At a young age, Molly Tuschen of University City watched her father and brother surf. She decided she wanted to be in the ocean, too, rather than stand on the beach.
About 10 years later, she’s earned the respect of her peers and is paddling out with the best of them. This weekend, she’s at the World Surf League‘s 16th annual Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro.
“It definitely took me a few years to earn my spot in the lineup and hold my own against the guys,” said the 19-year-old. Surfing in the girls circuit has let her travel all over the world, experiencing different cultures.
Being a female in a male-dominated sport has been “awesome,” Tuschen said. “I love seeing girls surf. It’s super empowering.”
This year’s event, featuring past world champions, pushed off Friday for a three-day run south of the Oceanside Pier.
Among the entrants in Saturday’s heats is UC San Diego student Makena Burke, recipient of the first college surfing scholarship ever recognized by the National Scholastic Surfing Association.
The nationally televised event, which calls itself the largest female surf contest in the world, has free admission.
The event — daily 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Sunday (although surfing halts mid-afternoon) —gives surfers a chance to rack up points toward eligibility in the world circuit.
Daya McCart, 14, who won her heat Friday, has been surfing all of her life, becoming competitive at age 11. She is following in the footsteps of her father and uncle, who was a professiona