On Friday, the largest prize check in the history of women's surfing --- 40,000 dollars -- was written, paid to the order of a 19-year-old Hawaiian. Carissa Moore earned the money with her second world tour win of 2011 at the sixth annual Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic at Dee Why Point, north of Sydney, Australia.
"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," said Moore, referring to the winner of the last two world tour events.
Moore's victory was worth 11,000 points, which catapults her back atop the ASP standings with a clear 3,350 points in front of Fitzgibbons. The two rivals have been jockeying for first through four events; with three remaining, the title appears theirs to fight over.
"I'm trying to not think about the World Title too much, I know that there's a lot of girls within range, so I'm just going to keep my head down and have fun," Moore said.
In a beautiful day with dwindling swell, Moore had to earn the victory, trailing as she did for much of the final behind Sofia Mulanovich. The 27-year-old Peruvian went through Fitzgibbons to reach the final.
"I can't be disappointed with a third place but I think the waves weren't in my favor," Fitzgibbons told the ASP. "I just didn't quite find my rhythm. 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."
"I haven't been on the podium for a while and I'm just stoked to be here. It feels amazing!" Mulanovich told the ASP. "Carissa is an amazing surfer and she's really hard to beat although I was beating her for a while out there, I surprised myself."
On Monday, the ladies fly out to Rio de Janeiro for the Billabong Rio Pro; the fifth of the seven events this season.
Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic Final Results:
Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.60 def Sofia Mulnovich (PER) 14.60
Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic Semifinal Results:
Heat 1: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 14.03 def Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.60
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.50 def Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.00
Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic Quarterfinal Results:
Heat 1: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 11.83 def Silvana Lima (BRA) 7.33
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.37 def Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 13.26
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.00 def Melanie Bartels (HAW) 8.76
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.17 def Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.10
Current ASP Women's World Title Rankings Top 5:
1. Carissa Moore (HAW) 37,000
2. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 33,650
3. Tyler Wright (AUS) 25,420
4. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 22,850
5. Sivana Lima (PER) 21,420