ASP World Tour rookie Carissa Moore out-maneuvered the in-form Sally Fitzgibbons in a hard-fought final in the barreling waves off Fitzroy Beach at the TSB Bank Women's Surf Festival today.
Fitzgibbons had dominated the event, setting the highest scores in every round, seeing off former world champions Sofia Mulanovich and Chelsea Hedges in the process.
But Moore, the hugely promising Hawaiian teenager, made the most of the conditions to establish a solid lead, setting the highest heat total of the event, a 19.16 out of a possible 20. Moore, 17, posted an excellent 9.33 out of a possible 10 on her opening wave before running through her repertoire of moves on a running left-hander.
Fitzgibbons hit back, collecting a 7.50 and an 8.67, but could not put on enough points to overhaul Moore. “It’s frustrating but Carissa just went mad in the final,” said Fitzgibbons. “The waves were really good, and it was an exciting heat. But to come so close and not win still stings right now.”
"I felt like I was building momentum throughout the event and fortunately peaked in the final." –Carissa Moore
Fitzgibbons at least matched her career best in the top level of the ASP, and the result puts her second overall in this year’s championship. “I feel like I am surfing well and surfing smart and it will happen eventually. To be second on the rankings now is great for me; the goal is to reign in Steph (Gilmore) over the next couple events.”
To win her second ASP World Tour event (after her breakthrough victory as a wildcard at last year's Gidget Pro at Sunset Beach, Hawaii), Moore knew she couldn’t allow Fitzgibbons to see daylight. “I knew I couldn’t leave Sally a lot of room to maneuver," she said. "She has been getting the highest scores every round and she’s so dangerous. I just felt like I was building momentum throughout the event and fortunately peaked in the final.”
As an event, this was definitely one for the young stars. As well as Fitzgibbons’ and Moore’s high scores, there was the headline-making performance of New Zealand’s wildcard entry Sarah Mason, 15, who knocked out Gilmore en-route to the Semifinals.
Moore, who had been adopted by the local Waitara community, donated her entire US$15,000 winner's check to the Waitara Bar Boardriders Club.
"I'm really lucky to have the support of my family and my sponsors and to be able to contribute in this way," she said. "And it's a great way to give back to the community. They have been such a great motivation to me this week."
TSB Women’s Surf Festival Final
1. Carissa Moore (HAW) 19.16
2. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.17
Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.56 def. Sarah Mason (NZL) 11.33
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.93 def. Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 15.17
Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.17 def. Melanie Bartels (HAW) 8.33
Sarah Mason (NZL) 16.23 def. Paige Hareb (NZL) 11.83
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 18.33 def. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 11.00
Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 14.67 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 13.30
ASP Women’s World Tour Top Five:
1. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 2760 pts
2. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 2280 pts
3. Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 2268 pts
= 4. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 2076 pts
= 4. Melanie Bartels (HAW) 2076 pts
Watch videos and highlights at nzsurffestival.co.nz and for the latest ASP tour standings and more, visit aspworldtour.com The next stop on the 2010 ASP Women’s World Tour is the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic held at Dee Why Point in Sydney, Australia, from April 21-26.