OCEANSIDE–Seventeen year-old emerging star Samantha Sibley of San Clemente overcame a stacked field of top-ranked competitors to stand atop the Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro podium, earning her first World Qualifying Series (QS) title and becoming the youngest champion to wear the coveted Super Girl Pro cape.
Previous Super Girl Pro champ, Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) finished second, with last year’s runner-up Caroline Marks (USA), and Bronte Macaulay (AUS) earning equal third.
With her win today, Sibley skyrockets from No. 52 to No. 6 on the QS rankings, with a strong shot to land a spot on the Championship Tour (CT) next season.
“This is the best day of my life! I can’t believe I just won the Super Girl Pro,” exclaimed an emotional Sibley. “I’ve been coming to this event ever since I was little, standing on this beach, taking pictures with all my heroes, and now to be the Super Girl . . . I’m at a loss for words.”
Weston-Webb wasn’t the only CT elite Sibley had to get past today. She also served up a stunning win over fellow 17-year-old and 2018 Rookie of the Year, Caroline Marks (USA), in the Semifinals. Sibley’s versatile approach with her vertical backhand and powerful forehand attack helped her garner some of the day’s highest scores along the way — including the event’s highest heat total of a 15.76 (out of a possible 20) in Round 5 and a single wave score of 8.00 (out of a possible 10) in the Final.
The friendships amongst the competitors in this event is well-known, and this was never more evident than on the beach after Semi-final Heat 2, when the first person to congratulate Sibley was Weston-Webb.
“It meant the world to me to be out there with Tatiana. I couldn’t pick a better person to be in a final with, she’s such an amazing surfer, she’s so strong,” Sibley added of her Finals competitor Weston-Webb. “I’ve looked up to her for years and now we’re really good friends, so to be in a Final with her was just the cherry on top.”
The bitter-sweet finish gave Weston-Webb 4,550 points and a second runner-up medal at the event, in addition to her 2015 victory. The CT veteran has attended the Super Girl Pro contest every year since the event’s switch to a QS, and has rarely found herself not competing on finals day. The 23-year-old fought her way through the likes of Teresa Bonvalot (PRT), Leilani McGonagle (CRI), and fellow CT competitor Bronte Macaualy (AUS) with impressive numbers of her own that included a 15.10 heat total in the Semifinals.
A pair of CT elite finished with Semifinal appearances as Marks fell to eventual winner Sibley and Macaulay fell victim to Weston-Webb’s vicious backhand performance. Marks leaves the Nissan Super Girl Pro still atop the North America rankings, and Macaulay’s result was her best of 2019.
“This year’s Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro told such inspiring story for the record-breaking crowds that came out to see all the action,” said Rick Bratman, CEO of ASA Entertainment, the event’s producer. “To see a young local surfer go from watching her heroes on the beach at the event when she was 10, to becoming our youngest champ yet, was just an incredible story. Sam showed the next generation of aspiring female surfers that anything is possible.”