Ferreira scores a ten in Final to grab the Jeep Leader jersey while Moore falls short in quest for fourth World Title.
The swell filled in, the sun burned down and the World Title race will now, thankfully, head to Hawaii. Italo Ferreira claimed his second CT win of the year, backing up his win at the Goldy, and did it with real style. His opening gambit in the Final against Jordy Smith was a massive backside rotation which scored a 10 that was a fitting end to a dominant display.
Once Medina self-harmed, no one could come close to Italo’s energy, progression and ability to continually stick huge moves. After the win he takes the Jeep Leader’s Jersey, although both Medina and Smith are now within a 1000 points. Filipe Toledo, who was taken down by Kanoa Igarashi in the Quarters, is another 1000 odds points back and remains in the mix. Smith scored his third runner-up at Portugal and now hasn’t a Final win since Bells back in 2017. Still, he will be happy leaving Portugal being closer to a World Title going into Pipe than at any other time in his career.
However the momentum is clearly with Ferreira. His ascent to bona fide World Title contender last year is now completed. He’s racked up five CT wins in the last two years, or one in every four, a feat only matched by Medina. Today on Final’s Day he logged two heat totals above 18 and had the air of invincibility that comes when he is competing at a different level to all his peers. He surfs best when there is power to match his progression and when simply catching waves is the best heat strategy. No one could touch him today.
Now he might not have the Pipe reputation or results of Medina, but he is a complete surfer and like his compatriot is willing to do whatever it takes to win. Smith, who has moved to Hawaii recently, has made a conscious decision to up his comfort levels on the North Shore, can’t be discounted. Gabe will be favourite, but compared to a week ago when the race looked almost dead and buried, the year has now suddenly sparked into a life.
In the Women’s Carissa Moore entered the day knowing that three heat wins would guarantee her a fourth World Title. She only managed one however, with Lakey Peterson keeping he slims hopes alive with a Semifinal win, her third victory over Moore this year. However a defeat to Caroline Marks in the Final meant she couldn’t capitalise fully. Both Marks and Peterson now have a mathematical chance of World Title at Moore’s successful stomping ground in Maui, but the veteran’s 3000 point lead means those chances remain as skinny as minute to six.
It was day that, finally, saw what Supertubos can bring, even if surf fans have had to wade through serious dross for 10 days to stay involved. In the end they were rewarded, not just with Ferreira’s pyrotechnics, but the best set of results for setting up a dramatic finishes in both races in Hawaii.