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Olympic-Bound Surfer Carissa Moore Finishes Runner Up At Season-Opening Maui Pro

By Todd Kortemeier | Dec. 20, 2020, 9:26 p.m. (ET)

Carissa Moore competes in the repechage heats of the World Surfing Games at Kisakihama Beach on Sept. 10, 2019 in Miyazaki, Japan.


Carissa Moore came up just short in the World Surf League season opener Sunday, but she keeps piling up historic moments at the Maui Pro.

It was just over a year ago that Moore not only clinched her fourth world title at the competition in her home state, but also became the first U.S. woman to qualify for the debut of surfing at the Olympic Games. Moore came in third that day, but did one round better this time, making the final but falling to Australia’s Tyler Wright in a close battle, 8.34-7.23. Waves were at a premium and Moore looked to snatch the lead within the final minute only for Wright to retake it with the final ride of the day. 

Sunday was the first women’s Championship Tour final held at the world-famous Banzai Pipeline, where the Maui Pro moved during the quarterfinals after Moore had already advanced. Moore showed she could handle the Pipeline, handily winning her semifinal earlier Sunday over Brazil’s Tatiana Weston-Webb, 16.60-2.47.

The 28-year-old is off to a great start in pursuit of her fifth world championship and ahead of a year in which she will make her Olympic debut. Moore already had three world titles to her name coming into last year, but was especially dominant in 2019. She won two events, and never finished lower than fifth. Dating back to 2010, when Moore joined the Championship Tour full time, she’s never finished lower than third in the overall standings. 

While Moore having success at the Maui Pro is nothing new, just about everything else about this year’s competition was different. While last year’s Maui Pro was the final event of the women’s Championship Tour, this time it was the season opener as part of a revamped schedule necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

And while the event began at Maui’s Honolua Bay, it ended on the Pipeline, longtime host of the men’s Pipeline Masters event but a first for the women’s Championship Tour. The historic event was unfortunately the result of tragedy, a shark attack in the bay that killed a recreational surfer on Dec. 8.

Todd Kortemeier

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Carissa Moore