Late last March, many of the world’s best kayak surfers competed at the 27th annual Santa Cruz Paddlefest. They were styling the surf sessions—carving, spinning and sometimes tumbling over Steamer Lane’s iconic waves.

No less impressive were the women surfers, who came from all over the western United States and Canada to compete. They surfed both to be the west coast kayak surf champion of the Pacific Paddle Surf Series and to represent the U.S. West in the Australian world championships in July of this year.

Canoe & Kayak caught up with these athletes and asked about their experience. Here’s what they had to say.