It's been clear since Cascais earlier this month that Carissa Moore -- the three-time World Champ, wins-from-nowhere Carissa Moore -- is back. At that event, the Oahu native was in a higher gear than she'd been all year, and surfed her way to a runner-up finish, for her best result of the season so far. And she carried that momentum with her this past week in France. Even with a few hiccups -- Moore lost in Rounds One and Three, and had to surf both elimination rounds -- she charged ahead, straight through the Semifinals. It was there, where she went up against current World No. 1 Sally Fitzgibbons, that her renewed energy broke through. She came in hot with an 8.67 that put the pressure on her opponent, and went on to win the heat.
For Fitzgibbons, who is still chasing her first-ever World Title, the loss likely left a bitter taste. But for Moore, it was continued validation that whatever she's been doing behind the scenes is working in spades -- and that her days of domination is far from over.