Last year, we saw one of the closest title races in the history of women’s professional surfing.
That race ended with Carissa Moore winning the Maui Target Pro final against Stephanie Gilmore’s Title contender, Tyler Wright. Not only did that win hand Gilmore her sixth world title, but it also gave Moore the momentum to come out of the gates swinging at the beginning of 2015. She won the first two contests of the year.
Courtney Conlogue followed Carissa’s two wins with two of her own just like that, the 2015 World Title race was born. For the remainder of the year, Moore and Conlogue have row sham bowed for the first place position. Which brings us to here and now, December at Honolua Bay, where it all started with Moore’s win last year.
Honolua Bay laid dormant through the start of this year’s waiting period, but that all changed yesterday. Yesterday’s “opening heats” were more like the entire first half of the contest. The day started with Carissa Moore dominating her first heat with a 16.something heat total heat, which would really piss me off if I was a World Title contender.
But Courtney Conlogue is not me. She is good at power surfing, bad at letting her rival’s impressive opening heat get in her head. Courtney started her morning with an 8-point ride which put a heat win right in her pocket. The wins sent both women, along with the World Title race, directly to Round 3.
Neither Malia Manuel and Tatiana Weston-Webb could hold Carissa back in Round 3. Conlogue, however, didn’t have such luck. She was thrown a huge curve ball at the hands of Nikki Van Dijk won and will now have to surf Round 4 tomorrow. There’s a whole lot hinging on that heat.
Here are the Title scenarios moving forward.
If Moore finishes in 5th then Conlogue must win the event. If Conlogue finishes runner-up instead, there would be a surf-off for the Title.
If Moore finishes third (Semifinals), then Conlogue must win the event..
If Moore finishes runner-up, she will win the World Title.
Should be interesting. We’ll keep you informed. —Jacob Coppes