In Surviving Summer season 1, Summer embarked on a journey of self-discovery, learning to forge new connections, the art of adapting to others and embracing her own authenticity. At its core, the story revolves around Summer Torres, a spirited rebel with a penchant for chaos driven by the belief that no one truly cares for her. Her journey Down Under, which she initially perceived as a punishment, evolved into a test for growth and maturity. Through a series of remarkable encounters and challenges, Summer underwent a metamorphosis.
The once-reckless teenager blossomed into a responsible and considerate individual, exemplifying unwavering loyalty to her newfound friends. Her evolution was not without its hiccups, and she remained imperfect—a testament to the authenticity of her character. She also embarked on a journey of reconciliation with her mother, bridging emotional gaps and fostering a deeper understanding between them. Additionally, she showed her friends support during their own trials and tribulations, cementing her status as a dependable confidant. Now, a year later, Summer journeys back to surprise her pals, not only with the visit but by showing them that she’s got what it takes to join them in the competition.
What happens in the Series?
Summer Torres is now a surfer, wanting to join the Victoria state team for the national comps in Australia. She still very much likes Ari Gibson and hopes to win him over as the new surfing star of the team. To her surprise, though, Ari has moved on and is with a champion surfer, Wren Radic. Immediately, Summer was thrown off her game. She’s also sent her videos for the competition as a wildcard to have a chance to show them what she’s got. Her online entry isn’t accepted, and the rebel that she is, Summer ambushes Wren and Poppy’s heat and shows the people what she’s got. Bax, the other new kid in town, helps her get in by distracting the officials. She surprises everyone with how good she’s become, but the one person she truly wants to impress isn’t even there. Margot, Summer’s mom, is happy to support her daughter, but she has no confidence in her surfing ability. She thinks Summer won’t make it on the team and keeps suggesting they’ll be returning in a couple of weeks. Summer ends up making it on the team as a sub, subverting everyone’s expectations.
Wren can sense the closeness between Ari and Summer and immediately gets on her case. She threatens her as team captain, and it’s made clear that it’s because she’s the sister of the new coach (poor Manu). Bax is their third sibling, and they’ve all moved down from Queensland, but something’s odd between these three. Summer tells Margot that she’s going to have a team-building meet-up in the rental they’re living in. Margot hesitantly agrees and leaves the responsibility to Summer. At first, everything goes well, and everyone has a blast at the “party.” But Summer coaxes Wren into jumping into the pool from a trampoline, and she fakes hitting the floor.
Wren pretends her ankle is twisted, and at the end of the night, Summer and Bax end up lighting a fire by accident at the barbeque station. Because of this, Margot and Summer have to move into the Gibsons’ home again. They’ve also been blacklisted on the rental site, so Margot is really irritated and wants to go back to New York ASAP. Even though Ari has moved on, he still wants Summer to stay back. He takes her side in front of Margot, and they convince her to give Summer another chance. But there are other forces at play, and Bax loosens Summer’s surfboard fins as per Wren’s request. Because Wren is pretending to be hurt, Summer gets to sub for her, and as she takes the wave, she falls over because of the loose fin. Poppy fixes the fin just in time so Summer can show off her skills in the heat. She stuns everybody with how good she is, and even Margot has to admit that her daughter is really serious about surfing. She even bags a photoshoot with Molly for a chance to get sponsored.
At the photo shoot, Bhodi is forced to pose like an “exotic creature” rather than a surfer. The photographer even blatantly tells her that she’s only there for diversity. Upset, she tells the gang what’s going on, and in her rage, Summer starts plotting how to trash the photographer’s room in order to teach him a lesson. Bodhi and Poppy tell her to stand down, though, because it would be really problematic, and they’d lose their sponsors. Summer agrees to stand down because it’s not her mess to handle. Summer calls Ari at night because she starts to feel insecure about what Bodhi and Poppy feel about her. Wren overhears them talking, and out of her jealousy, she trashes the photographer’s room with shellfish, just like Summer had suggested. Because it wouldn’t be out of character for Summer to take such action, everybody believes it was she who did it. Summer is immediately sent back home, but surprisingly, Margot believes her. Even Ari doesn’t believe Summer, leaving her alone and heartbroken.
There is one other person who believes her wholeheartedly, though. Bax is by her side, and he shows her the ropes of making a board for herself. Bax distracts Summer well, and he seems to be harboring some feelings for her. The team is made to go on surfing camp before the big comps, and Summer has to face all her teammates who hate her at this moment. She thinks she has Bax’s support, but he ditches her, too (in actuality, he’s making the board for her). Seeing everyone so out of tune with each other, Elo, the coach, makes them do an exercise of writing down all their grievances towards their teammates and then burning them in a bonfire at night. Unfortunately, Poppy’s note ends up outside the fire, and it’s read out. This leads to everyone speaking their true feelings, and Summer tells Ari that she’s disappointed that he’s got no grit. She says he’s following his girlfriend around like a blind puppy, pretending things are all good, but in reality, nothing’s all good, and he needs to show some self-respect.
Ari finally sees how much Summer cares for him and goes to her tent to apologize. They kiss, but Summer says she will not hurt Wren’s feelings that way, even though she totally hates her guts. Ari says he’ll sort things out, but Bax watches him come out of her tent. He leaves the board in front of her tent, but Summer cannot accept such a personal gift from a near stranger. Summer goes to Manu to help her clear her mind, but instead of helping her, his exercise of meditating ends up showing her that she likes both Ari and Bax.
At the same time, Wren wants a party for her birthday, and because her parents can’t show up, Abbie suggests that they have a small gathering at the Gibsons’. Ari agrees because he’s naive like that, and he promises himself he’ll talk to Wren after her birthday. Because this is exactly the opposite of what Ari told her, Summer is exasperated and ends up stealing her mother’s alcoholic punch. She and Poppy get drunk on the punch and end up doing some regretful things. Summer kisses Bax, who later, out of guilt, admits to her about the fins of her board, leaving Summer hurt yet again. Poppy, who is mad at Bodhi, sees Wren’s true face after she steals Bodhi from her and tells Summer that she finally believes her. They’re walking on the streets when they find a poster of Wren. In a fit of rage, Poppy throws a pebble at it, and the glass window breaks. Summer tells Poppy to go because she must participate in the nationals and gets caught by the police, showing her loyalty once again.
Obviously, this means Summer can’t participate in the competitions and has to go back to New York. But, to her surprise, Margot has a look at the CCTV footage and takes Summer’s side, sending her to the nationals instead of taking her back to the Big Apple. Summer shows up, and everyone is thrilled except Wren.
Does Team Victoria Win At The Comps?
At the heats, Summer riles up the captain of the Queensland team, the same team Wren and her siblings used to be a part of. The captain loses the heat, and then Summer apologizes because she realizes it wasn’t her place to do that. She then has a little chat with her about Wren, which changes things drastically for everyone. Summer finds out that it wasn’t Bax who got Wren and Elo thrown out of the Queensland team, but it was Wren and Elo who were thrown out for bullying and for misguided coaching methods.
Ari, who has been having a hard time with his anxiety, follows his exercises before his heat. Wren and Elo can’t seem to understand his methods and think he’s freaking out. Instead of being supportive, they pressurize him more. Ari loses his heat at the nationals, leaving Team Victoria in some trouble. Elo goes all crazy on him, and Summer stops her from talking to him like she owns him. She tells everyone the truth about what Tuscany, the Queensland captain, told her. Bax finally understands that he doesn’t have to be a pet for his sisters, who never cared for him.
With Bax out of the game, Marlon shows everyone how it’s done. Ari brings the team together by showing them a dance he and Summer used to do as children. Summer knows that the team still needs Wren to have their big moment and win the nationals. She realizes it’s been Elo who has forced Wren to be overly competitive. Summer and Wren end up in the same girls’ finals together, and Wren shows her true colors by pushing her out of the way and telling her that’s what she deserves. But Summer doesn’t falter and shows everyone how it’s done, leading the team to 3rd place in the nationals! Ari and Summer can finally be together, and everything is back to being like it was in the good old days. Even Bax decides to stay back and spend some time with the good people of Shorehaven.
Surviving Summer Season 2 shows Summer as a determined and self-assured person. We can tell that she and Margot have really worked on their relationship in the past year, making her more confident and earning her place as a surfer. Summer finally has something she truly cares about, and it is something her mother used to love doing, too. Despite not having great memories at Shorehaven, Margot finally chooses to make a sacrifice for Summer and live again in her old town. Summer is good for Ari because she can support him when he’s anxious and because she truly understands him.