HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. >> She’s only 20, but Hawaii’s Carissa Moore has taken the waters of women’s surfing by storm, notching her second title at the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing.
Accompanying Moore’s win on Sunday over California native Courtney Conlogue is a $15,000 purse, but Moore also jumped into first place on the ASP Women’s World Championship tour with only two events left in the season.
"It feels amazing to win the U.S. Open two times. It’s just such a wonderful feeling," Moore said. "It was such an exciting finish with Courtney. I was so nervous coming down to the last wave, but that’s what makes our sport so great."
Moore cruised out to an early lead in the 35-minute final, but Conlogue made a furious comeback, including a scintillating run with a minute left that had the entire event eagerly awaiting a final score. But ultimately, Conlogue fell 0.73 points short of her opponent.
"When I heard the crowd roar, I had thought I lost it," Moore said. "But I had faith and it all worked out."
Brazil’s Alejo Muniz won the men’s title, overcoming local favorite Kolohe Andino in Sunday’s final.
As Muniz was carried through the crowd after finishing off his win, he raised his fingers to the sky while a fan draped a Brazilian flag around his back. The flag read "Ordem e Progresso" ("Order and Progress"), although it was the disorder in his life that had caused him to come to tears.
Four years to the day, his grandfather died. Two weeks ago, his grandmother followed. Yet, nothing could take his eyes off the sky above him at Huntington Beach.
"In the end, I knew they were sending those waves to me. That is why I pointed to the sky," Muniz said. "I really believe it and I know they were with me all the time. They’re happy. I know it."
With the win, and accompanying $100,000 prize, Muniz became a national hero: the first Brazilian to win the U.S. Open of Surfing.
—Andrew Gastelum / Los Angeles Times