Carissa Moore's current dominance of the ASP Women's World Tour continued over the weekend as she won her third major title of the year at the Billabong Rio Pro in Brazil.
The 18-year-old has now appeared in all five major finals of 2011 and yet again, her opponent was Red Bull teammate and current ASP number two, Sally Fitzgibbons.
Moore claimed the win in punchy two-to-four-foot waves in a hard-fought final at Barra Da Tijuca, extending her lead over 20-year-old Fitzgibbons to 5,350 points with two events left in the race to become 2011 world champion.
Moore and Fitzgibbons nearly matched scores on their opening accounts in the final, but Moore notched a solid 8.10 midway through the heat with polished backhand surfing on a lefthander which helped her earn a 14.87 to 13.80-point victory.
“I just went out there and had fun; to me there was no pressure in the final,” Moore said. “I was just stoked to be in the final regardless of how I finished. Obviously I’m happy that I won. The girls really didn’t go on those lefts, but they worked out for me today.”
“I was really nervous that I wouldn’t make the final because I was up against Silvana (Lima) and she’s the local favorite,” Moore continued. “I’m excited. We have two events left and it’d be nice to just finish really strong.”
Fitzgibbons continued her great run of form by convincingly defeating four-time defending world champion Stephanie Gilmore in her semifinal.
“It has been great competing in Rio for the first time,” Fitzgibbons said. “Looking into the next few events it’s really going to be about stepping it up and having fun and focusing on my surfing. Hopefully I can get a few more results.”
A New Champion Will Be Crowned
Gilmore is out of contention for a fifth world title after her equal third place in Rio; she admitted that Moore and Fitzgibbons have been too good this year.
“It was tough work out there,” Gilmore said. “Sally got a couple and I had some opportunities. I only needed a six and was too deep on that wave that came in at the end. Sally’s in the zone right now.”
“I’m going through so many emotions right now, it’s hard,” Gilmore said. “It’s been a pretty good year and Sally and Carissa have been on fire. It’s good for the sport and good for me.”
Billabong Rio Pro Final Results:
1 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.87
2 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.80
Billabong Rio Pro Semifinals Results:
SF 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.67 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 10.33
SF 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.16 def. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 9.23
Billabong Rio Pro Quarterfinals Results:
QF 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) 13.63 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 12.27
QF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.50 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 9.93
QF 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 12.44 def. Pauline Ado (FRA) 10.97
QF 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.10 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 9.57