A clash of phenoms will kick off the Rip Curl WSL Finals, as Oceanside, California’s own Caitlin Simmers (USA) takes on 2023 season standout Molly Picklum (AUS). Both are at the forefront of the next generation’s surge in progressive surfing.
“I’m just grateful that it all happened because I wasn’t expecting to be here at the end of the year,” said Simmers. “I made it so much farther than I was planning on making it, so I feel like I have nothing to lose, but there’s the competitive side of me that wants to win. It feels good to be closer to home after a hectic year of being everywhere around the world. Hopefully, I can do it, and if everything goes right, then it’ll happen.”
A marathon Rip Curl WSL Finals day awaits for the likes of Simmers and former Final 5 competitor, Jack Robinson (AUS), who are both seeded at No. 5 and have the longest path to achieve a World Title. Simmers will have to make it past Picklum, Caroline Marks (USA), and Tyler Wright (AUS) in order to reach five-time World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) in the Title Match.
If Robinson can make it past Joao Chianca (BRA) in Match 1, he will then challenge World No. 3 Ethan Ewing (AUS). Whoever wins will have a shot at being the first man to bring home a World Title for Australia since Mick Fanning in 2013. But, No. 2 seed and San Clemente local, Griffin Colapinto (USA), awaits in Match 3 and is eager to win his first World Title at home.
All roads lead to the grand finale, the Title Matches with Moore and defending World Champion Filipe Toledo (BRA). Moore finished runner-up to Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) last season and is hoping to achieve her 6th World Title today.
“I’m so happy to be back here at Lower Trestles,” said Moore. “It was really important for me to come over a few days early before everyone got here just to sit in the water and feel the lineup again. Last year was really frustrating, so I wanted to wipe the slate clean. I’ve had so many good memories here, and I don’t want that one to stick. I’m excited to get another opportunity.”
Ten competitors will enter, and one woman and one man will leave as the new 2023 World Champions, getting to hoist the iconic Duke Kahanamoku World Champions Trophy high. The trophy is an artistic masterpiece with the previous World Champions’ names inscribed, and by the end of today, two more will be added.