Women’s WSL Final 5 Confirmed with Defay, Fitzgibbons, Gilmore, and Weston-Webb Joining Moore
Johanne Defay (FRA), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), and Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) will join Carissa Moore (HAW) in the WSL Final 5 and compete at the World Title-deciding Rip Curl WSL Finals at Lower Trestles next month.
Although Defay and Weston-Webb clinched their spots at the first-ever WSL Finals, they both were defeated in the Quarterfinals and are out of the Corona Open Mexico. Defay got eliminated by Malia Manuel (HAW), who is currently No. 10 on the WSL Leaderboard and needs to win this event in order to re-qualify for the CT next year.
“I’m so happy about it,” said Defay. “We didn’t compete for a year, so the goal this year was just to step back into the competition and get good results. I’m super happy I’m a part of the first-ever Top 5.”
Seven-time WSL Champion Gilmore took the win in Heat 4 against Weston-Webb and also clinched her spot in the WSL Final 5. Gilmore was fighting for a spot with Courtney Conlogue (USA) and rookie Isabella Nichols (AUS) but secured her spot after both surfers got eliminated in the Quarterfinals.
“Once I heard that Tahiti was canceled I knew this was the event to make it happen,” said Gilmore. “I couldn’t let the foot off the gas here, because I wanted to make sure I had a shot into the Finals. So it’s amazing to be in it.”
“I’m really proud of myself,” said Weston-Webb. “It’s been a really long year, full of challenges for everyone. So I’m just really proud of how my team is so well put together, full of love and light. I’m very grateful.”
Fitzgibbons’ battle with Conlogue unfolded with a showcase of forehand attacks from two CT veterans. Both found opportunities to release their signature power and flair but in the end, Fitzgibbons’ rhythm with the ocean proved to be her winning factor. With the win, Fitzgibbons secured her spot in the WSL Final 5.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Fitzgibbons. “I believed it was possible. I’ve tried to grow and expand my game and that’s just the first step. Just getting the opportunity and letting my surfing breathe at Lowers for some high-risk surfing – this whole season’s been a warmup for that.”
World No. 1 Moore decimated rookie sensation Nichols’ hopes of making a second Final in her first year among the world’s best with a blinding performance – earning an event-high 9.80 and 17.47. The four-time WSL Champion and Olympic gold medalist continues to look unstoppable heading into the WSL Finals with a seventh-straight Semifinal appearance.