The East Coast provides a plethora of surfing talent and has done so for decades. Northeast Florida put its stake amongst surfing history throughout that time as it helped produce talents from Jacksonville Beach's own WSL Longboard Champion Justin Quintal to former Championship Tour (CT) competitor Karina Petroni, who learned to surf and spent her childhood in Atlantic Beach, and so many more. The Jacksonville Super Girl Surf Pro notes the first-ever WSL women's event and first of its magnitude, a QS 3,000, since 1984.
Modern-day talents such as the city's own Kayla Durden, the Thompson brothers (Evan, Cody, and Tristan), Austin Clouse, and more continue to add to Jacksonville Beach's legacy each year while paying homage to a rich history of those who pave the way.
"Karina Petroni and Molli Miller were my biggest hero's growing up," expressed Durden. "Seeing Karina on Tour and then Molli Miller on MTV's Surfer Girls I knew that's what I wanted to be and do. Pretty crazy to think I've followed in both of their footsteps in not only the surfing but also the reality TV side."
Petroni, born-and-raised near the Panama Canal, moved to Atlantic Beach just miles from the Jacksonville Beach Pier at age 6 and quickly became enveloped with surfing by age 12 when she started her career. The 33-year-old spent a year among the world's best along with competing on the Qualifying Series (QS) for over a decade and is only one of four East Coast women, including 4X WSL Champion Lisa Anderson, 4X WSL Champion Frieda Zamba and 2021 World No. 6 Caroline Marks, to make it to the elite level.
The local Wavemasters Pro/AM event notched its 38th year of competition earlier in 2021 and continues to be a staple event organized by one of Jacksonville Beach's legends, Mitch Kaufmann. Petroni's fellow Atlantic Beach locals such as Sophie Falzone and Molly Kirk have competed in the event, among more, since they began their careers as they now hope to bring their best against some heavy talent this weekend. For Falzone, this marks her first WSL event since the 2019 Florida Pro.
"Growing up, I was always inspired by the pros, especially the women who made it to that level from Florida," said Falzone. "It always motivated me to think that if they could do it, I could do it too. I also was inspired by the girls I would compete against because we always pushed each other to be better. Some of my toughest competitors in the water are my best friends out of the water and they continue to inspire me too."
Be sure to watch history unfold at the Jacksonville Super Girl Surf Pro QS 3,000 LIVE beginning November 13 and 14 as competitions gets underway Friday, November 12.