all scores

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.

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 and YouTube between Sept. 9 and Sep. 17, with the actual day of competition determined by conditions.