Carissa Moore competes in the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic on April 20, 2021 in Sydney, Australia.
In the last World Surf League Championship Tour event before the Olympic Games, Carissa Moore added plenty of suspense Sunday afternoon, but in the end the four-time world champion had to watch another surfer take a victory lap.
France’s Johanne Defay scored a 7.93 on her third ride and posted a total score of 16.63 in the finals to edge Moore and celebrate a victory at the Jeep Surf Ranch Pro in Lemoore, California. Moore made a late push to advance to Sunday’s finals and then she posted an 8.33 on her first ride of the finals then a 7.90 on her fourth and final ride to finish with a total score of 16.23. Defay celebrated her first victory of the season by pumping her right hand in the air as she was carried off the water. She spoiled a dramatic day for Moore.
As Moore was waiting on her surfboard in the semifinals, she learned she needed to score an 8.37 on her final run to advance to the finals. She caught a wave and turned in an aggressive run, using several big turns to score an 8.50 and move on to a showdown with Defay.
Moore was looking to capture her second title of the 2021 World Surf League season after winning the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup on April 10. Even after her defeat she will remain as the No. 1 surfer in the rankings as the tour pauses for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, where Moore will be one of four members of Team USA competing in surfing’s Olympic debut. The 28-year-old from Honolulu also clinched a spot in the inaugural WSL Final 5 and will compete for her fifth world title at the Rip Curl WSL Finals from Sept. 8-17 in San Clemente, California.