Written by Lauren Taniyama
It is so incredibly satisfying when I paddle out to the Oceanside pier on a Saturday morning and there are more female surfers in the water than there are males. Not only that, but the females are ripping. This seems to happen every year in Southern California around August, and it is thanks to a great event called the Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro.
A huge thank you goes out to Paul Mitchell for sponsoring such a great event and for bringing all these talented ladies to one place to showcase their skills and support women living an active healthy lifestyle. It was really cool to see Boarding for Breast Cancer (B4BC) at the competition. There to support early detection of breast cancer and to promote a healthy lifestyle as well. Also, Salted the new magazine dedicated to women’s surfing. I am really liking the increase in exposure for the ladies, they truly deserve it.
The Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro was the only ASP 6 Star event in North America and it had the largest prize purse of all the 6 Star competitions for the women. The heat draw was overflowing with talent and there were 80 of the top women in professional surfing in attendance trying to get the points for the ASP Women’s World Rankings. Eleven of the women on the ASP World Tour showed up to either solidify their spot on tour, attempt to edge out the competition and re-qualify, or just to practice some new moves in a heat. The waves were around 3-5ft and pretty consistent with pulses of SW swell filtering in the entire event.
The competition began on Thursday in Round of 78 with girls such as Quincy Davis (USA), third place finisher in the US Open Junior Pro, taking first in her heat. Also, Chelsea Tuach (USA) a young surfer out of Barbados and winner of the 2012 Caribbean Cup advanced out of her heat. In Round of 72 Chelsea was able to get second again to continue on while Kaleigh Gilchrist (USA) fourth place finisher at the US Open Junior Pro and Dax McGill (HAW) US Open double threat, also advanced.
In the Round of 60 there were a few girls with more experience such as Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) who was on the WCT in 2005-2008. Also, Ellie-Jean Coffey who was runner up for the Australian Junior Surfing Title in 2011 and 2012, they both placed first in their heats. Then onto the next round, where the top women are seeded into the competition. They have to face up and coming female surfers trying to gain points, as well as those women remaining in the competition from the earlier rounds.
In Round of 48 every WCT surfer placed first, except for Sofia Mulanovich (PER). She was eliminated by Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) the winner of the US Open Junior Pro, and Rosie Hodge (ZAF). Sofia will have to do well in Europe in order to secure her spot on tour. From the earlier rounds, Ellie-Jean Coffey and Chelsea Tuach were two stand out girls that rose to the challenge of surfing against the top girls. They both got second which is quite impressive.
Round of 24 saw some major upsets to end the day on Friday, August 10th. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) ousted Nikki Van Dijk and is looking pretty deadly this year, being ranked #5 on the World Rankings. Nage Melamed (HAW) is making her charge and her surfing reflects that. She took down WCT surfer Justine Dupont (FRA) in Heat 4 with some beautiful backside surfing. Coco Ho (HAW) went down in her heat to two other WCT surfers, Pauline Ado (FRA) and Jacquline Silva (BRA). Never fear however, Coco is already guaranteed her spot on tour next year. The last heat of the day saw the two early round girls, Ellie-Jean Coffey and Chelsea Tuach go down to WCT surfer Paige Hareb (NZL). Highlights of Friday’s surfing included Courtney Conlogue’s frontside air for a 9.7 the highest single wave score of the event thus far.
Saturday began with Round of 12 which was inevitably dominated by the WCT surfers. However, a couple of the top girls like Laura Enever (AUS), who finished #8 this year, and Rebecca Woods at #11, lost out. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) and Phillipa Anderson (AUS) were stand-outs due to their ability to out surf the top girls on tour. The quarterfinal match-ups were going to be solid.
The first quarterfinal was Courtney Conlogue (USA) versus Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) and it was a good heat but Courtney was absolutely on fire during this entire competition. She posted a 6.67 early on and then a 9.83 on a amazing left where she did three huge hacks to seal the deal and leave Bianca comboed in the end of the heat. Heat two was Malia Manuel (HAW) against Sage Erickson (USA) and was led by Malia until ten minutes left in the heat, Sage needing a 6.67, catches a nice left and pulls off two heavy backside snaps for a 7.77. She takes the win out from under Malia.
Paige Hareb (NZL) narrowly beats Phillipa Anderson (AUS) by getting a really good left in the last minutes of the third quarterfinal to give her a spot in the semifinals. The last heat was Pauline Ado (FRA) versus Jacqueline Silva (BRA) and saw Jacqueline pull the sickest backside floater of the entire event on a solid left into the pier. She only caught three waves and with a 5.33 and a 7.5 on that floater she went onto the semifinals, her best result of the year.
The semifinal with Courtney and Sage was close battle between two friends that both reside in California. Sage started it off but Courtney answered back with three waves in a row. Sage caught two small waves that did not count towards her top two. Then with a set on the horizon, and Sage using her priority, she finds a super nice left to secure a 7.0 and directly after that another left with 3 nice slashes, for a 6.53. This leaves Courtney needing a 7.3 and her last wave comes in at a 5.17. The second semifinal between Paige Hareb (NZL) and Jacqueline Silva (BRA) was sort of one sided with Paige catching eleven waves and Jacqueline only catching three. Paige found a 6.10 on her sixth wave and a really nice right under Silva’s priority for a 7.93.
The final was a hard fought battle between Sage Erickson (USA) and Paige Hareb (NZL). Sage started it off and it seemed her strategy was to stay busy. She locked in a 8.0 on a left and Paige answered back with a 6.0 on a really critical floating re-entry snap into an air drop. Sage matched Paige’s 6.0 on her next wave which left Paige needing a 8.01. When a wave came through that had the scoring potential Paige needed, it was unfortunately Sage’s priority to take it. Paige with one minute left tries to better a 5.77 on a long right and comes up with a 7.0, a great score, but not enough. Sage takes her maiden ASP victory in her first ever final of her rookie year. She surfed the Oceanside beach break like she was at home in Ventura (the waves are for sure comparable).
Congratulations go out to Sage and good luck in Spain! Also congrats to Paige for a great finish to her 2012 season. Jaqueline Silva put on an amazing show and deserved her podium finish. Stay tuned for more from these amazing girls on next year’s World Championship Tour. Also check out the Cabreiroa Pantin Classic Pro in Pantin, Spain, September 12-16, 2012 for more surfing from all the ladies on tour.
PAUL MITCHELL SUPERGIRL PRO FINAL 1 Sage Erickson (USA) 14.00
2 Paige Hareb (NZL) 13.00
PAUL MITCHELL SUPERGIRL PRO SEMIFINALS RESULTS:
SF 1: Sage Erickson (USA) 13.53 def .Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.23
SF 2: Paige Hareb (NZL) 14.03 def. Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 10.26
PAUL MITCHELL SUPERGIRL PRO QUARTERFINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 16.50 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 8.00
QF 2: Sage Erickson (USA) 14.10 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.27
QF 3: Paige Hareb (NZL) 11.53 def. Phillipa Anderson (AUS) 8.87
QF 4: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 12.83 def. Pauline Ado (FRA) 12.43
PAUL MITCHELL SUPERGIRL PRO ROUND OF 12 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.36, Sage Erickson (USA) 12.17, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.77
Heat 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) 14.87, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 10.13, Sarah Baum (ZAF) 8.70
Heat 3: Phillipa Anderson (AUS) 10.83, Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 10.70, Laura Enever (AUS) 7.93
Heat 4: Pauline Ado (FRA) 10.70, Paige Hareb (NZL) 9.97, Nage Melamed (HAW) 7.26