The sands of Jacksonville Beach were covered by the feet of young women watching some of their idols compete at the Jacksonville Super Girl Surf Pro all weekend, something Alyssa Spencer did at the age of nine. Now, Spencer has a Super Girl Surf Pro title to her name after a remarkable performance on finals day to overcome Caroline Marks in clutch fashion.
Jacksonville Beach maintained inconsistent, two-foot surf that Spencer picked apart throughout her finals day surge amid an electric atmosphere. This notes Spencer's second win of 2021 and catapults her to No. 1 within the North America regional rankings.
"This is crazy, I'm just over the moon right now," expressed Spencer. "It was such a fun day of competition and I felt like every girl I was surfing against are surfing so well right now. It was an amazing Final to share with Caroline and I knew I was going to have to do my best surfing."
Marks struck first in the clash of event standouts with her signature, powerful backhand to garner a 6.50 (out of a possible 20) within the first five minutes and quickly backed it up to put pressure on California's Spencer. The 2021 Championship Tour (CT) World No. 6 increased the pressure at the halfway point with two more back-to-back waves, posting a 13.77 (out of a possible 20) heat total before notching a 6.93. *Full interview in video above
But, Spencer's incredible backhand of her own at the seven-minute mark notched a heat best of an excellent 8.60 with multiple, belting turns to overtake the lead after chasing Marks throughout and secured a massive victory after defeating Florida's own Zoe Benedetto in the Semifinals.
Marks' tenacity in small waves was on full display for the crowd lining the water's edge during her Semifinal performance. The 19-year-old,Team USA Olympian, put on a showcase of her forehand and backhand capabilities to eliminate event threat and 2020 Super Girl Pro victor Caitlin Simmers with a 12.60 heat total before falling just shy of a second-consecutive Super Girl win.
"That was a super close heat and it's been a really fun few days," said Marks. "To be back in Florida and have a Super Girl contest here is so fun. It felt really good to make the podium again."
Now, Marks prepares for a big winter of events leading up to the start of the 2022 CT season. Full interview in video above
Notable Finishes for Benedetto and Simmers
A dream run in her home state ended just shy of glory for Benedetto in search of her second-career QS victory. However, the 16-year-old notches 1,950 points to her QS campaign with sights on breaking into the 2022 Challenger Series and now sits within the Top 7 North America regional rankings.
Fellow Semifinalist Simmers looked well on her way to victory heading into finals day with some of the event's highest scores and heat totals but was eliminated by eventual (winner/runner-up) Marks in a stout heat. Simmers drops to No. 3 on the North America rankings but has the opportunity to qualify for the CT via the Challenger Series at the final stop in Haleiwa, Hawaii, sitting at No. 3.
The next WSL event will take place at the Haleiwa Challenger beginning November 26 - December 7, 2021.
Jacksonville Super Girl Surf Pro Final Results:
1 - Alyssa Spencer (USA) 14.53 3,000 points
2 - Caroline Marks (USA) 14.43 2,400 points
Jacksonville Super Girl Surf Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 14.50 DEF. Zoe Benedetto (USA) 11.60
SF 2: Caroline Marks (USA) 12.60 DEF. Caitlin Simmers (USA) 8.77