SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. — One for the thumb for Hawaii’s golden girl.
Olympic gold medalist and defending champion Carissa Moore of Honolulu won her fifth world title and Gabriel Medina of Brazil claimed his third at the Rip Curl World Surf League Finals on Tuesday at Lower Trestles.
It was the first time the WSL decided its world champions in a one-day, winner-take-all format involving the top five women’s and men’s surfers based on the season points standings.
Moore, whose previous world titles came in 2011, ’13, ’15 and ’19, got to celebrate her first one while in the water after defeating Brazil’s Tatiana Weston-Webb by a score of 16.60 to 14.20 in the deciding third heat.
“It’s been an unbelievable year,” Moore said in a news release. “I’ve never been in the water and won a world title so that was extra special.
“It was very nerve racking, and it wasn’t how I imagined it would go today.”
Moore is the third female surfer to win five world titles, joining Stephanie Gilmore and Layne Beachley.
“(I) surfed from my heart. I’m happy it worked out,” Moore said. “I don’t think I could have asked for anything more. I’m really grateful to God, the universe and everyone behind me.”
Moore is Hawaii’s most successful surfer on the world stage, adding to her previous record that surpasses the three world titles won by Andy Irons and two by John John Florence.
Moore won the final two heats of the best-of-three format against WestonWebb, who was born in Brazil but raised on Kauai, in six- to eight-foot waves at Lower Trestles.
A champion in 2020 was not crowned, making Moore a back-to-back winner of the world title for the first time.
Medina, who ended the regular season with a huge points lead, beat third-seeded Filipe Toledo of Brazil in the men’s final. Toledo had eliminated Olympic gold medalist and defending world champion Italo Ferreira of Brazil, the second seed.
Moore and Medina each won $200,000 out of the identical $470,000 purses.
Australia’s Stephanie Gilmore lost the day’s first match, ending her shot at a record eighth women’s world title.