Carissa Moore claims her second Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach title.
Black beanies, blue beanies, red beanies, cuffed beanies and animal beanies. There are beanies everywhere you look at the Rip Curl Pro. Torquay is cold, really cold and this morning it’s extra icy. The 3-4 foot clean swell greeted the coffee clasping media who are rubbing their hands with glee. Today the event will wrap. Two champions will be crowned and everyone is happy.
Darlings Carissa More and Sally Fitzgibbons are already in the water. Semifinal one will be explosive. Sally, wearing the unfortunate title of tour bridesmaid has been runner up for three world titles in her career. Hawaiian Carissa Moore's career as a competitive surfer is like burning light, bright enough to light up Honolulu with two world titles at the rip age of 21.
Their semi is haunted with lulls. There will only be three bites of the cherry for each surfer. Sally stays busy and her competitive drive keeps her in the hunt despite Carissa with slender lead. With forty seconds to go Sally scoops into a wave that runs down the bowl, packs in four turns, and tags it on shore, throwing a claim up to the judges. She needs a 4.77. “That’s a four any day of the week,” says Rod Brooks. It's about to be the first of many big calls the judges make today.
On the stairs there’s an air of uncertainty surrounding the result. Carissa walks up dripping wet and expressionless. The score comes in at a 4.20 and the semi goes to the Hawaiian. Sally storms past fighting back the tears. It’s an awkward moment. “It feels good to get one over Sally but I have to admit not like this I would prefer to have it come down to us both surfing a lot and surfing our best,” says Riss.
Katie Perry’s single 'firework' is burning my ears. Tyler’s approach to a pre heat warm up is unorthodox to say the least. A dance off with your entourage wouldn’t be routine for Taj Burrow and Johnny Gannon but it is for Tyler Wright. Limbered up she bounces down the stairs armed with a soundtrack of cheesy tunes ready to face Stephanie Gilmore.
Steph’s time spent on single fins has translated to a buttery flow and she’s oozing with style. The girls exchange a flurry of waves with the ocean in apparent surplus, with plenty of waves to stamp their authority. They handball the lead before Tyler locks onto a game changer. As if on queue brother Mikey stammers, “I think she just needs to have fun.” She adds a 9.00 to her account and the day’s standard has been set. Backing it up with an 8.77 she seals her spot in the final.
Tyler Wright now has her shot at redemption. Hells Bells reverberate out of the speakers to mark the final between the two girls who have let the Men's quarterfinals skid past before the final. A a set lurches up and marches towards both girls. Arms rolling forward they spin into the bowl, angling turns up and into the lip, scoring identically on the first exchange. Tyler’s camp are nervously smiling, fidgeting and feeding on fingernails. Carissa’s coach and father remain poker faced and fixated on the lineup as their prizefighters duke it out.
Mid way through the heat Carissa strokes into her third wave of the final. It’s a beauty. Three sweeping power carves as she tracks into the bowl and finishes with a Larry layback emphasising her variety. It’s an 8.73 and the highest score of the final. Not to be outdone Tyler Wright is about to add to the judge’s nightmare, producing another volley of huge open faced carves and clean finish that warrants an 8.27. If you were to be critical, Tyler didn’t quite get the projection out of her two turns compared to Carissa’s, but only just.
With less than a minute to go and only half a point separating the two a set presents on the horizon. Everyone starts whistling, Tyler has priority and gets to her feet as the hooter sounds. But Carissa has paddled her up the point, just far enough to leave her too deep and she gets caught behind the bowl.
Carissa is embraced by a surge of grommets that flock like a pack of seagulls before she’s boosted onto the shoulders of her sponsors. Her smile is like a split watermelon as she high fives Cahill Bell-Warin who has been providing local knowledge all week. Tyler runs up the stairs and joins in the celebrations. Everyone hugs it out and celebrates and epic final. For Carissa she adds second bell to the mantle and a stranglehold on world number one while Tyler will have to take solace in another podium finish.