On a brilliantly sunny Gold Coast morning, Alessa Quizon calmly paddled out into the opening round of the Quik Pro and took down the contest’s eventual finalists: five-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore and 2013 Rookie of the Year Bianca Buitendag. It was Quizon’s first ever heat as a World Tour competitor, and the even-keeled 19 year old surfed with poise, even baiting Gilmore—competitive surfing’s radiant, unflappable queen, and top-of-the-food-chain Goldie local—into a mid-heat interference.
Though she eventually lost out in her Round 4 heat, Alessa’s opening salvo showed the rest of the Tour that the rookie was more than ready for the big leagues. Quizon, of course, had known that all along, and was chomping at the bit for a chance to prove it.
“Being my first year on Tour, I really want to show what I can do,” says Alessa. “Especially in bigger waves. I like surfing bigger waves because you can set up much bigger turns. And now every girl on Tour needs to have experience in big waves to do well because we’re going to get them at Margaret River, Fiji, and Honolua.”
Growing up in Makaha, Alessa had plenty of experience in waves of consequence. But coming from Oahu’s gritty West Side also meant that her path in the surf world wouldn’t be as easy as some.
“I always felt like I was on the outside,” says Alessa. “I was never that close with many of the surf girls. When I was 16, I went through a phase where I didn’t even know if I wanted to keep surfing.”
Lucky for Quizon, she came from a supportive family, including older sister Kristen who had a brief pro career herself before becoming a police officer. Alessa’s support network allowed her to develop the confidence to succeed at the sport’s highest level. And in the coming years, the West Side ripper is eager to push the boundaries of not only her own surfing, but women’s surfing as a whole.
“All the girls on Tour are doing crazy stuff,” says Alessa. “But I want to do the kind of maneuvers that some girls wouldn’t even go for. I want to do all the throwtails and laybacks that the guys do.”