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Carissa Moore becomes first surfer to win Olympic and world titles in same year

Rip Curl WSL FInals

SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA, USA - SEPTEMBER 14: Four-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore of Hawaii after winning the Title Match of the Rip Curl WSL Finals on September 14, 2021 at Lower Trestles, San Clemente, California. (Photo by Pat Nolan/World Surf League via Getty Images)

World Surf League via Getty Imag

Carissa Moore became the first woman to win Olympic surfing gold in the sport’s debut on July 27, and she is now the first surfer of either gender to win both the Olympic and world titles in the same year.

The 29-year-old surfing hall of famer won the World Surf League world title on Tuesday at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California.

This is Moore’s fifth world title, adding to her 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2019 victories. In 2019 she became the first Hawaiian to win four world titles and is now the first non-Australian woman to win five. Only Layne Beachley (7) and Stephanie Gilmore (6) have more among women.

Athletes from Hawaii compete under the state flag, a nod to the sport’s birthplace, at WSL events, while Americans from the other 49 states compete with the U.S. flag.

ON HER TURF: “I’ve never been in the water and won a world title,” Moore said

Also on Tuesday, 27-year-old Brazilian Gabriel Medina won the men’s world title after also doing so in 2014 and 2018. He was already the first Brazilian to win multiple and now becomes the first surfer to reach three from a nation other than Australia or the U.S. (inclusive of Hawaii).

The Championship Tour format changed this season. Previously, the athlete who accumulated the most points throughout the 10- or 11-event Championship Tour season was crowned world champion. Starting in 2021, the top five athletes at the end of the regular-season rankings compete at a WSL Finals.

The top ranked athlete is given a bye to the best-of-three title match.

In the women’s competition, Gilmore was taken out in the first match by France’s Johanne Defay; they had tied for fourth in the season. Gilmore’s compatriot Sally Fitzgibbons beat Defay in the second match before falling to No. 2 Tatiana Weston-Webb in the third.

Weston-Webb won her first heat against Moore, 15.20 to 14.06 (a two-wave combined score), making a case to become the first Brazilian women’s world champion. But Moore came back to win the next two heats, scoring the day’s three highest single-wave scores of 8.33, 8.6 and 8.93 (out of 10) and secure the world title once again.

In the men’s finals, No. 4 American Conner Coffin came out on top of Australia’s Morgan Cibilic, who at age 21 was on his first full season on tour, then lost to Filipe Toledo, one of three Brazilians in the men’s event.

Toledo then topped reigning Olympic and world champion Italo Ferreira, 15.97 to 12.44, but lost both the first and second heats to Medina in the title match. Medina had the best two scores of the day with a 9.00 in the first heat and 9.03 in the second.

The 2022 Championship Tour begins in January at Banzai Pipeline in Oahu, Hawaii.

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