knows the importance of these higher-rated events and is eying a big result in Oceanside this weekend.
“The first heat is always like I’m so nervous, so I’m so stoked to get a couple of good ones. The waves turned on, so I’m super excited to move onto the next round,” Tomoda-Bannert said. “It’s pretty important since we don’t have QS 3,000s in Hawaii, so to have these 3,000s on offer is huge. I’m just wanting to have fun here and see where it goes.”
Growing up just outside the Oceanside Pier arena, Carlsbad, California’s Reid Van Wagoner rose to the challenge of a hard-earned, Round of 96 victory. Van Wagoner capitalized on the opportunity to break away from her fellow competitors with 10 minutes remaining and found running lefts to utilize her forehand attack. Now, Van Wagoner prepares for the top-seeded Round of 64.
“It was super fun out there, and I’m super stoked,” said Van Wagoner. “Last year was my first Super Girl event, but I’ve been coming to this event since I was three years old. It’s a dream come true to be competing in this event, and I’m looking forward to the next heat.”
This year’s field of young women surfers is the youngest in the event’s history with girls as young as 11-years-old in WSL jerseys charging Oceanside Pier waves. WSL Coordinator of Tours and Competitions Kayla Durden helped coordinate this year’s WSL Rising Tides, which is designed to inspire more young girls to enter the line ups.
“The new generation of women surfers is here,” said Durden. “The younger girls on the Qualifying Series are pushing surfing to higher and higher levels and not backing down from some of the more veteran competitors.”
Also earning clutch Round of 96 victories, Alana Lopez (USA), Mia McLeish (USA), Mathea Dempfle-Olin (CAN), Lily Pierce (USA), Audrey Denos (USA), Olivia Storrer (USA), Candelaria Resano (NIC), Tiare Thompson (USA), Bailey Turner (USA), Vaihitimahana Inso (HAW), Zoe Chait (USA), and Avery McDonald (USA) all move into the Round of 64 and await clashes with some of the region’s best in the Round of 64.
Event organizers will reconvene at 7:30 a.m. PDT for an 8:00 a.m. PDT start to competition.
For more information on the event, visit www.SuperGirlSurfPro.com.