If you were to wager some bets this past Saturday on who would be crowned the 2008 Reef Hawaiian Pro Women’s Champion, the odds would be stacked in Carissa Moore’s favor. The winningest competitor in NSSA history had slightly vanished this past year as she focused on school rather than a full WQS campaign. But showing up to try and advance into the regular rounds of the event via a winner-take-all surf-off, Carissa was clearly a different — and focused — individual. The once Roxy wonder girl had just inked major deals with Red Bull, Nike 6.0 and a soon-to-be-named department store chain and was clearly out to prove that she hadn’t gone anywhere.
And she didn’t. Not in Round One. Or Two. Or the Quarters or Semis. She would not lose or cease to dominate or disappear, no matter who she was up against. Peers like Alana Blanchard went down to her. Heroes like Layne Beachley went down to her. And although fellow competitors and finalists Coco Ho, Laura Enever and Beachely put up high stakes surfing as the rounds unfolded and peaked in the Final, you would have still been pressed to find a gambler that didn’t have it all on the little girl in the yellow singlet.
Though the north swell that had been predicted showed up Thursday with perfect weather in tow, good sets were coming in slowly. The bowly rights that offer up the fastest, most rippable walls here at Haleiwa were shutting down because of the swell direction and the lefts — although much slower — were the main course.
Although Enever went to work the fastest and grabbed the most waves, it was clear that the fight was between Moore and 7X World Champ Beachely. But in any good fight, sometimes you could use a little backup. With less than minute remaining, Layne needed a 6.68 to overtake Moore and out on the horizon, it appeared things would go her way. But knowing she had already folded her cards, Coco Ho pulled the stiff-arm card, snuck inside, burned Beachley, popped an air on the one section that would have given the veteran a chance to take the lead and kicked out. What was left for Beachely was a piddly line draining into Toilet Bowls. Hardly a 6.68. Time was out and Moore was sitting out the back a winner.
“It was pretty good Hawaiian teamwork,” Beachley said after the awards ceremony. “I’m sure if Coco kicked out of that wave I could have still hit the lip, but as I was bottom turning I saw her go for an air and, well, that just ruins any chance of doing anything.
That’s what happens here in Hawaii,” Beachley continued. “But also, getting off to a slow start put extra pressure on me. You can only control what’s coming instead of what just happens.”
Sixteen-year-old Moore, who had clearly out-surfed the girls contingent this week, was shell-shocked as she accepted her $4,500.00 winner’s check.
“It’s pretty cool,” the Punahou High School Junior said. “It was my dream to one day win out here and I’m really happy.”
With the win, Carissa picks up 2,500 WQS points — a massive start to a full-time ’QS campaign when she is ready. And when that time comes, all bets are off…this girl will be a world champion.
While the girls exited the podium, the Men’s Round of 64 action was already underway. Top seeds were showing up psyched, trained, hung-over, whatever. Point is, they showed up, did their best to poise themselves for Triple Crown glory.
But it was Huntington Beach, CA’s Timmy Reyes that led the charge, posting the highest heat total of the day (15.64) with a full-rail assault on the rights racing across the lineup. Meanwhile, greenhorns Brett Simpson and Tonino Benson ousted big-timers Mick Fanning and Yadin Nichol in the first heat of the morning, while Roy Powers showed up later in the day firing on all cylinders and ready to defend his Reef Hawaiian Pro title.
Unlike the girls, the odds are spread pretty even in the Men’s match-ups, so as we enter the final day of competition, it’s anyone’s game.
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