As if we don’t feel the Black Friday-through-Cyber Monday hangover enough, the Native Hawaiian from O‘ahu dominated in a shortened format in heavy storm surf while her top two rivals lost heartbreaker heats at Women’s Surf Championship Tour Lululemon Maui Pro at Honolua Bay. It’s Moore’s fourth world title.
Already a member of the Surfers’ Hall of Fame as of 2014, O‘ahu’s Carissa Moore barreled her way into history at 9:45 a.m. Monday by winning her fourth World Surf League title, nailing down the top spot for Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The latter assures a Native Hawaiian will be in the games, fulfilling a dream of Olympic champion Duke Kahanamoku, who first proposed the idea.
Moore won her title two ways on Monday at the Lululemon Maui Pro. First, she dominated her quarterfinal against Australia’s Nikki Van Dijk, pulling into two thick tube rides and emerging to screams from the crowd on the beach and cliffs above Maui’s Honolua Bay. Moore’s 16.00 overall score was composed of the two 8.00 rides. Van Dijk managed 10.90 in a spirited challenge.
Next, as Moore withdrew and rested up for her semifinal, the next quarterfinal pitted Australia’s Stephanie Gilmore against Caroline Marks, a 17-year-old power phenom from Florida who was the only other surfer left in contention for the world title. Both Marks and Moore had nabbed the two U.S. women’s Olympic spots on Sunday when the third rival for the crown, Santa Barbara’s Lakey Peterson, lost a stunning heat to Australia’s Tyler Wright.
On Monday history repeated as seven-time world champ Gilmore slammed the door on Marks. With that result, the title was Moore’s, who waited, headphones on and burying her face in her hands, in a WSL tent. When the camera found her, and the horn sounded, pandemonium broke out.
Gilmore and Moore enjoyed a long hug after in full view of the crowd, setting a tone of celebration of women’s surfing over any individual’s achievement. After a round of hugs, interviews and screams while being carried aloft by her team, it was back to business for Moore. In a hotly contest semi later that morning, however, Gilmore cleanly bested Moore to move into the finals. In rapidly deteriorating surf, Gilmore went on an hour later to defeat Tyler Wright, 6.83 to 6.00—no karma needed, but a nice outcome nevertheless.
The Lululemon Maui Pro failed to happen for days as waves weren’t forthcoming at Honolua Bay, a favorite right-hand spot of Moore. On Sunday, however, heavy storm surf and gray skies greeted the 7:30 a.m. starting horn. Instead of spreading the event out over three or four days, the WSL was forced by the forecast to make it happen in two. The powerful waves and fast tempo worked to Moore’s advantage on Sunday, as she won her first seeding round, allowing her to rest up for the round of 16. Her quarterfinal on Monday showed off her strategy as well as her unique affinity for Honolua Bay; she had more and bigger barrels than any competitor.
Quarterfinals, Heat 1 with Tatiana Weston-Webb and Sally Fitzgibbons
Round of 16, Heats 3 (Wright vs. Peterson), 5 (Moore vs. Macedo) and 7 (Marks vs. Ho)
Elimination Rounds, Heats 1 (Caroline Marks, Keely Andrew and Summer Macedo) and 2 (Tyler Wright, Johanne Defay and Brisa Hennessy)
Seeding Round, Heat No. 2 with Lakey Peterson, Silvana Lima and Tyler Wright
Seeding Round, Heat No. 1 with Caroline Marks, Nikki Van Dijk and Macy Callaghan
Sunday, November 30: Still a no go
Wednesday, November 27: Until further notice …
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