Queen of the South Bay displays growth in female surfing

June gloom and a mixed-up, waist-high wind swell challenges competitors in the first annual Queen of the South Bay surf contest at El Porto on June 1.

by Brianna Smith

Photos by Steve Gaffney (SteveGaffney.com)

Nearly 200 women and young girls competed in the first annual Queen of the South Bay surf contest on Saturday, June 11 in El Porto.

Among the competitors were U.S. National Team members, and novices who had never previously competed. The novices were seeded in their own divisions.

“We’ve been trying to put on an all-girl event for some years. This year, we had an incredible team of women pull it together, including Stephanie Rudy, Lenie Ramos and Beth Campbell,” South Bay Boardriders Club President Tom Horton. SBBC hosted the contest.

The youngest contestant was 7-year-old Allesia Rosenberg, who placed third in the grom assist division. The oldest competitor was 70-year-old Sandy Malbee. 

In the South Bay, the number of female surfers has grown exponentially since SBBC was founded in 2009. The club hosts monthly contests throughout the winter with men and women divisions. Nationally, the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing has successfully fought for inclusion and equal pay for professional female surfers in events like the Mavericks Big Wave Contest.

In the Queen of the South Bay’s highly competitive 11- to 14-year-old division, WSL pro surfer Cash Hoover, of Hawaii, edged out  fellow U.S. National Team member and SBBC member Teagan Mezza, and Rusty team rider Shiloh Page, of San Diego, in the 11- to 14-year-old shortboard division. Hoover also won the 11- to 14 longboard division. Delilah Safran, of Huntington Beach, finished second in the longboard division.

NSSA National Champion Marlo Harris, of Dana Point, placed first in the 15- to 19-year-old shortboard division. U.S. National Team and SBBC member London Mezza took second.

Mira Costa High team rider and 2024 SB Scholastic Surf League Waterwoman of the Year Tea Trent won the 15- to 19-year-old longboard division. Fellow Mira Costa team rider Darby Roath was second.

Los Angeles County Lifeguard and former Mira Costa standout Morgan Seth won the women’s 20- to 35-year-old division, and placed second in her age group’s longboard division. SBBC competitor Jamie Wilheim won the 20- to 35-year-old longboard Division.

Mia Blaxhard and Coral Berry finished first and second in the grom (10 and under) division.

Islia Kang and Cai Berry finished first and second in the grom-assist division.

“We’ve always heard some of the girls, especially teen girls, are intimidated by surfing,” Horton said. “This event shows the women they don’t have to be intimidated, and there’s a lot of camaraderie. I guarantee there’s going to be new friends made today.”

SBBC membership director Cambpell said the club hopes to host monthly surf clinics for female surfers. 

For complete results, and more about the South Bay Boardriders Club visit SouthBayBoardriders.org ER

 

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