The Fiji Women’s Pro concluded yesterday, marking the halfway point of the Women’s Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour. In beautiful Cloudbreak conditions, Johanne Defay (FRA) took the win over Carissa Moore (HAW).
Johanne was steady throughout the competition and peaked at the right time, accumulating her two highest heat totals of the event in the finals and semifinals. Defay consistently scored in the excellent range with well timed, powerful backhand hooks in the pocket. She combined multiple critical turns, surfing perfectly to the judging criteria. The win is Johanne Defay’s second on the Championship Tour, having won the Van’s U.S. Open of Surfing in 2015. Defay also moved into fourth place in the season standings, and into contention for the world championship.
Fellow finalist Carissa Moore was the standout surfer of the event. In all heats before the final, seven of her eight scoring waves were in the excellent range (above 8.0). Five of those waves were in the nine-point range and she had a perfect ten. Moore dominated by combining powerful turns and long, deep barrels. Of all the surfers in the field, Carissa looked the most comfortable in the barrel, actively seeking out the hollowest sections. However, by the finals, the wind came up and conditions deteriorated slightly. Carissa was unable to pick out the waves that were garnering nine point rides throughout the competition and finished with two wave total of only 10.70 to Johanne Defay’s 17.10.
The other standout surfer of the event was Bethany Hamilton. Most people know Bethany Hamilton for having survived a shark attack at the age of thirteen. Hamilton, who lost an arm in the attack, has inspired millions by returning to the water and surfing at an elite level. Make no mistake, Hamilton was not surfing in this event because of her amazing story. She is legitimately one of the world’s best surfers. She proved it early by taking out world number one Tyler Wright in the second round. Wright had won three of the first four events of the year. Since joining the Championship Tour in 2011 she had only been eliminated in the second round once. Hamilton, on the other hand, was the first event wildcard of the year to make it past the second round. She continued her run to the semifinals where she lost to eventual champion Johanne Defay.
Defay will look to continue her good form at the sixth stop, the Van’s U.S. Open of Surfing, where she is the defending champion. The event waiting period begins July 25th.