Moore Wins Maui Pro, Gilmore Gets World Title
By MauiNow Staff
Given the number of surprise eliminations, big wins, and clutch performances that unfolded today at the Target Maui Pro, reflecting on the last day in the future will forever be a gratitude-filled exercise.
The start of the holiday season officially arrived today with Thanksgiving, serving up epic proportions of final-day drama at Honolua Bay, where the sport’s best females gathered to settle their unfinished business — crowning a 2014 ASP World Champion.
After perhaps the most intense championship battle in the history of professional surfing Thursday afternoon, Australian Stephanie Gilmore was awarded her sixth ASP World Championship when two-time defending champion Carissa Moore of Honolulu won the Target Maui Pro.
“I’m really happy. It’s been a tough year but it feels so good to take the win in front of my whole family here in Hawaii. I’m so happy for Steph, too. But just to win it and be supported by Target is really cool,” said Moore. “This victory makes having to give the world title trophy over to Steph a little easier. I may be a little bummed about that, but I can’t complain today.”
Moore, 22, became the first Hawaiian to win a women’s event at Honolua Bay. The Punahou School graduate and Oahu resident was awarded a $60,000 winner’s check, boosting her season earnings to $135,000.
Gilmore watched the finals from atop the ridge at Honolua, where participants enjoyed 8- to 12-foot surf with offshore winds. Her quarterfinal loss to Courtney Conlogue (USA) marked her first defeat at Honolua Bay.
Few expected Gilmore to lose to Conlogue, but the hard-charging California native managed a number of waves from the outside section all the way to the inside peak. The final arithmetic from their heat showed Gilmore loss by fewer than one point, 13.67 to 13.03.
At that moment, Gilmore was no longer in control of her own destiny. She was still in the race, but fellow Aussie’s Tyler Wright and Sally Fitzgibbons were still among the last eight.
Fitzgibbons, 23, immediately handed the advantage back by losing her own quarterfinal and Wright, the powerful 20-year-old from Lennox Heads in NSW, didn’t relent, charging into the event final against local favorite Moore.
A victory in the final would have forced Wright and Gilmore into a surf-off for the World Title but it wasn’t to be, as Moore put on a clinic at her home break to eventually win with a score of 18.23 out of 20, compared to Wright’s 14.07.
“That was like the crazy couple of hours, just sitting and waiting,” said the 26-year-old Gilmore through joyful tears. “I really had no doubt in my mid that Tyler could take it all the way and win the event and I was mentally prepared to get out there and do a surf-off. But Carissa is the defending World Champion and such a talented surfer, I knew it was going to be a really good heat to watch.”
Gilmore’s success means she’s just one championship behind Australian great Layne Beachley’s record of seven women’s titles.
“I definitely owe Carissa a drink tonight, oh my gosh. And I can’t believe here on Maui again, this is such a special place.”
Wright was philosophical after her near miss.
“What an experience. Right from the beginning when Lakey (Peterson) put that 9 down and that kind of woke me up and that got me really more competitive than I’m used to being. And I was stoked for Carissa, when she got that 9, I was clapping for her that she won it, and for Steph as well, she’s had an amazing year and she deserves it.”
Fitzgibbons, a three-time championship runner-up, slumped to her board in tears after her defeat, knowing the title had once more slipped through her grasp.
The 23-year-old admitted she was devastated by the loss and her challenge would be to bounce back.
“It’s still a dream and I’m going to go after it,” she said.
PAST MAUI PRO CHAMPIONS
2014: Carissa Moore (Hawaii)
2009: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2008: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2007: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2006: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
2005: Chelsea Georgeson (AUS)
2004: Chelsea Georgeson (AUS)
2003: Layne Beachley (AUS)
2002: Jaqueline Silva (BRA)
2001: Neridah Falconer (AUS)
2000: Neridah Falconer (AUS)
1999: Trudy Todd (AUS)
Fore more on the women’s Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour.