Champions Crowned at Target Maui Pro

All Photos: Quincy Dein

Before 2014 you would’ve been hard-pressed to find anyone calling the Women’s WCT a “Dream Tour.” Then came the new ASP, pumping millions in prize money and adding three stellar events: Fiji, Lowers and Honolua Bay onto the schedule.

What resulted from this change? Only the greatest World Title race in Women’s surfing history and a group of girls that could rival any pack of female athletes in the world. They truly are an amazing bunch.

In a year when making the semi-finals was a bad result for your World Title hopes, three girls came into Thanksgiving Day with a chance. When Steph lost to a dangerous Courtney Conlogue in the Quarters, she left the door wide open for Sally Fitzgibbons and Tyler Wright.

Sally could now claim her first World Title with a win at the Target Maui Pro. When she lost by a narrow margin in the very next heat to Bianca Buitendag, you could feel her pain.

Tyler was now in line and seemed somewhat unstoppable over on the easier side of the draw. If Tyler won the event, she would’ve battled Steph in the 1st ever world title “Surf Off” in WCT history.

That’s when disaster struck, in the form of nemesis Carissa Moore. Tyler had previously met Carissa nine times in her career, only winning twice. Enter the Final of the Target Women’s Pro and the edge was clearly owned by the two-time champ.

Carissa, although eliminated from title contention, had much to prove. At home in Hawaii, surfing in an event supported by her main sponsor, and failing to defend her title for the second straight time… there was only one thing left to do: wreck dreams.

She dropped 9.73 nail in the coffin with just under 5-minutes remaining, leaving Tyler in the dust and much to the applause of Steph Gilmore. It was sealed. Six World Titles for the 26 year old from Coolangatta, Australia. Only one shy of Layne Beachley’s record.

Congrats Steph. Congrats Carissa. Congrats ASP. Congrats Women’s surfing. That was special to witness. Happy Thanksgiving!