OCEANSIDE, Calif. — The world’s largest female surfing event in the nation is underway in Oceanside.
The competition, which started Friday and lasts until Sunday, has brought thousands of people to watch the biggest and best surfers, including Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore and icon Bethany Hamilton.
“It’s so awesome to see these girls rip,” said spectator Maddier Storrer, who came to Oceanside for the event from Santa Cruz.
On a typical hot summer weekend, you will find the ocean filled with local swimmers and surfers, but this weekend, the blue water served as a national stage.
“I love Bethany Hamilton,” aspiring professional surfer Kirra Huntress said. “We get to see, like imagine we can surf in this heat too.”
Many aspiring professional surfers are spending the weekend watching the ones they admire surf, and dream of coming back to compete.
“I’m really inspired by it because I hope someday I could do that and be with all of them,” spectator Isla Hardy said.
For Oceanside native and surfer Lucy Garrard, her dream turned into a reality this year.
“I grew up surfing here,” Garrard said.
Lucy and her sister are the first American-Samoan female surfers to surf in the World Surf League. After they compete in this event, they are traveling to the Olympic qualifiers.
“I used to come and watch this with my sister, so it’s kind of weird being in it now, but I feel really thankful to be in it and have this opportunity,” Garrard added.
She says she wants to be a role model for other American-Samoan girls and show them they can achieve anything they want to.
The Super Girl Power was felt from the ocean to the vendors, where local artist Nicole Miller turns old surfboards into works of art.
“It’s amazing and it’s just empowering for females in all departments, especially art, I mean surf art in general is kind of dominated by males, so it’s really cool to be out here and be represented,” Miller said.
Miller was a school art teacher but pursued her passion into creating art full-time and now creates surfboard art, and even ones that can be taken in the water.
The event brought something for everyone, from a military appreciation program to food, vendors, dancing, free concerts and more.
It also included the U.S. Air Force’s Virtual Airborne Experience “Born to Fly,” which gives everyone a chance to experience, through virtual reality, piloting an F-16 fighter with a real-life throttle and flight stick or operating a replica boom pod to refuel aircrafts, virtually, in the sky.
The event also featured a female esports competition.