Over the next two weeks, the world's best surfers will battle at the Target Maui Pro, the final women's Championship Tour (CT) event of the season. Along with the huge performances expected at Maui's Honolua Bay, two women -- Courtney Conlogue (USA) and Carissa Moore (HAW) -- will be fighting to become the 2015 World Champion.
The way the draw for the event is set, there's little chance the Title contenders will face off against each other until the later rounds. Their strengths, however, are similar and their Title race is neck-and-neck. Before they paddle out to their first heats, take a look at their season highlights and how they match up.
Gold Coast Tear
Australia continues to be a sweet spot for Moore. At this year's season opener, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, she stunned the judges and the crowd with the power-surfing fans have come to expect from the two-time World Champ. Moore earned four scores in the nine-point range in the last three rounds, including two in the Final.
Margaret River Matchup
Both Conlogue and Moore started the year strong, per their usual, which meant they rarely matched up until the later rounds of each event (lower-ranked surfers are pitted against higher-ranked surfers at the start of each contest). But the two Title contenders were bound to meet in a head-to-head matchup. They faced off in the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Final and kicked things off with matching scores, tying for the heat-high score of 8.50. Ultimately, Moore was unable to find another solid number and Conlogue won the event.
The Championship Tour (CT) events in Rio were like nothing the sport's ever seen, with thousands of fans on the the beach at Barra da Tijuca to watch the world's best. So when Conlogue emerged from the water victorious, the cheers from the crowd were deafening. In that moment, she looked like the people's champion.
Second Half See-Saw
Moore and Conlogue went 2-and-2 at the beginning of the season, with Moore winning the opening events and Conlogue taking the third and fourth contests, the Drug Aware Pro and the Oi Rio Women's Pro. But it wasn't until the back-end of the year that the real drama unfolded. Since Conlogue jumped back up to No. 1 at the Vans US Open of Surfing in July, the yellow jersey has changed hands between the two Title contenders every event. Going into the season finale, the Target Maui Pro, the jersey belongs to Moore, the defending event champ.