“fix your format.”
Carissa Moore is the true champion, yet she didn’t win.
For the third year in a row, Carissa Moore has entered the WSL Finals with a commanding points lead as the top qualifier. Far and away, she has been the most dominant and consistent surfer at every stop on tour.
Unfortunately, this is now the second year in a row she has come up short, letting the world title slip through her fingers.
In 2022, she was defeated by Steph Gilmore who steamrolled her way from the fifth seed to claim her record setting eighth world title.
This year, it was the 21 year old goofy footer from Florida, Caroline Marks, who spoiled the day for Carissa Moore, who is now just one of three in the new WSL Finals Day format.
In 2021, she bested Tatiana Weston-Webb to secure her fifth title.
For the last 15 years, the women’s World Title has been won by either Steph Gilmore (8), Tyler Wright (2), or Carissa Moore (5) — and all three are regular footers. The last time a goofy-footer won the title for the women was Chelsea Georgeson of Australia in 2005.
With Marks’ victory, both streaks are now broken.
Following Carissa’s loss this year at Lowers, fans from around the world have been up in arms, many arguing she should have seven titles to her current five. They lay their claims at the feet of Carissa having built up such substantial points leads going into each event.
After all, shouldn’t the world champion be the most consistent surfer throughout the year?
Some say yes, and condemn the new format to the depths.
While others, like Encyclopedia of Surfing Lordship, Matt Warsaw, have argued in favor of the current Finals format. In an article he wrote for BeachGrit, Warsaw contends the high stakes and shear amount of pressure it puts on competitors makes it more entertaining for the fans — and is that not what it’s intended to do?
That being said, he has fervently condemned the decision by the WSL to run it at Trestles for three years in a row, likening the decision to stepping on one’s own dick.
“Not boring, but not dependably exciting. The new Finals Day format is always exciting, and let’s give credit where it is due—thank you WSL, and thank you Erik Logan, you did us a solid there. Finals Day is the way to go.
In theory, anyway. Not in practice. Because the WSL never, ever does not step on its own dick, and holding Finals Day at Lower Trestles three years running is so aggressively and spectacularly wrong-headed that I would at this point vote to go back to the old format, with Pipeline as the last event of the year and the champ picked by aggregate points over the season.
Trestles for the first year? Okay, why not, make it easy on everybody I guess. Trestles three years in a row? That’s basically an insult, a fuck-you to the pros, to the fans, to the game.
Finals Day belongs in Indonesia or the South Pacific or maybe Hawaii if you really need to baby out and stay close to home. It does not belong anywhere near Lower Trestles, and keeping it there year after year turns this thing into a low-stakes hostage situation.”
Carissa Moore’s sister took to the WSL’s instagram to express her own discontent.
“Caroline surfed great, however I must say this format is not showing a true world champion – someone who shows up consistently at each event and has a wide range of attributes and skills through each location, wave, spot on tour through the year,” wrote Cayla. “This is extremely discouraging to people like my sister who show up number 1 seed 3x in a row, and are robbed of their hard work and effort all year long because of a ONE DAY event. Fix your format. The WSL Finals is not a good reflection of World Champions. 7 Xs for Riss”
Despite all of this, Carissa Moore has shown a true champion’s grace. She took to her own instagram, penning a heartfelt congratulations to Caroline Marks, who has notably looked up to Moore since she was a kid.
“This pic was from a few years ago in Tokyo… @caroline_markss massive congratulations on your first of what I’m sure will be many world titles. I knew it was only a matter of time and if you could come through what you went through last year, be stronger than ever. Really proud of you. Your story of determination, resilience and humanness will inspire many and empower young girls and women everywhere to believe in their own dreams and pursue them fearlessly. You will be and already are a great champion. Love you Caroline 💛”
What a wonderful example, and a true victory for humans everywhere.