Caity Simmers is at the forefront of a generational movement of female surfers set to change the face of competition. Airs, barrel riding, rail work, this Oceanside, California native has it all, and a style to go with it unlike any we’ve seen in recent years on the Championship Tour. But Caity’s head is in the right place. She was raised by two awesome parents, Ali and Jesse, and surfs for all the right reasons. After qualifying for the CT in 2022, she turned down the opportunity to travel the world so she could just be a kid.
Sitting in an un-air conditioned room in an Airbnb with a huge window overlooking the Pacific Ocean, cameras rolling as our team traveled El Salvador, I had a moment to ask Caity about Taj Burrow’s similar decision back in 1997 – when he decided not to take his initial CT invitation. “I think Taj is an amazing surfer but I didn’t really think about him when I made my choice,” she told me. “I just wanted to spend more time with my family.” You see, Caity surfs for the pure joy it brings her. For the feeling we all get when we enter the ocean. Not for tour glory or anything else. Even though, as we’ve certainly seen, she can be relentlessly competitive when she wants to turn the switch on.
But aside from the “pure joy,” none of that other stuff really matters, does it? At 16, Caity Simmers will be a world title threat for years to come. Whether it’s this year, next year, or even the year after – when her competitive career begins in earnest. For now, Caity’s just being Caity: a helluva surfer and an even better kid.