www.swell.com

2011 Supergirl Pro Junior Goes Down In Oceanside

Malia Manuel winds up

Last week I was privileged to witness some of the best up and coming talent on the female side of pro surfing as they competed in the Supergirl Pro Junior that took place in Oceanside, CA.  It’s not often that you get to watch top pros face off in your stomping grounds.  In my case it was a quick run up I-5 from Encinitas to Oceanside where I was able to hang out on the sand in the shadow of the pier with some friends and get a front row seat.

Headlining the athletes featured in this year’s contest were Malia Manuel and Lakey Peterson, Leila Hurst, Kaleigh Gilchrist, Haley Watson and Taylor Pitz, amongst others.  It was also nice to see fellow New Yorker Quincy Davis representing the North East.

The contest got started in 3-4 foot surf with occasional head high sets.  Initially mushy conditions gave way to punchier surf for the final, which ended up as a shootout between Lakey Peterson, Malia Manuel, Leila Hurst, and Nage Melamed.  Lakey came out on top in the end despite a great effort by Malia.

The final round results were:

1. Lakey Peterson 15.54 points

2. Malia Manuel 12.23 points

3. Leila Hurst 9.83 points

4. Nagé Melamed 6.96 points

Lakey Peterson

The contest was really fun to watch, and if you’ve got some groms and want to get them stoked on a surf contest, keep this one in mind next year.  Access is very easy, and as I said before, you can literally have a front row seat on the beach.

I got a chance to talk to two of the competitors, Taylor Pitz and Haley Watson, who were kind enough to do a couple of short interviews.

Haley Watson

Age: 19
Flagler Beach, FL

SH: What age did you start surfing?

Haley: I actually started surfing not that long ago, when I was 14 years old.  So about 5 years ago.

SH: What’s your home break?

Haley: I’m from Flagler Beach, Florida.  That’s central / northern Florida on the East Coast.  A little surf town.  So I surf at the pier up there.

SH: What surfers did you look up to when you started out?

Haley: My biggest inspiration, that I most look up to, is Freida Zamba.  She’s a great friend of our family, and just an amazing person.  [She's] so talented, such a good heart.  I’m fortunate to have her in my life as a mentor.

SH: If you could surf any wave 4-6 foot and perfect, where would you go and why?

Haley: Probably Trestles!  [laughs] It’s my favorite wave ever…being from Florida.  With nobody out of course.  Well, just my friends.  You can come too! [laughing]

SH: [laughing] Thanks! So what is your favorite thing about surfing?

Haley: My favorite thing would probably be this right here…the events, and all the girls that get together, and the friends I have because of surfing.  It’s not so much the sport, it’s just everything that comes along with it; the lifestyle, and all the incredible people that I never would have met if it wasn’t for surfing.

SH: Any funny moments or misadventures on your surfing travels?

Haley: This summer I surfed in an ESA contest, the Eastern Surfing Association, back at home, and I made it to the final of the open division, which is open shortboard.  It’s mostly boys, I was the only girl in it.  And the horn blew, and we were all running out for our heat, and I tripped over my leash and fell flat on my face.  [laughing] And all the boys just laughed at me!  It’s funny now, thank goodness.

SH: What advice would you give to groms that might want to surf competitively?

Haley: Don’t really focus so much on the competitive side; don’t stress it if you don’t have a coach.  Just do the best that you can, just keep surfing, and everything will work out.

SH: Thanks so much!  Any last words?

Haley: I couldn’t be here at the Supergirl Pro Junior this year without my sponsors; NVR swimwear, Cory Whitlock and the boys at Whitlock here in Carlsbad, …Lost, X-Trak, and the Surf Station.

~~~

Taylor Pitz

Age:19
Laguna Beach, CA

SH: What age did you start surfing?

Taylor: I started surfing when I was 10, and really started getting into it when I was 12.

SH: What’s your home break?

Taylor: My home break is Thalia St. in Laguna.

SH: When you started surfing did you have any surfers that you looked up to or tried to imitate?

Taylor: I’ve kind of always looked up to Carissa Moore, even though she’s about my age.  But she’s been ripping for so long, and I used to watch her videos when I was little.  So probably her…Stephanie Gilmore and all the girls…they all surf so good now.

SH: If you could surf any wave 4-6 ft and perfect, where would you go and why?

Taylor: If it was 4-6 foot and perfect…it doesn’t really matter where it is, because then it’s just perfect! [laughing]  But I guess probably somewhere like the Mentawais, it would be pretty cool and different.

SH: What’s your favorite wave to surf?

Taylor: Lowers.  Without the crowd though! That’s the key [laughing]

SH: What’s your favorite thing about surfing?

Taylor: My favorite thing is probably just being in the ocean; I love being in the water.  It’s so beautiful, especially in Laguna.  I love hanging out with all my friends, and it’s just so much fun.  Every single time it’s different.  My favorite thing to do.

SH: Have there been any misadventures or funny moments on your surfing travels?

Taylor: When we were in New Zealand two winters ago for the ISA World Junior Games with the USA team we were all trying to find our way to this parade of nations.  But it was on the other side of the island from where the actual contest was being held.  The driving there is crazy, since it’s on the other side of the road.  We were this big caravan of vans, and we were going the wrong way on freeway onramps, and just absolute chaos! [laughing].  At one point all the vans were  driving on the side of the road, on a grass field, trying to turn around.  People were honking…we didn’t think we’d make it there alive.  We hadn’t even started surfing yet and we were getting killed driving through New Zealand. [laughing]

SH: So did you make it there?

Taylor: We did!  We finally made it just in time.  The parade was just about to start and we’re running through the streets…me and Lakey and Courtney.  It was just really funny.

SH: What advice would you give to groms that might want to surf competitively?

Taylor: I would say just start small and always still have fun with it.  Contests are serious and you get really into it sometimes, and that’s good — that focus is good.  It helps you do well.  But always keep having fun, and love what you’re doing.  That’s the most important thing.

~~~~

Special thanks to Taylor and Haley for the interviews!

For more great stories and photos featuring some of the best female surfers on the planet, check out our friend JettyGirl.com

~~~~~

Filed Under: Profiles And Interviews

Tags: , , , ,

About the Author

Hayley is an avid surfer and the founder of this website. She splits her time surfing between Encinitas, CA and Montauk, NY.

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Becca says:

    I really like the interview with Hailey, it’s pretty inspirational to think that she got to be where she is at now and she hasn’t been surfing since infancy. I hope to have stronger surfing skills so I can share something so beautiful, I want to teach children who are from less fortunate situations how to surf. Also that is very cool that the founder of this blog is also a girl!!

    Please check out my blog iluvbecca.tumblr.com, I am currently entered in a Roxy contest to be a Roxy spokesperson, I really really want this, please click the link to vote for me (voting ends tomo night). http://promoshq.wildfireapp.com/website/6/contests/189641/voteable_entries/48295109