The Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro sounded the first horn of the contest at 8 a.m. Friday in clean, fun morning swell. Making it through nearly three rounds before the final horn blew, occasional sets throughout the day offered the women plenty of opportunity to capitalize and advance to tomorrow's action.
Caroline Marks (USA) began her illustrious day with a Round of 108 highest heat total, 15.60, and showed she had not lost her edge after an already impressive summer of competing. The 14-year-old Florida native was excited to get off on the right foot amongst some of the world's best women.
"It was amazing," Marks said. "I had a great heat and to post big scores at a big event at my age means a lot to me. Some of the best girls from around the world are here so it's really cool to be around them."
Marks continued onto the Round of 96 later in the day when the tide began filling in, offering more inside waves that she was able to take advantage of and looks forward to tomorrow.
"I'm excited to win both of my heats," she said. "It's such a great experience here at this contest and I think tomorrow should be a good day. The waves should be fun again and I'm super stoked."
Anali Gomez (PER) came out on top of her Round of 96 heat, battling over Ashlee Spence (AUS) by .04 to earn the win. Moving through to the Round of 72, Gomez put up the round's best heat total of 13.66 through nine heats in tougher conditions.
"I'm so stoked," Gomez said. "It's my fourth time competing at this event and even though the conditions are not ideal, I'm giving it my all to make it work. You have to be technical when the waves are small like this if you want to win heats."
"Heats are only going to get harder each time you make it through and you need to be smarter on which waves to take," Gomez said. "Everyone's been charging through these conditions and I expect them to keep doing so."
As the Round of 72 progressed, the contest turned to shore-break conditions and Kim Veteau (GLP) took advantage of Oceanside Pier knowledge. Veteau topped the higher-seeded Ellie-Jean Coffey (AUS) with an 11.33 heat total in the last heat of the day.
"I've surfed here the last four days leading up to the event just during the high tide and it's perfect for me," Veteau said. "You just needed to find a wave that offered one big turn instead of looking for a wave with a few smaller turns to earn a score. I'm really happy to make it through."
Veteau will need to take that confidence and critical style surfing through to tomorrow when she faces Lakey Peterson (USA) and Frankie Harrer (USA). With her strategy set, Veteau is not one to be taken lightly.
"I prefer to start quick and get rid of the pressure," Veteau said. "When you have a sick one to start with it feels really good. It's a really good contest and I'm just looking to have fun."