Your 4x Champ! Photo: WSL
Carissa Moore Wins Her Fourth World Title At Honolua, And The Triumphant Return Of Tyler Wright
Also, Steph wins Honolua!
All the seeding manipulation in the world couldn't stop the inevitable success of Carissa Moore.
It's been three years since the Hawaiian last raised the silver jug, but to our eyes, no female matches her blend of power, technique, and competitive acumen. Carissa is the premier female competitor of the modern era. This Title will not be her last.
So, how did it all go down?
After Carissa dominated her quarter against Nikki van Dijk, Caroline Marks was in a must-win position against her accidental nemesis, Steph Gilmore.
I say "accidental nemesis" because the 17-year-old has had Steph's number throughout the year, winning all three head-to-head matches against the 7x Champ this year. You can imagine that Steph wasn't too happy about that stat, so she had an added incentive to put the grom in her place.
And so, she did. With a seven and a high-six, Gilmore made quick work of Marks, ending the Title race before the contenders could meet in the semis. Caroline's alleged seeding tactics be damned!
Once the Title was decided, we got to follow another, nearly as engaging storyline: the resurrection of Tyler Wright. Like her brother, a bona fide phoenix!
You'll remember that, following a severe head injury at Pipeline, Owen Wright missed the entire 2016 season. Making his return at Snapper the following year, Owen Wright shocked everyone in attendance by defeating his good friend and teammate, Matt Wilkinson, in the final.
Yesterday, 18 months after leaving the tour due to a brutal case of influenza, Tyler Wright made her competitive return at Honolua. Across three heats, Tyler averaged 12 points and more importantly defeated World- Title-hopeful, Lakey Peterson.
Today Tyler continued her roll, narrowly escaping Johanne Defay and then blitzing Tati WW in the semis, securing her place in the final.
On the other side of the draw, Steph Gilmore, who had just handed Carissa the Title by defeating Caroline in the quarters, earned an instant rebate by smashing Riss in the second semi, locking the other spot in the final against her friend and countrymate.
Steph and Tyler shared a loving embrace prior to the final, and the heat felt more like a private surf between pals than it did their typical grudge match. This makes sense, as neither of Steph nor Tyler had anything to gain or lose (beyond a few rack$), but after 35 minutes, it was the 7x Champ who came out on top.
Finishing one place short of Owen's triumphant return, Tyler will enter the 2020 season brimming with confidence, as she's proven that she still has what it takes to beat the world's best. Dare we say, Tyler looked even better on a surfboard following this lengthy absence.
Steph Gilmore's win pushed her to fourth on the 2019 Women's rankings, which is a shocking result in the 7-Champ's mind, but it will help her seed significantly in 2020.
Notable fallers-off from this year include Coco Ho and Silvana Lima.
And that's a wrap for the 2019 Women's Championship Tour.