Super Girl Surf Pro event is heading to Jacksonville Beach with Olympians, concerts and more

A women’s professional surfing competition is coming to Jacksonville Beach’s pier in November, drawing some of the biggest names in the sport.

The producer of the televised event — which is on the East Coast for the first time — said he expects it to be an annual event at the Beaches for years to come.

Competitors at the Super Girl Surf Pro will include both women from the U.S. surf team at the recent Tokyo Olympics, gold-medal winner Carissa Moore of Hawaii and Caroline Marks of Melbourne Beach.

At a news conference Wednesday in Jacksonville Beach, Marks participated by Zoom, saying she first surfed at the Super Girl contest in California at 11 and has made every one since. She’s now 19.

About 90 professional surfers are expected to compete Nov. 12-14. The contest is part of the World Surf League Qualifying Series, so there’s considerable incentive for top surfers to enter.

More: In Jacksonville and across Florida, surfing clubs grow during pandemic

Numerous events will surround it, promoters said, including 20 live concerts, women’s beach volleyball and beach soccer matches, speakers, panel discussions and a women’s esports tournament. There will be no charge for any of the events.

The competition will be televised in January and February, with some of it on Fox Sports. There will also be a two-day live webcast on several online sites.

After being staged in the San Diego area for 15 years, the event is now expanding to the East Coast. It’s a four-year deal, said Rick Bratman, CEO of ASA Entertainment, the producer.

“This is not a one shot,” Bratman said. “This is something we are fully committed to growing and being a community event for many years to come. Frankly, four years is the tip of an iceberg … We wouldn’t have moved it here had we not thought of this as a 20-, 25-year run.”

More: Jacksonville Beach woman finds freedom in surfing, encourages Black women and girls to do the same

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Jacksonville Beach Mayor Chris Hoffman said she sees the Super Girl Surf Pro as a natural fit for the city, which already hosts several annual festivals. “We really embrace our skate and surf culture,” she said.” It’s a thriving thing that we have at the beach.”

Hoffman estimated that attendance could be 20,000 people a day. The California events have drawn big crowds to the beach there.

Molly Kirk, a pro surfer from Atlantic Beach, has competed in several Super Girl contests in California. She’s just 21, but she said after the news conference that she’s noticed more and more girls surfing in recent years — many more than when she began.

Competition between them is good for everyone, she said: “It pushes you. You see a girl do a good turn, or something like that, and you say, ‘I want to do that. If she can do it, I can do it.'”

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