OCEANSIDE, Calif./USA (Sunday, September 18, 2022) – Today, Sawyer Lindblad (USA) claimed a massive win at the World Surf League (WSL) Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro powered by Celsius, a North America and Hawaii/Tahiti Nui QS 3000-event, over Championship Tour (CT) competitor Caroline Marks (USA) in a stout Final to close competition.
Lindblad led the charge on Finals Day in two-to-three, occasional plus, foot swell on her way to an impeccable, maiden Super Girl victory - becoming the youngest to win.
Sawyer Lindblad (USA) claimed her first-ever Super Girl cape in history-making fashion. Credit: © WSL / Steinmetz
The highly-anticipated Final between current North America No. 1 Lindblad and defending Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro victor Marks gave way to a closing spectacle. The contender in Lindblad was not to be outdone by the firepower of Marks and earned a 14.33 (out of a possible 20) heat total by the 20-minute mark on her dynamic forehand attack. Marks, in a combination situation and needing two scoring rides to catch Lindblad, answered back with a 7.17. But, Marks’ final opportunity in the dying minutes only provided one outside, major maneuver and fell short of reclaiming her place atop the podium and Lindblad earned her first-ever Super Girl cape. (Full interview in newsfeed) “It feels so good to finally win again,” said Lindblad. “I've gotten so many second-place finishes recently and I felt like I knew in that Final that it was just my time. That was the time I was going to win and I'm so grateful for those waves coming in.” A remarkable season for Lindblad continues with her fourth-straight Finals appearance, now accruing two wins in the process, and keeps her reign over the North America’s ratings. San Clemente, California’s own battled her way to the podium with heavy-hitting affairs throughout Finals Day including Santa Cruz, California’s Autumn Hays, 2022 CT rookie Luana Silva (BRA), and mounted a heroic comeback against an in-form Bella Kenworthy (USA). “I knew (Caroline Marks) would come back and that the combo wouldn't last very long, she's such a great surfer and she's always inspired me so that was special,” said Lindblad. “This brings my confidence up and I'm really looking forward to Portugal and the rest of the (Challenger Series) events.” The 17-year-old looks to take this momentum back to the Challenger Series, where she nearly qualified in 2021, at the EDP Vissa Pro Ericeira beginning October 1 - 9 in hopes of joining the world’s best by season’s end.
Caroline Marks' (USA) incredible forehand earned her the highest single-wave score on finals day. Credit: © WSL / Steinmetz
A clash of Super Girls unraveled in the Semifinals between eventual runner-up Marks and Spencer, a rematch of the 2021 Semifinals at this very beach, as well as a chance at redemption for Marks after Spencer bested her at the Jacksonville Super Girl Final in 2021, and two of North America’s best didn’t disappoint. Marks took control right away before Spencer’s 6.33 response, but Marks then unleashed an excellent 8.17 and near-perfect 9.00 to all but shut the door on Spencer’s flawless run over the last year of QS regional events. But, Marks' wonderous run fell just short taking back the Super Girl cape.
“That was an awesome Finals Day with the waves getting a bit better thankfully,” said Marks. “It’s a bummer the waves in the Final got a little slow and I basically had a five-minute heat, but a great job to Sawyer (Lindblad). This event is amazing, there’s more and more girls every year. It’s really cool to be a part of helping inspire this next generation and they inspire me just as much.”
Marks’ road to the Final included Tahiti’s newest emerging threat in Kohai Fierro before a battle with event standout, Barbados’ former CT competitor, Chelsea Tuach in comeback fashion to turn the heat with under a minute remaining.
Notable Performances From Spencer, Kenworthy Claim Semifinal Finishes
2021 Jacksonville Super Girl Surf Pro victor Alyssa Spencer (USA) made a surge on Finals Day with standout performances. Credit: © WSL / Steinmetz Spencer’s incredible run through the last year of North America QS events goes unrivaled, not dropping a single heat in nearly a calendar year, until facing eventual winner Marks once more. The 19-year-old’s Finals Day began with a Round of 16 battle against newcomer Kylie Pulcini (USA) before renewing her friendly rivalry with Costa Rica’s Leilani McGonagle (CRI) in a stout Quarterfinal match between the goofyfooters, but now her sights return to the all-important Challenger Series (CS) for a chance at qualifying for the CT.
Bella Kenworthy (USA) continues to impress and looks to become a reoccurring threat at QS events. Credit: © WSL / Steinmetz
Kenworthy notched a third-career Semifinal appearance after overcoming North America’s top-tier talent Zoe Benedetto (USA) in their Quarterfinal bout after besting Japan’s Anon Matsuoka in the Round of 16. But, the 16-year-old fell just shy of a Final appearance at the hands of Lindblad.
The San Clemente, California competitor looks to keep her season going in the right direction beginning November 11 - 13 at the Air Force Super Girl Surf Pro in Jacksonville, Florida.
Longboard finalists Honolua Blomfield (HAW), Rachael Tilly (USA), Sally Cohen (HAW), and Sophia Culhane (HAW) earned their way atop the podium through a stacked day of competition. Credit: © WSL / Steinmetz
Also, Rachael Tilly (USA) took an impressive win on the northside of Oceanside Pier to earn herself a respective cape. The longboard event is becoming a staple of the Super Girl series and will continue to help spread the message of female empowerment even further. The former WSL Longboard Champion overcame a stacked field including three-time WSL Longboard Champion Honolua Blomfield (HAW), Sophia Culhane (HAW), and Sally Cohen (HAW).
"It's so good to get a win out here alongside these incredible women," said Tilly. "The vibe of this event is so great and to see all the young women out here help encourage us even more. We just want to keep inspiring them for years to come and hopefully see them up here one day."
The event will be televised throughout November and December on Bally Sports.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.
Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro Final Results:
1 - Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 14.33 1,000 points
2 - Caroline Marks (USA) 13.94 800 points
Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro Semifinal Results:
Heat 1: Caroline Marks (USA) 17.17 DEF. Alyssa Spencer (USA) 12.33
Heat 2: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 11.13 DEF. Bella Kenworthy (USA) 10.10
Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro Quarterfinal Results:
Heat 1: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 14.50 DEF. Leilani McGonagle (CRI) 10.23
Heat 2: Caroline Marks (USA) 12.90 DEF. Chelsea Tuach (BRB) 11.66
Heat 3: Bella Kenworthy (USA) 12.50 DEF. Zoe Benedetto (USA) 7.34
Heat 4: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 13.84 DEF. Luana Silva (BRA) 11.70
Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro Round of 16 Results:
Heat 1: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 11.17 DEF. Kylie Pulcini (USA) 7.33
Heat 2: Leilani McGonagle (CRI) 11.60 DEF. Moana Jones Wong (HAW) 11.03
Heat 3: Chelsea Tuach (BRB) 14.33 DEF. Tia Blanco (USA) 7.40
Heat 4: Caroline Marks (USA) 14.26 DEF. Kohia Fierro (PYF) 5.26
Heat 5: Zoe Benedetto (USA) 10.97 DEF. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 10.06
Heat 6: Bella Kenworthy (USA) 13.50 DEF. Anon Matsuoka (JPN) 10.90
Heat 7: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 14.33 DEF. Autumn Hays (USA) 8.33
Heat 8: Luana Silva (BRA) 11.03 DEF. Sage Erickson (USA) 7.77