"Start the way you mean to finish," is an adage that most elite athletes try and live by.
Well, at the 2018 Beachwaver Maui Pro, Carissa Moore flipped that on its head. Moore claimed the event by earning the first perfect 10 of the women's 2018 season, on the last wave of the season in the best waves of the year.
"This is probably the best competitive day I've ever had in my life," Moore said afterward, no small claim for then 3X World Champion. "To finish off the season like this… I'm so in love with everything in my life right now. I'm speechless."
Despite being World No. 3 Moore had entered the Maui event with no chance of clinching the World Title Race. Stephanie Gilmore had a near unassailable lead over her nearest rival Lakey Peterson. The Australian claimed a historic 7th World Title when Peterson had a shock loss in Round 2.
With Gilmore's win, the Australian tied former Championship Tour competitor Layne Beachley for the most women's Titles in history. She however couldn't ice the cake, later falling to Hawaiian Malia Manuel in the Semifinals.
With no distractions and epic conditions, Moore had the platform to show her full potential.
"I wasn't in the World Title race this year which stings but that's how it is," she said at the time. "At the same time, I'm grateful to be able to compete without that type of pressure. I do love this wave and at certain times in my career, I've been able to really connect with it."
This was one of those times. She had already logged a series of high scores in defeating Paige Hareb and Courtney Conlogue in the Quarter and Semifinals respectively, but it was in the Final when she reached her peak.
Her final wave of the 2018 season featured four, perfectly synched power hacks in the pocket. The spray from the second turn, labeled by WSL Commentator Joe Turpel as a layback power jam, is yet to come back down two years later.
The five judges were unanimous in scoring the maneuver-only wave a 10 and it sealed a dominant victory. It was Moore's third win at Honolulu Bay and the 20th CT win of her career.
It also marked yet another turning point in her career. It was in Maui where she had finished the way she meant to start. In 2019 she would come out refreshed and refocused, carrying this Hawaiian form into the CT season. By the end, she would claim a 4th World Title, her first since 2015.