Fiona Sargente has won numerous local surf contests since she began competing at the age of 12.
On June 17, the Palm Bay resident and Eastern Florida State College student, again performed her magic on her longboard — this time claiming the top prize in the women’s 18-39 division on the waves of southern California during this year's USA Surfing Longboard Championships in Oceanside.
The event, a qualifier for the ISA (International Surfing Association’s) World Longboard Championship and the Pan-Am Games, hosted longboard surfers from around the nation who competed in conditions Sargente described as "magnificent, fun, and super challenging!"
“Winning this event has been on my bucket list for a few years and I am really thrilled to have surfed so well here,” the 18-year old said. "I came in fourth last season here, so this was a huge surprise, especially since the runner-up, Heather Young of Hawaii had just come off a big win just weeks before.”
A dancer in her childhood and all-around athlete, Sargente began surfing when she was just 5 years old, and has competed locally in both short board and longboard contests throughout Brevard and California for the past six to seven years.
Fiona, a triplet with two brothers, is one of six children born to Thomas and Dena Sargente, who grew up loving the ocean and beach.
“My two twin brothers and my older sister all encouraged me to surf when I was younger,” she said. "Though I enjoy surfing all board lengths, I gravitated to the longboard because of the smaller waves here in Brevard. “I can be graceful and aggressive at the same time."
Sargente said she prefers the longboard because she loves the challenge of perfecting both walking the board and “hanging 5 or 10.”
“Longboarding allows me to be creative and I love the fluidity and smoothness of the ride,” she said.
A competitor in the (ESA), Eastern Surfing Association’s southeastern regional contest this past spring, Fiona took home the gold in the 18-and-up women’s longboard division.
Other accolades include a fourth place finish at last season’s 2021 USA Surfing Competition in Oceanside, and she won the Open Division at the ECO PRO Surf event in Melbourne Beach in May.
Her prize for the win at this contest was a surf trip to El Salvador, one she hopes to take this fall or winter.
“My favorite local spot is the Cocoa Beach Pier, but I really enjoyed the surf in California, and a few years ago when my family and I traveled to Costa Rica,” she said.
Even at the tender age of 18, she's not only still learning the sport, but she's also sharing it.
“I love to teach younger kids, and even kids with special needs," she said. "I am always up for sharing my surfing knowledge and skills with beginners.”
This mindset also resonates in her life outside surfing, as she is currently pursuing a career in the medical field, and someday hopes to work in the imaging field performing sonograms, etc...
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Fiona Sargente won 18-39 division of USA Surfing Longboard Championship