The World Title Battle: Carissa vs. Sally

Women's World Title Comes Down to Biarritz and Huntington

| posted on July 07, 2011

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.

  • Ben

    Look at that footage, and it becomes so, so clear: Carissa is, by far, the best female surfer ever in terms of power, tricks, and tuberiding. Sally (and every other woman on tour) is not even close.

  • http://I chris

    Watching the two vidieos it is overwhelmingly clear that carissa is so far ahead in her style, power and overall game. She absolutely kills it. No other female surfer in history can match what she is doing right now. I remember seeing her out at Lighthouse (Diamond Head) killing it when she was really small. I thought she was a guy the first time i saw her surf. I hope she clinches this first of many titles in France.

  • dman

    Carissa has such better style and is by far the BEST womens surfer out there now. What really is terrible is that there is no ending event in Hawaii? What is up with the sponsors? not making enough money selling your over priced clothes to SUPPORT the womens tour. sad

  • di

    con las dos me quito el sombrero ole ole y oleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • anna

    carissa really is the better of the two. even pro male surfers admit they can lose to a heat to her.

  • chard

    carissa is so hot right now. no one can come close. sally can over power carissa in a heat but she cant out surf her. plus carissa is the nicest person ever. i am team carissa all the way.

  • Gav

    To say that carissa is so far ahead of Sally is a myth! Both girls are peerless in their performances this year, but rating them on a couple of highlight reels is not an accurate nor fair way to compare.

    As far as being nice girls is concerned, they are on par there as well, both represent their sport and sponsors brilliantly, and both are kind natured loveable people in and out of the water.

    Carissa may have power manoeuvres that are stronger than Sall’s, but she definitely doesn’t have her beat in style, they are both stylish surfers in their own right, watch Bells and say Sally doesn’t have as good a style. And to say Sally “can’t out surf her” is ridiculous… it overpowering, call it what u want, she has beaten Carissa woman on woman twice this year in the final of a “surfing” contest.

    I think both girls are awesome, and wish them both the best in France, but the comments coming thru read like a bit of a sally beat down, so thought I’d try and even the scales a bit.

    And as an Aussie, I say GO SALLY, rip in and take this title race all the way to the last event!!

  • Kate

    While I’m a big fan of Steph Gilmore and I do believe she’ll make a stronger comback next year. However, its incredible to see how far women’s surfing has progressed. Sally and Carissa have risen the bar so high for female competitve surfing and the friendly rivalry between these girls makes it even more exciting. Chick surfers around the globe can relate to these girls and see them as powerful role models no matter what age you are.
    I’m hoping for big waves for this event! I hope it’s not a battle on chest high mush.

  • Bob Stewart

    You just cant count Sally out of a title after watching rip rip a messy hollow low tide wave at Back beach New Zealand. Rock on girl!

  • Max

    Carissa is also awesome, but others like Sally, Steph, Coco & Tyler are a big threat. In the openning event this year Tyler was locked deep into a barrel and would have combod Carissa – the only way out was for Carissa to use her priority to drop in on Tyler. Carissa still got a 7 point ride on the shoulder so Tyler would have got a 9 or 10..

    Tyler also came 2nd or 3rd in the Triple Crown last year and she is a year or two younger than all the other top rated girls so her time is yet to come. Steph won her first four professional years as world champ – so you can’t write her off any time soon. Coco also has the goods to beat anyone.

  • lady gaga

    Both these girls are awesome, but i must say, for the nature of the purpose above, congrats to Carissa’s team for editing a better clip and therefore winning the obvious vote.
    As much as i love Sally, i think it would be so fabulous for a Hawaiian Female to win a world title. Correct me if i am wrong, but there has never been a Hawaiian female Champ before and whilst i am an Aussie, taking the Title back to America post Layne and Steph domination, would start a really positive motion for female surfing… we all know how patriotic the yanks are!! Carissa for 2011…and next year, EFFING ASP, PUT THE GIRLS IN DECENT WAVES SO WE CAN SEE ALL OF THEM DOING WHAT CARISSA DOES ABOVE….YES, Coco, Steph, Tyler, Sally, even go as far as Conologue, can put on an epic show in dream waves, not 1ft mush like the ASP seem to commit to. Looks like the Biarritz title may go down in these conditions too. Sad face.

  • Josh

    The fact that Sally is even close to a WT this year, let alone close to Carissa is solely a result of fairly week surf and the judges NOT CARING at all about STYLE. Sally’s turns are so choppy, she sticks her butt way out both driving down the line and in bottom turns, and she waves her hands everywhere. It’s not even a comparison… seriously. I mean she rips, but she has no style whatsoever. I’m not trying to be rude or over exaggerate, its just the bare bones truth on the matter.

  • Mike Eaton

    I don’t mean to brag, and it’s apparent that her surfing speaks for itself, but since I first saw footage of Carissa at age 14 I told my wife & friends that she was the next Kelly Stater of Women’s surfing. It’s no surprise to me that 4 years later, she is not only schooling her female counterparts, but most male (myself included) surfers. No disrespect for Steph Gilmore, but comparatively, Carissa is to what Kelly Staler is to the rest of the men who have chased behind.
    She’s in a totally different league. She’s also very young, and I believe hasn’t peaked yet, so she has a very long career ahead of her. I will confirm from my briefly talking with her out in the water, that she seems to be a sweetheart; another comparative trait to Kelly. Charge hard and stay humble Girl.