The World Title Battle: Carissa vs. Sally

Women's World Title Comes Down to Biarritz and Huntington

Carissa Moore, current World Tour No. 1. Photo: Sean Rowland/Red Bull Content Pool

At this very moment, it’s quite likely that a cargo plane filled with Nike “World Champ Carissa Moore” neon trucker hats is en route to France in anticipation of a world-championship-crowning victory at Women’s World Tour event No. 6 next week.

Carissa leads in the ratings, but Sally Fitzgibbons is not far behind—meaning it’s highly probable Roxy has also begun screen-printing mass quantities of World Champ memorabilia in the hopes that the current leader will falter and the title will come down to the final Women’s World Tour event at Huntington Beach next month (Yes, the final event of the Tour is in August, and yes, the final event is at Huntington.).

The rivalry between the two this year thus far has been intense. The two have met each other in the Finals three times so far, and Sally has taken Carissa out on two of those occasions. Total event win tally this season: Carissa: 3, Sally: 2.

Sally Fitzgibbons, World No. 2 and the only surfer on the Women's Tour capable of taking the title from Carissa this year. Photo: Damea Dorsey/Red Bull Content Pool

“It’s been a great battle,” says Sally. “We’ve been going up on opposite sides of the draw and meeting up in the finals. I’ve known Carissa since I was super young and I know she has that same passion and hunger to win as I do. She’s a great competitor and we’re great friends. Anything’s possible, but she does have a good lead at this stage. But I don’t mind being the underdog—it’s sort of the Australian way to come from behind. It’s going to take something pretty special though.”

So it comes down to two events, events that conveniently belong to the sponsors of the two world title contenders. Without much swell expected for the Roxy Pro contest window next week, luck will likely prove to be the best ally. “Out of all the girls on Tour,” says Carissa, “Sally and I have a similar work ethic. I really get along with her out of the water, and when it comes to competing we both really want it and we’re both really pushing each other.”

While Carissa may be the likely World Champ, Sally came from behind at Bells this year, and she's highly capable of a come-from-behind victory yet again. Photo: Ted Grambeau/Red Bull Content Pool

You’d be hard-pressed to find two girls more determined, or more well-matched. When asked what a title would mean to them, they had this to say:

Sally Fitzgibbons: “It’s the ultimate goal. Ever since I was young, I always wanted to be a world champion in whatever sport. I didn’t know I was going to be a surfer in the end, but I’ve always had that dream of being the best in the world. It’d be a dream, and if it doesn’t happen this year, I’ll be there next year working towards it.”

Carissa Moore: “I’ve wanted a world title since I was really little, and even to be this close to a world title with one other girl is pretty crazy to me when I think about it. I haven’t really thought too much about what if I won? What would happen? What would change? I don’t want to jump the gun, because I feel like out of anyone out there Sally is really on point and she definitely could win two more events. So I’m just going to embrace the next few weeks and hopefully it works out.”


Here’s the breakdown of possible outcomes:

If Carissa gets 1st in France, she clinches the World Title.

If Carissa gets 2nd in France, Sally needs to win to still be in the running; If Sally gets 3rd or less it’s over.

If Carissa gets 3rd in France, Sally needs to win to still be in the running; If Sally gets 2nd or less it’s over.

If Carissa gets 5th in France, Sally needs a 2nd or better to still be in the running.

If Carissa gets 9th in France, the title decision goes to the US Open.

Watch these two videos and you decide who deserves the 2011 World Title, and whose world-title schwag should be shipped off to Third World orphans, never to be seen again.