Top Seeds Dismantle Debuts, Finals Day Awaits at Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro powered by Celsius
OCEANSIDE, Calif./USA (Saturday, September 17, 2022) – A hefty moving day unfolded at the World Surf League (WSL) Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro powered by Celsius, a North America and Hawaii/Tahiti Nui QS 3000-event, with top seeds making their debuts alongside Round of 96 standouts in two-to-three foot swell. Familiar faces, former Super Girl victors, and hungry competitors rose to the top in clash of North America and Hawaii/Tahiti Nui talents. Now only 16 remain after finishing Round of 64 and 32 bouts to vie for the 2022 Super Girl cape.
North America rankings leaders debuted in jaw-dropping form with current No. 1 Sawyer Lindblad (USA) earning a near-perfect 9.00 (out of a possible 10) and 15.50 (out of a possible 20) heat total - both an event-best so far. The San Clemente, California competitor looks to stay atop the rankings and now has a hefty Finals Day ahead of her, but Linblad’s proven she’s up for the challenger.
Current North America No. 1 Sawyer Lindblad (USA) stamped her authority in her debut and backed it up for a Finals Day appearance. Credit: © WSL / Steinmetz “It felt really good to get a nine in that first heat,” said Lindblad. “It gave me some confidence for the next rounds. I was really happy when I first got down here, the waves looked really fun but the afternoon was super tough so I’m stoked to make it to Finals Day.” Lindblad’s No. 1 Hawaii/Tahiti Nui counterpart, Moana Jones Wong (HAW), also earned two heat wins en route to her Finals Day appearance.
This event is a massive opportunity for the competitors of Hawaii/Tahiti Nui and they aren’t letting it go to waste with the likes of 2022 Championship Tour (CT) rookie Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) decimating her return to California. The 17-year-old overpowered her Round of 64 and 32 heats, posting above a 14-point heat total (out of a possible 20) in both of her performances. “This event is super important for our Hawaii region because we don’t get as many opportunities as the North America side,” said Sakura Johnson. “We’re really fortunate and I think we’re all super hungry, and to progress to from the QS to the Challenger to the CT. To have younger girls look up to you as an inspiration is really cool and we all just want what’s best for the next generation.” Fellow former 2022 CT rookie Luana Silva (BRA) stole the show in the final heat of the day alongside Santa Cruz’s Autumn Hays for their spots into the Round of 16.
Pictured: Defending victor Caroline Marks (USA) kicked off her repeat campaign with two heat wins. Credit: © WSL / Nichols But, Lindblad and Sakura Johnson have an unstoppable North America No. 2 Alyssa Spencer (USA) right on her heels after taking down both her Round of 64 and 32 heats, respectively. The 19-year-old hasn’t lost a heat on the regional QS dating back to this event in 2021 when eventual winner Caroline Marks (USA) bested her in their Semifinal clash. A battle of former event victors unfolded with Marks and 2019 winner Samantha Sibley (USA) taking on Ultimate Surfer winner Tia Blanco (USA) and event standout Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW). Afternoon conditions proved challenging but the Championship Tour (CT) elite in Marks rose to the occasion and earned her second win of the day. “The Super Girl is always so much fun and I really enjoy surfing Oceanside,” said Marks. “It always has good vibes, the water’s warm, so I’m stoked to be back. Before I won last year I got third a few times and second, and I really wanted to win this event so I was stoked to do it last year.”
Also making big noise on their way to Finals Day, 14-year-old Kylie Pulcini (USA) earned her spot in clutch fashion alongside Barbados’ former CT surfer Chelsea Tuach, two-time Super Girl victor Sage Erickson (USA), Costa Rica’s Leilani McGonagle (CRI), North America No. 3 Zoe Benedetto (USA), Tahitian teenager Kohai Fierro, and more.
A 7:30 a.m. PDT call will determine a likely 8:00 a.m. PDT start for Finals Day action.
The Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro powered by Celsius QS 3000 will run September 16 - 18 at Oceanside, California.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.