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Carissa Moore, Stephanie Gilmore headline historic WSL Finals at Lower Trestles

Cait Miers/World Surf League via Getty Images

The first-ever Rip Curl WSL Finals are coming to California.

Starting today, surfing’s top competitors will descend upon Lower Trestles, San Clemente to crown a WSL champion. For the first time in WSL history, the men’s and women’s winners will be named on the same day in an unprecedented winner-takes-all event.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Finals:

The format

The 2021 Championships will take place in California in a one-day event between Sept. 9 and Sept. 17, dependent on conditions.

Five surfers will participate in the title contest based on the points they accrue on the Championship Tour. The top six results (out of eight events) decide the final WSL leaderboard rankings.

The competition has a bracket structure, with World No. 1 Carissa Moore awarded an automatic bid to the Title Match. The four other surfers will go head-to-head, moving up through the WSL bracket. Match 1 will feature fourth-ranked Stephanie Gilmore and fifth-ranked Johanne Defay, with the winner moving on to face World No. 3 Sally Fitzgibbons. The champion of Match 2 will then take on No. 2 Tatiana Weston-Webb in Match 3. All head-to-heads will feature a traditional heat format.

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Courtesy of WSL

The surfers

Carissa Moore: As the World No. 1, Moore comes into the WSL Finals having already secured her place in the Title Match. The Hawaii native has dominated surfing over the last decade, surging to the top of the sport in 2011 when she became the youngest person to win the surfing title at 18 years old. Since then, she has taken home a total of four World Championships, most recently clinching the first-ever Olympic surfing gold medal at the Tokyo Games. Moore boasts an impressive 14.48 average heat score and 23 heat wins, making her the favorite in Trestles.

Tatiana Weston-Webb: Weston-Webb has had a consistent 2021 season, winning the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona back in May. Named WSL Rookie of the Year in 2015, Weston-Webb has climbed the WSL rankings since her debut on the Championship Tour. Weston-Webb, who previously topped out at No. 6 in 2019, is now No. 2 heading into the Finals. The 25-year-old could make history in California, competing to become the first Brazilian woman to win a World Title.

Sally Fitzgibbons: Fitzgibbons has been a top competitor in surfing since exploding onto the scene in 2009 as the WSL Rookie of the Year. The Australian reached a career-high ranking of World No. 1 in 2019 after winning in Rio. After over a decade in the sport, Fitzgibbons comes to the WSL Finals looking for her first-ever World Championship.

Stephanie Gilmore: Gilmore is a surfing legend, considered to be one of the greatest competitors in the sport’s history. The 33-year-old burst onto the scene in 2007, becoming the first surfer, male or female, to win Rookie of the Year and a World Championship in the same season. Gilmore has won seven World Titles, most recently lifting the WSL trophy in 2018. In 2010, the Australian was inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame, solidifying her place in the sport’s history. Gilmore will look to shatter a new record in California, becoming the first woman to win eight World Championships.

Johanne Defay: Defay has consistently finished in the Top 10 since her WSL tour debut, reaching No. 5 in 2016 and 2018. The French surfer moved all the way up to No. 2 in the rankings during the 2021 season after winning the Surf Ranch Pro title. The 27-year-old now has a chance to make history at the WSL Finals as the first European woman to take the World Title.

How to watch

The Rip Curl WSL Finals will stream on WorldSurfLeague.com and YouTube between Sept. 9 and Sep. 17, with the actual day of competition determined by conditions.

Nelly Korda Continues Unprecedented LPGA Run

LPGA golfer Nelly Korda poses with Mizuho Americas Open trophy
Nelly Korda took home the title at the Mizuho Americas Open on Sunday. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Nelly Korda continued her unprecedented LPGA run on Sunday, winning her sixth tournament in the last seven starts. 

The 25-year-old Florida native took home the title at the Mizuho Americas Open, becoming the first LPGA player to record six wins in a single season since 2013 — and that’s with three majors and a little over half the season left to play.

"Oh, my gosh, six," Korda said after the win. "I can't even really gather myself right now with that, the head-to-head that Hannah and I had pretty much all day. Wasn't my best stuff out there today, but fought really hard on the back nine."

Korda is just the fourth player on tour to win six times before June 1st, joining LPGA Hall of Famers Babe Zaharias (1951), Louise Suggs (1953), and Lorena Ochoa (2008).

Should her victory run continue, Korda could break the current record for single-season wins, currently set at 13 by Mickey Wright in 1963.

Korda ended Sunday's tournament one shot ahead of Hannah Green, finishing the 18th with a par putt to win it all.

"I mean, to lose to Nelly kind of like is — it's sad, but then it's also Nelly Korda," Green said of her second-place finish. "You know, like she's obviously so dominant right now. To feel like second behind her is quite nice. Unfortunately the bogey on the last has a little bit of a sour taste."

Next up is the US Women’s Open, a tournament that Korda has yet to win in her career. 

"Obviously it's on the top of my priority list," she said. "I just know there is never any good when you put more pressure on yourself. Just going to stay in my bubble that week and take it a shot at a time."

Earlier this year, Korda became the fastest player to collect $2 million in prize money over a single season. This latest win earned her an additional $450,000, bringing her season total up to $2,943,708.

Caitlin Clark Signs Multi-Year Deal with Wilson, Gets Signature Basketball Collection

caitlin clark poses with wilson basketball
Clark is just the second athlete to get a signature basketball collection with Wilson. (Wilson Sporting Goods)

Caitlin Clark has signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Wilson Sporting Goods that will include a signature basketball collection, the brand announced early Tuesday. 

According to Boardroom, Clark is just the second athlete to develop a signature collection with Wilson, with the first being Michael Jordan in the 1980s. In addition to her basketball collection, she will also "test, advise and provide feedback on a range" of related products. 

Three Clark-branded white-and-gold Wilson basketballs have already dropped. Each ball features laser-cut engravings of some of the guard's most memorable moments at Iowa, where she became the all-time leading scorer in Division I college basketball history.

Three Wilson basketballs from Clark's collection have already dropped. (Wilson Sporting Goods).

"I think it is super special, and it's been fun for me," Clark told Boardroom. "I feel like I was just that young kid who had those basketballs that I would store in the garage. I'm just very lucky and fortunate to partner with Wilson to create something that everyone can enjoy. It connects with a lot of generations, and it'll be fun to see kids walking around holding them."

The No. 1 overall pick at the 2024 WNBA Draft, Clark has been building up a slate of major endorsements since turning pro. Current partnerships include Gatorade and Panini, and she’s also close to signing a signature shoe deal with Nike worth a reported $28 million.

New York Liberty off to First 4-0 Start in 17 Years

sabrina ionescu of the new york liberty on the court
Sabrina Ionescu led the undefeated Liberty to a 74-63 win over Seattle Monday night. (Evan Yu/NBAE via Getty Images)

The New York Liberty are 4-0 on the season for the first time since 2007. 

The 2023 WNBA title finalists notched a 74-63 win over Seattle on Monday night, with Sabrina Ionescu dropping 20 points alongside eight assists. After the game, Ionescu told reporters she thought the team was coming together a bit easier than they did last year.

"I think having a year together, we don't nearly have to communicate as much on the court anymore," she said. "Because we can just play off one another and read. And that's obviously been the growth of this team, is being able to play a season together last year."

The team’s defense has also contributed heavily to the season's winning start. Last night, the Liberty held Jewell Loyd to just 13 points and nine rebounds. Loyd let the Storm in scoring, with only two other players in double digits, while Nneka Ogwumike missed her second straight game with an ankle injury. 

Storm free agency acquisition Skylar Diggins-Smith had eight points, and is averaging 14.5 points and 5.8 assists per game this season. In her postgame remarks, Storm head coach Noelle Quinn called on others to give her grace in her return. 

"There needs to be respect about the fact that she's had two children and hasn’t played in 20 months," said Quinn. "She’s not going to come overnight and be who she was 20 months ago and we have to respect that and honor that. And I do.

"My grace as a coach is to know she’s working her butt off every day. You guys don’t see it. Every single day. Two children. Not one, two. Not many can do that."

Australia’s Sam Kerr Ruled Out for 2024 Paris Olympics With ACL Injury

sam kerr playing for the australian womens national team
A longtime Matildas mainstay, Kerr has made 128 appearances for Australia alongside 69 career goals. (Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)

Australia has confirmed that captain and star striker Sam Kerr will miss the Paris Olympics due to an ACL injury suffered early this year. 

Kerr, who also stars for Chelsea, tore her ACL in January. While unlikely that she would recover in time for the Olympics, Football Australia (FA) hadn’t confirmed her status until Tuesday when the team revealed its squad for upcoming warm-up games. 

In a statement, the FA said that Kerr remained on the sidelines and will continue her rehab program at Chelsea. 

"Attacker Amy Sayer (ACL) and forward Sam Kerr (ACL) remain on the sidelines with long term injuries," the report read. "Kerr and Sayer will continue their rehabilitation programmes in their home club environments and subsequently will not be available for selection for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games."

Tuesdays 23-player squad is a "strong guide" to the final Olympic lineup, according to coach Tony Gustavsson, but others like injured midfielders Katrina Gorry and Aivi Luik could potentially figure into the conversation. 

"[They] most likely will be physically available to be part of an Olympic roster," Gustavsson said of Gorry and Luik. "This window will be a tough one for me and my staff in terms of evaluating players, where they are, and then the final selection process for Paris."

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