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In front of a record crowd at the U.S. Open of Surfing, with a record prize purse on the line, Carissa Moore and Sally Fitzgibbons paddled out under the shadow of the Huntington Beach pier. And as the tide quickly rose, in what turned out to be a relatively wave-starved final, Carissa struck first. After that, the way momentum goes, Carissa was squarely in the driver's seat.

Unfortunately, Sally never quite found the waves she needed to make it a heat. Carissa sat on two four-point rides until the dying seconds, when she took the best wave in a two-wave exchange and clinched the biggest contest win of her short career.

"I couldn't sleep last night," she said the morning after accepting the $50,000 first place check. "It's very surreal, I don't feel like a U.S. Open champion really. I guess my only wish is that we had more waves in the final so Sally and I really could have surfed it out. She's such a good surfer, and she's such a good competitor. We really have been pushing each other lately. But yeah, I'm stoked. This is beyond belief."

It would appear they're going to be pushing each other for years to come, as Carissa celebrates her 18th birthday soon, and Sally's still under 20. The two young ladies are well on their way to changing women's surfing as we know it.


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