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Sage Erickson’s friendly rival with Courtney Conlogue began long before they faced each other in professional surf competitions. The two would compete at the junior level where despite being tough competitors, they were friends. 

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They renewed their friendly rivalry at the 2019 U.S. Open of Surfing. In the end, Erickson edged out Conlogue to win her second U.S. Open title. 

“In my eyes, this is the biggest surf contest in the world,” Erickson said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times after winning her second U.S. Open. “So to be able to win it as a world championship tour event [in 2017] and then to come in as the first 10,000-prime for women with equal pay means a lot more to me than just this win. It represents women and change and equality in that way, and even just to beat Courtney out there.”

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The 2019 U.S. Open was the first time men and women surfers were paid the same prize money. Erickson and the men’s winner, Yago Dora, were each awarded $30,000 for their first-place finish.

“I just didn’t lose faith the whole time and I really wanted this victory. Coming back like that at the end, I couldn’t have asked for a better end to this story at the Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro,” Erickson said in a press release. “Being down here and seeing all the young girls in the crowd, that’s what really matters to me. Seeing how stoked they are helps me remember why I started surfing.”

Heading into 2020, Erickson was set to represent the U.S. in the Tokyo Olympics, where it was going to be the first time surfing was an event. She entered the 2020 surfing season at No. 10 for the WSL preseason rankings. 

Photo Credit: Pexels, Instagram