The youth of surfing is proving to be deadlier than ever. Case and point: 14-year-old Alyssa Spencer's recent run at the Australian Qualifying Series (QS) leg where she earned a QS 1,000 runner-up and two equal 9th-place finishes at the QS 6,000 events -- and now sits at No. 17 on the QS rankings.
"My goals for this year are to make World Juniors and just do a few QS events throughout the year to gain experience surfing against the older girls," Spencer said. "My main focus will be the Pro Juniors, but I would love to do well in a few QS events too."
Knowing the Carlsbad, California, native doesn't have her focus on the QS just yet makes her even more of a threat as she continues to enjoy every moment. But, it will be no easy task returning to her Junior Tour ranks this week against her fellow junior competitors -- of which she is reigning North America Regional Champion and back-to-back, defending event winner of the upcoming Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro March 8 through 11.
As Spencer heads into her third season as a Pro Junior, already garnering two World Junior Championship appearances, here's a few fun facts:
By The Numbers:
Spencer has six Finals appearances at the Pro Junior level (one in Australia which is out of region) in two seasons. She's also found her way into two Qualifying Series (QS) Finals along the way where she earned a third-place finish and runner-up finish.
Out of those eight Finals appearances, the Carlsbad, California, native has bagged two victories -- both in Cocoa Beach. But, has also earned runner-up five times.
However, one of her biggest accomplishments so far would be her claim of the North America Regional Junior Title in 2017. After holding the No. 1 spot all the way until the final event in 2016, only to have it snatched from her there, Spencer came back firing and won the title outright by a solid 520 points last season -- not losing the No. 1 position all season.
With those numbers in mind, that makes her the most successful Pro Junior to date in the North America region over phenom Caroline Marks (though Marks hasn't dedicated herself to a full Pro Junior year in the past). But, she has a formidable lineup of competitors hungry for their chance at nabbing their first Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro win along with a Regional Title that include last year's No. 2, 15-year-old Kirra Pinkerton, and No. 3, 14-year-old Samantha Sibley.
One thing is for certain. Spencer is on her way to a remarkable career in competitive surfing if that's the route she chooses and her resume speaks for itself.
Check for updates on Alyssa Spencer and the start of the 2018 North America Junior Tour season March 8 through 11 in Cocoa Beach, Florida.