OCEANSIDE, California/USA (Saturday, October 3, 2020) - The Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro World Surf League (WSL) specialty event fired into opening day action with compelling performances throughout the day from some of the world's best women. Caroline Marks (USA) and Caitlin Simmers (USA) emerged victorious for their respective teams after a crucial day of competition unfolded. Beautiful, clean conditions provided three-to-four foot canvases for Team California and Team US with Championship Tour (CT) competitors in attendance leading the charge alongside their Qualifying Series (QS) teammates.
The world's best women gave the audience tuning in a highlight reel of surfing in their debuts with the likes of Marks, Lakey Peterson (USA) and Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) leading the charge alongside QS talents Simmers and Zoe Benedetto (USA) making work of their competition en route to the Final. Team US heads into Sunday's action with a 9 to 5 lead over Team California as Team Lakey,Team Tatiana, and Team Caroline delivered brilliance from start to finish with Marks closing out the day with a win over Weston-Webb.
"It feels so good after I've gotten so close to winning here so many times so to come out on top feels really nice," said Marks. "I was definitely getting frustrated with myself after Tatiana (Weston-Webb) started off really nice and then I took off a close out which wasn't ideal - I swear I had wave repellent on me (laughs). But, I knew it could turn around any moment - especially being a beach break and those waves finally came to me so I just took out my anger on the wave.
Weston-Webb and her teammate Brianna Cope (HAW) make their way into Sunday's action third on the team leaderboard after helping deliver 4 total points toward Team US.
"I was super excited to get back in the jersey even though it was a little nerve racking and Courtney (Conlogue) just rips so I tried to not make any mistakes," said Weston-Webb. "I just love being in the jersey and thank God we're able to get in one here and just so thankful for all the effort going into this event from everyone involved to get some heats under our belt."
Hometown hero Simmers' massive Semifinal win over Cope helped bring Team California back within 1 point between the teams heading into the remaining heats and the 14-year-old carried that momentum into a jaw-dropping Finals' performance over Benedetto. Simmers and Peterson proved that they are a force to be reckoned, earning 4 points, with with their signature power and flair ahead of Sunday's big finish.
"I'm really happy with my performance and felt like I just got the right waves," said Simmers. "It's supposed to be a little bigger tomorrow so hopefully it's still really peaky and fun so I can get a couple good ones. There were a few little barrels out there so maybe try to get a few of those which would be great to get in a heat (laughs).
"It's pretty fun to have the teams going and hopefully we can take the win," said Peterson. "The offseason for me was pretty tough. It's tough to replicate the competition pressure and it's just different when you put the jersey on and it counts toward something. There's just a different kind of pressure no matter how many mock heats I would do with Caroline (Marks) so it's nice to get back in the groove."
Team California started strong with two early heat wins but Team US was quick to respond to tie it up and take the lead back with four-straight heat wins in commanding fashion. Upsets were apparent and consistent beginning in the first CT heat with Team California's Alyssa Spencer (USA) eliminating four-time WSL Champion and 2018 Super Girl Surf Pro winner Carissa Moore (HAW). But Team US answered back and didn't let up, culminating with the youngest competitor Vahiti Inso (HAW), 13, dismantling defending event winner Sibley.
One of the CT's most exciting surfers Caroline Marks (USA) picked up right where she left off in 2019 with a dominant opening performance over CT veteran Sage Erickson (USA) after posting the day's first excellent score, an 8.50 (out of a possible 10) in their Quarterfinal bout. Marks' brilliant form kicked off a run of Team US victories with Cope, Benedetto and Weston-Webb all winning their opening heats. That momentum wasn't to be stopped earning three of the last four points up for grabs to conclude opening day.
- Team US - 9 points
- Team California - 9 points
Leaderboard Top 3 Teams:
- Team Caroline - 9 points
- Team Lakey - 7 points
- Team Tatiana - 4 points
CT Final Results:
- 1 - Caroline Marks (USA) 14.17
- 2 - Tatiana Weston-Webb (USA) 12.17
QS Final Results:
- 1 - Caitlin Simmers (USA) 14.77
- 2 - Zoe Benedetto (USA) 7.83
CT Semifinal Results:
- SF 1: Caroline Marks (USA) 14.33 DEF. Alyssa Spencer (USA) 9.87
- SF 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 13.23 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.60
QS Semifinal Results:
- SF 1: Caitlin Simmers (USA) 11.40 DEF. Brianna Cope (HAW) 8.87
- SF 2: Zoe Benedetto (USA) 12.67 DEF. Vahiti Inso (HAW) 9.23
CT Quarterfinal Results:
- QF 1: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 13.26 DEF. Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.53
- QF 2: Caroline Marks (USA) 15.50 DEF. Sage Erickson (USA) 11.30
- QF 3: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 13.54 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.93
- QF 4: Lakey Peterson (USA) 11.60 DEF. Zoe McDougall (HAW) 9.87
QS Quarterfinal Results:
- QF 1: Caitlin Simmers (USA) 14.27 DEF. Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 10.53
- QF 2: Brianna Cope (HAW) 10.07 DEF. Meah Collins (USA) 7.50
- QF 3: Zoe Benedetto (USA) 10.87 DEF. Tia Blanco (USA) 10.00
- QF 4: Vahiti Inso (HAW) 10.97 DEF. Samantha Sibley (USA) 8.90