Carissa Moore Claims 2011 Billabong Rio Pro Victory

By winning the 2011 Billabong Rio Pro, Carissa Moore has knocked reigning champion Stephanie Gilmore out of the running for the 2011 ASP Women's World Title. After four consecutive years of domination, Gilmore's run has come to an end.

Carissa Moore.  Photo: ASP / CESTARICarissa Moore racked up the results to defeat Sally Fitzgibbons and sieze the win at the 2011 Billabong Rio Pro, stop No. 5 of 7 on the 2011 ASP Women’s World Title Season.

The final day of women’s competition in Brazil culminated in dramatic fashion as Moore and Fitzgibbons were in a head-to-head battle after leaving the opening rounds with nearly matching scores. It wasn't until midway through the heat that Carissa Moore notched a solid 8.10 and set her third elite event victory of the 2011 season in stone.

“I just went out there and had fun and to me there was no pressure in the Final,” said Moore. “Obviously I’m happy that I won. The girls really didn’t go on those lefts, but they worked out for me today.”

Moore, who marched past local favorite Silvana Lima to earn her final berth, appeared in her fifth consecutive final out of the five events held this year and her victory at the Billabong Rio Pro extends her lead on the 2011 ASP Women’s World Title Season over current ASP Women’s World No. 2 Sally Fitzgibbons.

“I was really nervous that I wouldn’t make the Final because I was up against Silvana (Lima) and she’s the local favorite,” Moore said. ““I’m excited. We have two events left and it’d be nice to just finish really strong.”

Fitzgibbons built momentum throughout the Billabong Rio Pro, winning her non-elimination Round 3 heat before topping ASP Women’s World Tour Rookie Pauline Ado and Stephanie Gilmore but was unable to find the score needed to surpass Moore in the final and continues to trail the Oahu prodigy for the 2011 ASP Women’s World Title.

“It’s a long year and there are a couple of events to go and it has been great here competing in Rio for the first time,” Fitzgibbons said. “Looking into the next few events it’s really going to be about stepping it up and having fun and focusing on my surfing. Hopefully I can get a few more results.”

After Brazil, Moore and Fitzgibbons remain the only two surfers in contention for the 2011 ASP Women’s World Title. Stephanie Gilmore, reigning four-time ASP World Champion, was lethal in her Quarterfinals heat against Laura Enever, but was unable to find the score needed to surpass Fitzgibbons in their Semifinals matchup, finishing Equal 3rd overall.

“It was tough work out there,” said Gilmore. “Sally (Fitzgibbons) got a couple and I had some opportunities. I only needed a six and was too deep on that wave that came in at the end. Sally’s in the zone right now.”

Stephanie Gilmore, who made surfing history by winning four ASP Women’s World Titles in a row, was knocked out of the 2011 ASP Women’s World Title race today. The results of the Billabong Rio Pro proved emotional for the Australian icon.

“I’m going through so many emotions right now, it’s hard,” Gilmore said. “It’s been a pretty good year and Sally and Carissa (Moore) have been on fire. It’s good for the sport and good for me. I really don’t know what to say.”

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