Carissa Moore's run for the 2019 World Title didn't start on the Gold Coast of Australia, rather it began the season before in a dusty cow town in California Central Valley.
Winning the inaugural Surf Ranch Pro in dominating fashion over then World Number One Stephanie Gilmore, for Moore it was the breakthrough she needed. Up until that point in the season, she'd been slogging through a season that wasn't up to her typical brand of excellence.
Plagued by a series of fifth and ninth-place results, by the time she rolled into Lemoore she found herself well out of the World Title race and looking for something to reignite her competitive fire. A command performance in the man-made perfection of the Surf Ranch was exactly what she needed.
"My goal is just to finish strong and qualify for next year," Moore said after clinching the victory. "I'm not in the title race, so going forward for the rest of the year I just want to have some really strong performances and gain some confidence."
After the Surf Ranch she headed to France, where she made the semifinals. Then it was back home to Hawaii for the Beachwaver Maui Pro. She won the event and capped off the year with a 10-point ride on her last wave in the Final.
"I have a new spark in me now that I've qualified for the Tour next year. I've got a lot of plans," Moore said.
By the time the 2019 Championship Tour season kicked off Moore was back in World Title-winning form as she came out of the gates ready to rumble. A second-place finish at the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast got her off on the good foot. She was off to the races after that, relying on unbelievable consistency to keep her in the yellow leader's jersey.
She never finished worse than fifth all season, and starting with the fourth event of the year, the Margaret River Pro, she made the Semifinals or better in every event. Appearing in four Finals, she ended the year with two event wins.
"This has not only been three years of work, but three years of learning and growing," Moore said afterwards. "It's been a journey."
In 2017, Moore finished ranked fifth in the world. It was her worst year-end ranking since joining the Tour in 2010. That made 2018 somewhat of a rebuilding year for her where she had to dig deep both mentally and physically. Then came the win at the Surf Ranch Pro. And from there she never looked back.
Starting with her win in Lemoore, Moore has surfed in 13 CT events. She made the Semis or Finals in all but two of them -- and still made the Quarters in those two events. It's one of the most consistent and dominant streaks in the history of the women's tour, and it all started with a big win at the Surf Ranch.