Moore claims fifth world title
Brazil’s Medina wins third men’s crown at inaugural WSL Finals
The Associated Press and
The Maui News
SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. — Olympic gold medalist and defending champion Carissa Moore of Honolulu won her fifth world title and Gabriel Medina of Brazil claimed his third at the Rip Curl World Surf League Finals on Tuesday at Lower Trestles.
It was the first time the WSL decided its world champions in a one-day, winner-take-all format involving the top five women’s and men’s surfers based on the season points standings.
Moore was seeded directly into the final match, where she beat Tatiana Weston-Webb, a Kauai surfer who represents Brazil.
Weston-Webb, who earlier beat Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons, took the first heat of the best-of-three final 15.20-14.06. Moore bounced back in the second heat, posting huge scores of 8.93 and 8.33 to win it 17.26-15.60.
With time running down in the winner-take-all third heat, Weston-Webb needed a high-eight to overtake Moore. After two spectacular and critical backhand hammers in what looked like a score-producing ride, the Brazilian became unstuck from her board during the final, critical maneuver in what could have been a world title-deciding wave.
Weston-Webb received a 6.17 on the ride, falling 16.60-14.20 as Moore became just the third woman to claim a fifth world title, joining Australian greats Layne Beachley and Stephanie Gilmore, who both have seven.
The title caps a busy summer for Moore, who in July won the gold medal in Tokyo as surfing made its Olympic debut.
“It was a long year and it was a very long day,” Moore was quoted as saying in a story on the WSL website. “Today didn’t start as I expected, I had to fight my way back so it made it a bit sweeter to win. I was about to have a meltdown after the first heat. I tried my best, surfed from my heart, and it worked out. I’ve never been in the water when winning a world title, so this is extra special. I couldn’t ask for anything more!”
Moore previously won the world title in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2019 — with no champion in 2020 due to the pandemic, this is the first time in Moore’s career that she has won back-to-back titles.
Gilmore lost the day’s first match against France’s Johanne Defay, ending her shot at a record eighth women’s world title.
Medina, who ended the regular season with a huge points lead, beat third-seeded Filipe Toledo of Brazil in the men’s final. Toledo had earlier eliminated Olympic gold medalist and defending world champion Italo Ferreira of Brazil.
Moore and Medina each won $200,000 out of the identical $470,000 purses.