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by Jesse Starling

If you know anything about female surfing you would know that there is a massive pool of talent coming out of San Clemente, California. Let me give you a couple of names, Samantha Silbley, Kirra Pinkerton, Alyssa Spencer and Caity Simmers. Between these 4 girls there are countless QS and Junior titles wins, proving why their names are constantly in the limelight. All these girls absolutely shred and have shown that the girls from San Clemente are a force of the future. 

2019 ISA – Team USA – pic @Alyssa_spencer1

However, it makes you wonder is it really all sunshine and rainbows between all the girls. You can’t help but think that there would be a little bit of rivalry between these talented ladies. So I decided to get down to business and see what lies beneath the surface when it comes to competing with the girls of the San Clemente community. 

Hey Ladies, tell me your name, age and biggest competitive achievement?

Kirra Pinkerton – “My name is Kirra Pinkerton, I’m 17 years old and my biggest achievement is winning the 2018 world junior title”.

Samantha Sibley – “Hi I’m Samantha, Sam and Sammy whatever you wanna call me. I’m 18 years old. My biggest competitive achievement is winning the 2019 Supergirl Pro WQS 6000 in Oceanside”. 

Alyssa Spencer – “Hey my name is Alyssa Spencer, I’m 17 years old and my biggest achievement is World Junior Champion 2017 ISA and Governors Cup U18 2019”.

Kirra Pinkerton wins the 2018 Taiwan Open World Junior Championships. (Photo courtesy of WSL / Jack Barripp)

How would you describe your relationship with these girls when competing?

Samantha Sibley – “These girls have helped mold me into a better athlete and person. Growing up we pushed each other at every contest, there has never been a comp with an easy win. They’ve inspired and motivated me my whole surfing career”. 

Alyssa Spencer – “We all just push each other. Let’s be honest we are all there to win and take each other out in heats. But we are all really good friends and love to have a good time together outside of competition. I think it’s so fun to be competitive but also have that great friendship outside of the water. It’s so important, especially being on the road all year, to have some fun with the girls you are traveling with and competing with”. 

However, when you are in a such a talented group of girls there can sometimes be rivalry in and out of the water…

Kirra Pinkerton – “Caitlyns a little younger than the rest of us but between the other three girls we aren’t friends in or out of the water unfortunately”.

Alyssa Spencer winning the National Ripcurl Grom search – pic @Alyssa_spencer1

When free surfing, do you find that the other girls are a good motivator for you to progress in your surfing?

Kirra Pinkerton – “Surfing with these girls definitely is motivating especially surfing with Caity. Her style is so different and it’s fun to watch her grow in her surfing”.

Samantha Sibley – “Yes, absolutely! A really good example would be Alyssa and I. We surf together all the time and always push each other to surf better and stay out longer. It’s pretty awesome!”

Alyssa Spencer – “Yes! I love surfing with these girls. Seeing them pushing it and ripping just makes me want to work hard and push harder. I think we all push each other so much and I love it!”

Do you find that you become more competitive when competing against these girls?

Kirra Pinkerton – “I don’t find myself being more competitive against these girls because I know anyone can win a heat so it’s just you against the ocean. If you are already caught up on the person in your heats then you’re one step down”.

Samantha Sibley – “ I like to stay pretty neutral when I surf heats. I don’t let who’s in my heat get in my head and change anything. My main goal in every heat is to get two good waves and surf 110% on them”. 

Alyssa Spencer – “Yes! They make my competitiveness come out for sure! We all want to do the best we can and push each other so much”. 


Who will be the first to qualify? 

Kirra Pinkerton – “I think I’ll be the first to qualify. Don’t have much reasoning other than I know myself and my capabilities and so far this year I’ve been the closest to qualify”.

Samantha Sibley – “That’s a hard one! Last year me, Kirra, and Alyssa were all just a few heats away from qualification in Birubi so we’ll see how it plays out this year”. 

Alyssa Spencer – “It’s hard to say. Everyone is surfing so well”. 


Which is the best heat you had against one another?

Kirra Pinkerton – “Definitely the Semi- finals in Taiwan with Samantha Sibley. She started off with two big scores and comboed me and I barely made a comeback in the last few minutes”.

Samantha Sibley – “ Honestly Kirra and I have had some crazy heats. In Taiwan at the 2018 World Jrs we had a crazy semi and she got me on a buzzer beater. In 2019 at the Supergirl 6k we had a quarterfinal where we kept going back and forth until I snuck one under her priority and got a good score. Both heats were at huge comps and we both had tons of pressure”.

Alyssa Spencer – “Sam and I both made the final in ISA World Juniors in 2017 in Japan. It was so amazing to finish 1st alongside Sam who finished 3rd. We both were chaired up the beach waving the USA flags. It was such a special day. I remember standing on the stage singing our national anthem and we looked over at each other with the biggest smiles. It was so amazing to share that with her and the team”.


So there we have it,  SoCal is producing an immense amount of beautiful, powerful and raw female surfing. All of these girls have their eyes on the prize of making the championship tour and won’t let anything or anyone get in their way. When they are in “Comp Mode” there isn’t much love lost but it seems outside of competing they all have the drive to push themselves, each other and female surfing well beyond their comfort zones.

Women like this will change the world of female surfing one heat at a time and we love them for it.

Thank you girls for being so honest and good luck with the rest of 2020 may the best women win.


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