With a spot in the Women's Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Quarterfinals and reigning World Champ Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) sidelined by injury, Carissa Moore (HAW) will now leave Australia at the top of the Jeep Leaderboard for the third consecutive year.
Moore, who continues to dominate the Australian leg of the Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT), surfed Round 3 in solid conditions at Main Break and tallied three rides in the nine-point range. Her highest score was a 9.73 for two committed cutbacks on a steep righthander.
"I never let my foot off the gas in a heat," Moore said. "These girls, they're too good and Tatiana [Weston-Webb] and Johanne [Defay] are capable of getting two tens. I'm feeling really psyched to be on tour at the moment with these girls and I feel like I've got nothing to lose. Life can't get any better."
Before a single heat at Margaret River, only Gilmore (AUS) stood between Moore and the No. 1 spot going into the next event, the Oi Rio Pro. Gilmore finished runner-up in the opening two events of the year and could have topped Moore if she had won the third. But news broke Sunday that Gilmore would not compete in Round 3 due to a knee injury suffered in a freesurf the day before. The reigning World Champ ultimately withdrew from the competition before her Round 4 heat.
"As soon as I heard the girls were off [Saturday] I jetted down the coast to find some fun waves," Gilmore said. "It was pretty much my very first wave, I ejected out of the lip and tried to pin drop feet-first and went straight-legged into the sand.
"I went in and got an X-ray to see if there was any damage and there's a little fracture. Now I've got to wait until I get an MRI and hopefully I have no ligament damage," she said.
So far at Margaret River, the top seeds have been marching confidently through each heat. After four rounds, the contest has only seen one upset: A Round 4 elimination for Silvana Lima (BRA) at the hands of South African charger Bianca Buitendag.
But Moore's performances have been heads and shoulders above the rest. So far this year, she boasts the highest heat total for each of the first three events of the season. Her 19.23 two-wave total in Margies Round 3 is the highest two-wave total of the season so far.
NOTES: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) will receive 3,300 points toward her CT rankings, keeping her in the Top 5 after kicking off the year with two runner-up finishes.
When competition resumes, the women will face off in the Quarterfinals. Tune in to the Dawn Patrol show Monday at 7:00 a.m. local time for the next call.