Five-time world champion Carissa Moore has booked her spot in the World Surf League finals with a heroic win in Brazil to further extend her lead in the rankings over Australian Stephanie Gilmore.
Moore left it late to edge France’s Johanne Defay in the final near Rio de Janeiro, marking the 25th tour victory of her career.
The Hawaiian star had a near-perfect wave score of 9.50 to win the decider on Tuesday – the highest of the women’s event.
“This is one of my favourite wins in my whole career,” Moore, who beat Defay 15.43 to 12.33, said.
“Coming up against my good friend Johanne Defay is always difficult.
“I was behind in the whole heat and I thought that I was probably going to get another second place here, but things went my way.”
Moore’s result in Brazil means she has clinched a spot in the WSL final-five in September, putting her in the box-seat to secure a sixth world title.
“Wow, I didn’t even know it was possible here, but I’m really, really stoked,” Moore said.
“That’s really cool, it takes some pressure off.”
World No.3 Stephanie Gilmore was ousted earlier in the event in a blow to her hopes of securing an eighth world title.
Gilmore is now behind Moore, Defay and American Lakey Peterson in the rankings.
Meanwhile, local hero Filipe Toledo won the Brazil event for the fourth time, scoring a perfect 10 wave score in the final against countryman Samuel Pupo.
Toledo was unstoppable with his 18.67 in the final, the highest heat total of the event, easily beating Pupo’s 10.73.
Brazilians dominated the men’s side of the contest at Saquarema, near Rio de Janeiro, taking all four semi-final berths for the first time.
“I feel completely blessed for being in this position and sharing this moment with my family, friends and this amazing crowd,” Toledo said.
“It was a historic moment for us Brazilian athletes and the crowd was a class act, showed love to everyone and made this one of the most magical events ever.”
Toledo has equalled the record set by Australian Dave Macaulay, who earned four tour wins in Brazil in 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1993.