Carrisa Moore Crowned World Champ at Roxy Pro Biarritz
Stephanie Gilmore Returns to Form and Wins Event in Fun 3-4ft Surf
After a week of fun beachbreak surf at the Roxy Pro Biarritz, 18 year old Hawaiian Carissa Moore became the youngest World Champion in ASP history. Moore clinched the title after 4X ASP and 2010 World Champion Stephanie Gilmore defeated the last remaining title contender, Australian Sally Fitzgibbons, during their dramatic semifinal heat #2.
Moore added the World Title to her long list of accomplishments this season, and brought the women’s title back to Hawaii for the first time in thirty years. Moore advanced to the final, her sixth in six events this season (another ASP record), and faced Gilmore in the clean a-frame peaks. Carissa came out with an early lead, but fell to an in form Gilmore who posted the third highest heat score in the event with a 17.27. Gilmore was loose and relaxed the whole event and actually nabbed the only tube seen throughout the entire contest during the final against Moore.
Gilmore was ecstatic about the win against the newly crowned champ. It was her first event win of the season in a year marked with ups and downs for the Australian icon. After winning her fourth consecutive world title last year, winning the women’s Pipeline event in Hawaii, and inking a huge deal with new sponsor Quiksilver, Steph returned to her Gold Coast home only to be the victim of a vicious assault in January. The attack came on the steps of her apartment from a homeless drug addict in an apparent robbery attempt. Steph suffered a badly broken wrist and multiple severe head wounds as the assailant used a metal pipe to force the surf star to the ground. Obviously, the attack had shaken Gilmore, which she later admitted in interviews. While this in no means discredits Moore’s amazing World Title run, one has to wonder how Stephanie would have placed in the first few events if she had carried the same focus she had at the end of the 2010 season into 2011.
Nonetheless, it was clearly Carissa Moore’s year to shine. She is the forefront of the new generation of women’s progressive surfing and is one of only three women consistently pulling 360 reverses in heats (along with Gilmore and Fitzgibbons). The Roxy Pro was business as usual for the Hawaiian prodigy as she posted the events two highest wave scores, a 9.5 and a 9.17, and racked up the two highest heat scores, a 17.77 and a 17.34. Her 9 point rides were the only ones of the entire event.
An emotional Moore fought back tears of joy in her post semi-final interview after Gilmore sealed the deal by defeating points race runner-up Sally Fitzgibbons. With the support of her father nearby, Moore thanked her family and friends for being there for her whole career, and was a bit speechless as she busted out an impromptu victory dance with interviewer Rosy Hodge.
Now, the women’s tour heads to California for the the final stop of the seven event season, the Nike US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach on August 1st. With no pressure of a title race, you can bet to see the top 10 gals surfing with the intent of showing the massive crowds where the state of women’s professional surfing is at. Instead of focusing on points, they will be pushing the limits of technical surfing and fighting for the $110,000 prize purse. On the other hand, surfers on the back end of the ratings are on the bubble to re-qualify. The goddess-like Alana Blanchard, and elven-esque Laura Enever will have to pull out all the stops to keep a frothing Pauline Ado, Lakey Peterson, Sarah Baum, Dimity Stoyle, and Sarah Mason from taking their places on tour for 2012. -Ryan Richardson
Roxy Pro Biarritz 2011 Results
ROXY PRO FINAL
1st, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.27
2nd, Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.50
ROXY PRO SEMIFINALS
Heat 1 : Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.27 def. Pauline Ado (FRA) 9.67
Heat 2 : Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.30 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
ROXY PRO QUARTERFINALS
Heat 1 : Pauline Ado (FRA) 11.50 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 11.23
Heat 2 : Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.34 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.50
Heat 3 : Sally Fitzgibons (AUS) 14.37 def. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 9.67
Heat 4 : Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.30 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 15.87