Photo: Carissa Moore (HAW), 18, winner of the 2011 Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic and No. 1 on the ASP Women’s World Title race.
Carissa Moore (HAW), 18, returned to the podium’s highest block, winning the richest event on the ASP Women’s World Tour in clean, one-meter waves during the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic at Dee Why Point, Sydney today.
Moore defeated 2004 ASP Women’s World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 27 to claim her second out of four finals this season, pocketing a massive US$40,000 winner’s cheque and resumes her position as the ASP Women’s World No. 1.
“I’m really, really happy, I’ve been fired up ever since the last two events with Sally (Fitzgibbons) and I’m just super excited I was able to come out on top this time,” Moore said.
On a day when wave selection proved critical to success, Moore clawed her way back into the lead in the dying minutes of the Final, posting 6.83 and 8.33 (out of 10) scores, to defeat the Mulanovich by 15.60 to 14.60 (out of 20.00).
“I was really excited to make another final and it was refreshing to have a Sofia as an opponent,” Moore said. “She was leading for most of the heat and I was kind of nervous out there.”
Moore’s victory sees her a healthy 3350 points ahead of closest rival Sally Fitzgibbons, (AUS), 20, on the ASP World Title rankings and has marked herself as the surfer to beat with just three events remaining.
“I’m trying to not think about the World Title too much, I know that there are a lot of girls within range, so I’m just going to keep my head down and have fun.”
Mulanovich found unique form to reach her first Final this year. Mulanovich eliminated ASP rankings leader coming into the event, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 20, in their dramatic Semifinal clash, before placing runner-up to Moore in the Final.
“I haven’t been on the podium for awhile and I’m just stoked to be here, it feels amazing,” Mulanovich said. “Carissa is an amazing surfer and she’s really hard to beat although I was beating her for awhile out there, I surprised myself.”
Fitzgibbons suffered a shock elimination during the Semifinals, citing poor wave-selection her downfall against Mulanovich that cost her, her Final berth as well as the ASP World No. 1 spot.
“I can’t be disappointed with a third place but I think the waves weren’t in my favour, I just didn’t quite find my rhythm,” Fitzgibbons said. “Some days you have it like in Bells and New Zealand and some days you don’t and today I just wasn’t quite there.”
Fitzgibbons’ equal third result marks her second such finish of the season adding to an impressive tally including two wins but sees her drop one position on the ASP World Title rankings.
“You know the World Title is something you’re always reaching for and I feel like I still have a lot to give,” Fitzgibbons said. “World No. 2 is a good place to be at so I’m just going to hold my head up high and hope to get that rhythm back at the next few events and hopefully snatch a few more wins along the way.”
Three time defending event champion and four times ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore, 23, (AUS) equaled her best result of the season, placing equal third after being narrowly eliminated by Moore with 16.00 to Moore’s 16.50 heat total, in their semifinal decider.
“Third place is definitely frustrating, it’s an ok result but it’s not quite enough to satisfy me anyway,” Gilmore said. “I felt like I was surfing really good but it just came down to wave selection. Carissa got such a good start and I think I got a little too relaxed when I got a really high score and let my guard down.”
Despite posting the highest individual wave score of the event, a 9.60 (out of 10.00), Gilmore was unable able to find a second ride with sufficient scoring potential. Her result today moves her up one place into The World No. 4 spot.
“I feel much stronger and more confident and so for me it is just about building on each result and reaching for the top spot again.”