Moore surfs to first ASP win
A month before taking her final exams for high school, Carissa Moore of Honolulu turned in a near-perfect surfing final to win the TSB Bank Women's Surf Festival on Friday at New Zealand.
Moore had a two-wave score of 19.16 out of 20 to defeat Australia's Sally Fitzgibbons in the one-on-one final.
Moore, who is a senior at Punahou School, is in her rookie season on the ASP Women's World Tour, and this was her first victory of the year.
"I wasn't very happy with the start of my year," Moore said. "I expected more out of myself and couldn't figure out what was going on. Things really fell into place for me here in New Zealand, and it's a great result for my campaign this year."
Moore entered the event ranked No. 9, and is now No. 6 in the world rankings.
The final day of the three-day contest was completed in 3- to 5-foot waves at Fitzroy Beach, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Moore, 17, won three heats during the day, and saved her best performance for the 35-minute final.
Her first wave in the opening minutes of the heat received a near-perfect score of 9.33 (out of 10) to give her a lead she would not relinquish.
Midway through the heat, Moore secured the win with a 9.83 after completing a series of precise carving moves across a long left-handed wave.
"The conditions definitely turned on for us this afternoon and I knew I couldn't leave Sally (Fitzgibbons) a lot of room to maneuver," Moore said. "She has been getting the highest scores every round and she's so dangerous. I just felt like I was building momentum throughout the event and fortunately peaked in the final."
Fitzgibbons, who is ranked No. 2 in the world, finished with a respectable score of 16.17 for her two best waves.
"It's frustrating but Carissa just went mad in the final," Fitzgibbons said. "The waves were really good, and it was an exciting heat. I'm disappointed to not get the win, but it's still a good result for me."
Moore received $15,000 for the victory and donated the first-place check to the Waitara Bar Boardriders Club of New Zealand.
"I fell in love with New Zealand and I'm fortunate enough to have great support from my family and my sponsors and that puts me in a position to do things like this," Moore said. "The haka that the Waitara Bar Boardriders Club performed before the event was beautiful and they've really opened up their community and waves to us. For this, I am very thankful."
Earlier in the day, Moore defeated Wai'anae's Melanie Bartels in a quarterfinal heat, 14.17-8.33. Moore then beat New Zealand wildcard Sarah Mason in the semifinals, 14.56-11.33.
The contest was the third stop on the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour.
Australia's Stephanie Gilmore — the three-time defending world champion — is ranked No. 1.
Among the Hawai'i surfers, Bartels is No. 4, Moore is No. 6, and Coco Ho of Sunset Beach is No. 7.
The next stop on the women's tour will be the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic held at Dee Why Point in Sydney, Australia, from April 21 through 26.