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Super Girl Pro surf competition returns to Oceanside

 September 11, 2023 at 12:46 PM PDT

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. Nissan Supergirl Surf Pro is the latest female surf contest in the world , and it's coming to San Diego next week. The three day festival will bring more than 140 female surfers to Oceanside Pier to compete. It's just one event of the Supergirl Pro series , a showcase for Women in Action sports. I'm joined by Rick Brackman , founder and executive producer of Supergirl Pro. Welcome , Rick.

S2: Hi , Jade. Great to be here.

S1: Good to have you. And I'm also joined by Lindsey Jacobellis. She's a two time Olympic gold medalist and the most decorated female snowboarder of all time. She's also a surfer mentor and ambassador for Supergirl Pro. Lindsey , welcome to Midday Edition. Hello.

S3: Hello. Hello. Very excited to be here and very excited for Supergirl to be coming to Oceanside.

S1: Yeah , and I can't wait to hear all about it. Rick , I'm going to start with you. You founded Supergirl Pro in 2007. Tell us how it got started.

S2: But originally it was because I'm a girl , dad , and my daughter was having problems , you know , with opportunities in sports and and other facets of life. And we also as a as a company , we're producing events and action sports since since 1994. And we just saw that women were just treated like second class citizens within our industry and the surf skate and snow industries. And so , you know , about 18 , 19 years ago when when women started progressing at a faster rate than the men were , we just said , you know what , it's time for somebody to put a stake in the ground and to , you know , develop a series of events and content that was going to show the world just how incredibly , amazingly talented these women are. And so that was the kind of genesis behind it. And it's just it's incredible how it's grown since then. Right.

S1: Right. And to elevate that , you've got a handful of new additions to the event this year from sports to a fashion show.

S2: So it's about bringing women together from all different walks of life. So yeah , I mean , in addition to it being the largest women's surfing competition in the world , there's 15 live concerts and some pretty big names , including Sean Kingston and Aloe Blacc and B miller , and there's an all female DJ competition and all female eSports competition. There's a women's beach volleyball tournament. There's about 20 free classes in fitness , yoga , Pilates , dance , Zumba , wellness , cycling , nutrition , things like that. There's a female content creator showcase , female art exhibition and just a variety of other events that are happening. And and it's all free. And that's what makes this whole thing so special. Wow.

S1: Wow. Lindsay , you know , you're the most decorated female snowboarder ever , but you've also been an avid surfer. And those two sports seem to go hand in hand.

S3: And it was a great way to re-energize myself before getting back on tour , completely changing , you know , the tempo , the speed , you know , it's a different energy in Southern California , and I really believe that that changed my , you know , overall spirit and energy and was vital to keeping me going in my competitive snowboard career for as long as I've been going. And it certainly feels better on my joints to be in warmer weather and really get that , you know , charge to face another cold winter. So that's how it really started. And , you know , surfing is just this beautiful addiction at times. It can be so frustrating. But then you have that triumphant moment and it might be just that one moment or that one wave. And it's crazy how that energy helps you go into that next session and you want more and more and you want to keep progressing every time. And that's what's also so incredible about this event because you see the level of female surfers , especially over the last ten years , just escalate so quickly and how it keeps getting younger and younger with the field of pushing and raising that bar. And that's what it's it's so incredible to have this environment. And when I first was a part of this scene , I can't even remember how many years ago , maybe about , you know , 10 or 11 years ago when I first met Rick. And I told him this is the greatest event ever. Like this is an X game caliber event , but it's all women. I've never seen something like this before , so I was just so excited to be a part of it and that at that time I was just doing like little celebrity things here and there. But every year I want to be a part of it in some caliber , whether it's , you know , broadcasting or going through the festival village or checking out sponsors or being a part of the women's panel , I get to meet all these other incredible women , not just in sport , but in other walks of life as well , like Rick said. So it is just this great opportunity for women to just feed off of each other and just keep pushing themselves and see what they could be capable of. Because I've found myself going down different avenues that I never thought I'd. Go down , and that's been nurtured by this Supergirl environment. So it's very wonderful. Right.

S1: And you're a mentor.

S3: But it was more important to be helping that next generation get that push because we didn't want to wait another ten years to have the growth cycle of women to start really pushing the level of that sport. We saw a big a slow climb with the surfing. Now it's massive. We wanted to see if we could change that tempo by having more of a mentor set up. And it was really amazing because the pros , yes , at the time we got after it and we wanted to race and we wanted to compete and win. But then the few days prior , it was all about taking the young kids down the course and making them not afraid of certain features , things they maybe never saw before. We'd have these clinics and and teach them and and have this encouraging environment if they were afraid. And then they finally conquered it , everyone would be cheering. So it was this just wonderful support system that I never really experienced because I was with you guys and they support you and they , you know , cheer for you in different ways. It's it's not necessarily that girl support system , which I think we should be benefiting from both , not just one. So it's wonderful that we came in with this different approach to help the next generation.


S3: You could be doing this or that or , you know , whatever. But in your moment now , in your experiences , what are you learning and who are you meeting that you know can make a big change or impact in your life ? And that can be a huge opportunity. You can make all of these wonderful connections and then you figure out that you've been going down , you know , one path in your life , but you decide to have a different passion and you have a great connection because you were a part of , you know , something at Supergirl that you remember. You can reach out to somebody because you have this wonderful , you know , connection. So there's really there's no limit. And it's just wonderful to get these kids really excited about what they're doing and not trying to just chase necessarily a result , but really enjoy what they're doing.

S1: And I'm sure this is that's something that you talk about in the book that you've got coming out later this year called Unforgiving Lessons from the Fall.

S3: And in my 2006 moment , you know , I made a mistake and I didn't win. And that was always sticking with me. And that was like this pre branded image that every four years would. You know , be staying with me and would be. Kind of not allowing me to grow and move past when I was constantly berated by media. And it was it was a look a real deep look inward on what my goals were , how I wanted to restructure my mental , you know , approach in my sport in comparison to what I had done in the past and this last Olympics. I didn't want to leave anything on the table. I was physically prepared doing all my training. I wanted to go and be fully mentally prepared. And at the end of the day , what was going to happen was going to going to happen. But I was really happy that for once I was able to put my story out in my way because everyone had always written my story from their perspective or how they wanted to really view it.


S3: So it's very exciting to see from just this event last year and now we're prepping for this season. We have all of these new names that are making a name for themselves on the Challenger series , if not the championship tour , and they are coming here to this event. So they hold this event at a very , very high value for themselves. And they are now helping push that next level of girls when they're having to go head to head. Because when these younger girls go against a , you know , ked female , if they have any chance of moving on to the next round , they need to do something wild. And then that gets them noticed and , you know , gets a lot of energy around that. And so you can see that energy is , you know , feeding from one athlete to the next. And that's when you have those great leaps in progression in the sport.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm speaking with Rick Brackman , founder and executive producer of Supergirl Pro , and Lindsey Jacobellis , two time Olympic gold medalist about the surf competition. Supergirl Surf Pro happening up in Oceanside.

S2: And that's something that I think generationally wasn't necessarily projected for women , for for many , many , basically , many , many generations. And so we do get so many young women out there that come out , you know , wide eyed. And , you know , by bringing in all these incredible women from all these different walks of life , it shows them that it doesn't matter whether you want to be try to become a professional athlete or an artist or an influencer or a scientist or , you know , somebody in fitness. I mean , we bring all these different pieces together to show there's limitless opportunities. So , you know , the goal is to , you know , obviously have an inclusive environment , although the focus is certainly , you know , on opportunities for women. And it's been amazing the stories that we've heard from young women throughout the years about how the confidence that they received and sort of the , you know , the fuel that they got from being in Supergirl and that they were able to kind of use that as momentum to just being their best self and striving and reaching for opportunities that they didn't necessarily think existed before. Wow.

S1: Wow.

S2: You know , you go to a major League Baseball game and you're sitting in the stands and you're never going to get a chance to walk up to the , you know , one of the players and the Dodgers and have a conversation with them. At Supergirl , we eliminate all those guardrails. So , you know , we have there's a situation for if you're a young woman and you want to know more about how do I become a great surfer , you can walk up to to the pros and ask them. We also have a mentorship program back to , you know , kind of what Lindsey was talking about when this all started with the snowboarding event. But now we've been doing mentorship with surf for the last 4 or 5 years. And so there are 25 young women right now that will have an opportunity to be mentored by five top pro surfers. And you can apply for that. You can go on the website Supergirl , Surf Pro and and still have an opportunity to apply for it. So yeah , I mean , we really try to make the the successful women who have just achieved so much in all these different worlds completely accessible to anybody who wants to approach them.

S1: And this question is for both of you.

S2: And I can tell you that our our hope is that we become obsolete and that there's no reason to have an event that highlights opportunities , inclusion and equality for women. Because if women make up 51% of the population in this country , that women just simply get 51% of the opportunity that's out there. Unfortunately , that's not the case right now. We have a we have a relatively tall ladder to climb , but we're doing it one rung at a time. And and I think by , you know , collaborating and partnering with amazing women like Lindsey and so many of the other athletes and artists and influencers that believe in the values and the ideals of Supergirl , you know , we can stand on the top of the mountain and yell , you know , louder than we could have done it by ourselves. And so we're incredibly grateful for all that support. And and hopefully , you know , as we go up the ladder one rung at a time , you know , maybe five , ten years down the road , people will look at Supergirl as a superfluous exercise and we can walk into the sunset and go , Hey , we had a small part and maybe helping to to level the playing field.

S3: And I think to , you know , back that up , my my hope would be that Supergirl , Surf Pro and Snow have become so popular that we create a , you know , a multi stop , you know , event where it makes it more accessible to women all around the US , if not the world. And it would be incredible to , you know , have an East Coast summer and snow as well as West Coast. And who knows , maybe there'll be some more wave pools. Being , you know , put in in in the US somewhere so we could spread it there and who knows what could be accomplished.

S1: You know , earlier , Lindsay , you talked about the challenges you faced in your career before you reached Olympic gold , something you talk about in your upcoming book.

S3: But I would say forgiving yourself when you don't win and looking at an opportunity that you can learn from in that moment is just as valuable. A lot of the times these younger kids see , you know , the glory that comes with winning so they can only associate a value with winning , but there's also value in failing and losing , and that gives you a great opportunity to grow. So when I am working with younger athletes , you know , telling them that educating those steps are just as important because then that helps shape you into the individual athlete and individual that you want to be coming later in life.

S1: I've been speaking with Lindsey Jacobellis , two time Olympic gold medalist and Supergirl pro ambassador , along with Rick Brackman , founder and executive producer of Super Girl Pro. The festival will kick off at Oceanside Pier on September 22nd and run through September 24th. Also , it is free to attend. Rick and Lindsey , thank you so much for joining us.

S2: Thanks , Chad. We really appreciate you having us.

S3: Thank you. Jade.

S4: Jade. Really appreciate it. I hope we see you out there.

S1: That's our show for today. Don't forget to watch Evening Edition tonight at five for in-depth reporting on San Diego issues. We'll be back tomorrow at noon with a show about democracy. And if you ever miss a show , you can find the Midday Edition podcast on all platforms. I'm Jade Hindman. Thanks for listening.

A surfer at the Super Girl Pro event in 2022. Oceanside, Calif.
Kurt Steinmetz
Super Girl Pro
A surfer at the Super Girl Pro event in 2022, Oceanside, Calif.

Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro bills itself as the world's largest female surf, lifestyle and music festival — and it’s coming back to San Diego County this month. The three-day event will bring more than 140 female surfers to Oceanside Pier to compete.

The Oceanside event is part of the Super Girl Pro Series, which was established in 2007 by Rick Bratman to elevate women in action sports.

"Originally it was because I'm a 'girl dad' and my daughter was having problems with opportunities in sports and other facets of life," Bratman said. "(My company) saw that women were just treated like second class citizens within our industry, the surf, skate and snow (boarding) industries."

Bratman noticed many female athletes in those sports progressing at a faster rate than men and decided he wanted to develop a series of events and content to showcase their talents.

The annual event has been meaningful to Lindsey Jacobellis, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the most decorated female snowboarder ever. She's now an ambassador for Super Girl Pro.

"It is just this great opportunity for women to just feed off of each other and just keep pushing themselves and see what they could be capable of," Jacobellis said. "I've found myself going down different avenues that I never thought I'd go down and that's been nurtured by this Super Girl environment."

Super Girl Pro isn't just a surf competition — it will also feature an esports competition, live music, fitness classes and more. Some new features this year are a beach volleyball tournament, a pro skim boarding event and a fashion show.

The festival will kick off at Oceanside Pier on Sept. 22 and run through Sept. 24. It’s free to attend.


  • Rick Bratman, founder and executive producer of Super Girl Pro
  • Lindsey Jacobellis, two-time Olympic gold medalist, surfer, mentor and ambassador for Super Girl Pro