Notes from the Sand at the Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro. Round of 24 frontside air by Courtney Conlogue.
Notes from the Sand:
Courtney Conlogue’s Frontside Air in the Round of 24
Presented by InsuranceSurfers.com
The Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro was an incredible event to watch. It’s unusual to have eighty of the world’s best surfers descend on your local break at one time but for the week of the Supergirl Pro, that’s exactly what happened. After the madness of the US Open at Huntington, the City of Oceanside provided a welcome relief for many of the pros and I heard that sentiment repeated continuously throughout the week. Although there were some funky winds here and there, the ocean delivered fun waves throughout the event and the performances were top notch.
While it is important to cover the event’s final results (Congratulations Sage and Paige!), we thought it would be fun to look at some of the “sidelights” that aren’t necessarily reflected on the podium at the close of the event. We’ve titled this brief series “Notes from the Sand” and we knew straight off there was only one place to begin …and that’s with Courtney Conlogue’s frontside air in the Round of 24.
I was standing on the beach talking with the current women’s Pipeline champ, Bianca Valenti, when Courtney took off on this right. Our hour and a half conversation suddenly became quiet as Courtney projected out of the lip and into the air. I would have normally bunched up all the whitewater photos together into a “she made it” collage but Courtney’s determination to pull this off was so remarkable that I feel every frame should be shown. When she landed in the trough, she was completely laying down flat on her back for what seemed like an eternity. Even though Courtney disappeared into the foam, I kept shooting as I could tell she was going to put every stomach crunch she’s ever done into good use and will herself to ride it out. She pulled it and the beach erupted. The judges responded quickly with a 9.70 for the one heavy move.
Courtney’s air marked her as the surfer to beat and ignited performances for the rest of the event. In the heats that followed, surfers were going way bigger than they were before and the feeling on the beach was electric. I know many believe that women’s lifestyle coverage is more important to the industry than heat performances but on this day, throwing caution to the wind ruled the day. Frolicking for the lens is fine and it’s a necessary part of marketing but watching an athlete unleash her training, skill and determination on an oncoming section will always bring this photographer to his feet. – Chris Grant