Carissa Moore, the prodigiously talented teenage surfer from Hawaii, claimed her second career win yesterday as she defeated reigning ASP Women’s World Tour champion Stephanie Gilmore at the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Portugal in the waters of Lagide beach near Peniche.
The 18-year-old ASP Women’s World Tour rookie dominated the event from start to finish, consistently notching up the highest heat and wave scores of the round, and continued her backhand decimation with an excellent 17.44 out of a possible 20 in the final.
“I’m really excited – my breath is taken away at the moment,” said Carissa, who missed the previous round in Peru because she had to attend her Punahou high school graduation ceremony. “I’ve just been trying to take it heat by heat and not think about who I’m coming up against, and focusing on my surfing each heat.
“The waves were so good so we had a quick turnaround, but once I was out there and I was looking at Steph, I was thinking, ‘Wow, I’m in the final with Steph right now.’”
Gilmore, who defeated Sofia Mulanovich in the semifinal, was more than magnanimous in defeat: “The waves are always so much fun,” said the 22-year-old Australian from Tweeds Head, NSW. “I’m sorry I couldn’t put on more of a show but Carissa showed everyone how much fun it can be out there. I’m very happy with a runner-up finish and I’m looking forward to the next event.”
It was a thoroughly deserved victory after Moore had a tricky path to the final, putting out Aussies Sally Fitzgibbons and Claire Bevilacqua on the way.
Moore, who earlier this year won the U.S. Open, said it was the victory over Fitzgibbons that gave her the confidence to push on to the final. “Sally and I have had great match-ups all year and she has been surfing so well all event so I definitely felt a bit of relief after getting through,” Moore said. “Not to discount Claire or Steph, but that quarterfinal win gave me a bit of confidence for sure.”
The result moves Moore up to fifth in the ASP world rankings. Gilmore remains on top, needing only third place in the next round in Puerto Rico to clinch the title.
ASP WOMEN’S WORLD TITLE RACE TOP 5 (After Rip Curl Pro Portugal):
1. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 5688 pts
2. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 4776 pts
3. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 4344 pts
4. Silvana Lima (BRA) 4164 pts
5. Carissa Moore (HAW) 3852 pts