Nora Liotta leads Maui charge heading into US Air Force Super Girl Surf Pro
Event organizers of the World Surf League US Air Force Super Girl Surf Pro, a Qualifying Series (QS) 3000, were forced to delay the competition opening on Friday, Nov. 11, due to severe weather impacting Florida’s East Coast. This event marks a critical opportunity not only for North America’s QS contenders looking for Challenger Series points, but also Hawaiʻi/Tahiti Nui’s rising talents to secure points toward their region in this co-sanctioned event.
A blend of strong northeast winds and Hurricane Nicole brought in massive, seven-to-eleven-foot waves and 40 mph, plus winds, forcing a delay in the competition start. With winds and swell decreasing, event organizers and the competitors await the opening call.
“We’re currently under Hurricane Warnings in Jacksonville Beach, but expect the storm to clear by Friday morning,” said WSL North America Tour Manager Brian Robbins. “Once we are aligned with city officials and other event stakeholders, we’ll make a call to get competition underway for Friday. We encourage everyone to follow warnings and stay inside until conditions improve.”
When competition gets underway, North America’s current No. 1 Sawyer Lindblad (USA) looks to go back-to-back at Super Girl Surf Pro events after becoming the youngest winner in Oceanside, California, earlier this year. Lindblad recently competed in the Challenger Series in Saquarema, Brazil, and comes into this event with confidence after her successful, Round of 16 result. (Full interview in video here)
“Winning the Super Girl in Oceanside meant a lot to me and gave me a lot of confidence going into the Jacksonville Super Girl Pro,” said Lindblad. “I try my best to stay composed in between events just by being consistent and continuing to just live in the moment. Something I’d tell a 10-year-old looking to be a professional surfer is to be yourself, and continue to work towards your dreams.”
Former Championship Tour (CT) surfer Chelsea Tuach (BRB) competitor continues her fight to rejoin the world’s best and already has two Quarterfinal results on the 2022/23’ to secure a place into the 2023 Challenger Series to keep that dream alive. Barbados’ first-ever CT qualifier, Tuach comes into Jacksonville Beach looking to break that Quarterfinal streak and earn a second win in 2022, what would be her first of the new season, but knows it will take her best to make it happen. (Full interview in video here)
“I’ve had this string of Quarterfinal results and, yes, they’re great, but I want to break that (streak),” said Tuach. “So it’ll be interesting to see what happens in Jacksonville. I was here last year and I think it was five seconds to go against Zoe (Benedetto), I was winning, and she got a beautiful left to win the heat. I’ll obviously be happy with a Quarterfinal, but hopefully I can make it to the Final and fight for that cape.”
But, these competitors and more will have to deal with in-form Hawaiʻi/Tahiti Nui competitors making their way fresh off a Sunset Pro presented by HIC event. The recent runner-up Nora Liotta (HAW), current Hawaii/Tahiti Nui No. 1 Moana Jones Wong (HAW), No. 2 Puamakamae DeSoto (HAW), Sunset Pro Finalists Eweleiula Wong (HAW) and Brianna Cope (HAW), and more are on the hunt for big results of their own. (Full interview in video above)
“I think the Super Girl cape is one of my biggest goals,” said Liotta. “This contest is going to be really important for me just because of how the rankings are now and how few spots Hawaiʻi is getting, just with changes to the Challenger Series. You really have to make it count when you go to these contests.”
Local talents such as Sophie Falzone also looks for a big result of her own on home soil. The Atlantic Beach, Florida competitor grew up just down the street from the Jacksonville Beach Pier and returns hungry for more after an early exit in last year’s competition along with fellow local competitors Lanea Mons, Molly Kirk, Piper Austin, and more.
“The Super Girl has always been my favorite event and I am really stoked to be able to have it here in my hometown,” said Falzone. “It’s really exciting having the worlds best come to compete at my home break. Having this event in Jacksonville Beach is so important to me because north Florida is finally getting the representation it deserves. We have such a great surfing community here that I have grown up in and we have so many good up and coming female surfers that now get a chance to watch their hero’s compete at the professional level at home.”