Moore and Medina win 2021 world titles at Pumping Lowers
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Epic performances and surf make Rip Curl WSL’s inaugural final a smash hit
By Jake Howard
In what could have been the most intense and pressurized day of competition ever at the Lower Trestles, Hawaiian Carissa Moore and Brazilian Gabriel Medina won the first Rip Curl WSL final to win the women’s world titles. and men’s 2021. For Moore, the victory crowned one of the most brilliant competitive seasons in surfing history. After dominating the WSL Championship Tour all season, Moore also became the first Olympic surfing gold medalist in early summer. Coming to the Rip Curl WSL Finals as the No.1 seed, she put a lifetime of competitive Lowers to good use, beating Brazil’s Tatiana Weston-Webb in the final to claim her fifth world title. The feat puts her just two titles off the women’s record of seven, shared by Australians Layne Beachley and Stephanie Gilmore.
“It’s been a long year, and it’s been a really long day,” Moore said afterward. “Today did not start as I expected; I had to fight to come back, so it made the victory a bit more enjoyable. I was about to crack after the first round. I did my best, I surfed with my heart, and it worked. I’ve never been in the water to win a world title so it’s very special. I couldn’t ask for anything more! Much like Moore, Medina has dominated all season. Perhaps the most eye-catching surfer on the Championship Tour today, even the pressure of Finals day didn’t shake him, as he sculpted and soared to his third world title. For the win, Medina joins legends Tom Curren, Andy Irons and Mick Fanning with three world titles. The only surfers with more are Mark Richards, who won four titles in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and Kelly Slater, who holds the overall record with 11 world titles. “It was my biggest goal in surfing,” said Medina. “It’s not every day that you make your dream come true. It’s a special day for me; it is a day that I will remember forever and tell my children about. This year has been very intense and mentally stimulating, I had to work hard, have patience and let my surf do the talking. I had to surf a lot to win this title! In what has been dubbed by surfing media as “the Brazilian storm,” Medina faced San Clemente resident Filipe Toledo in the final. Originally from Ubatuba, São Paulo, Brazil, Toledo and his family have lived in the city for several years, and he and his younger brother regularly participate in local training when they are in town. “I really worked on the process of waiting for the perfect wave,” said Toledo after the final. “I tried to be patient, to choose the right one and to have the confidence to do it.” With thrilling 6-8 foot surf all day long, pristine and glassy conditions and a beach packed with rabid surf fans, this new WSL Finals format offered a full day of high performance surfing, intense drama and, at the same time, Finally, seeing the world championships crowned in San Clemente will no doubt inspire the next generation of local children to aim for the stars. And while the WSL Championship Tour season is over, there’s still plenty of surfing action to come. This weekend, the Supergirl Pro arrives at Oceanside. And next week, the US Open kicks off in Huntington Beach.
RIP CURL WSL 2021 FINAL RESULTS
1. Carissa Moore 2. Tatiana Weston-Webb 3. Sally Fitzgibbons 4. Johanne Defay 5. Stéphanie Gilmore
1. Gabriel Medina 2. Filipe Toledo 3. Italo Ferreira 4. Conner Coffin 5. Morgan Cibilic
Jake Howard is a local surfer and freelance writer who lives in San Clemente. Former editor-in-chief of Surfer Magazine, The Surfer’s Journal and ESPN, he now writes for a number of publications including Picket Fence Media, Surfline and the World Surf League. He also works with philanthropic organizations such as the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center and the Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation.
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