There are few certainties in life, but there are safe bets. Carissa Moore being right up in the Top Five by the end of this season is one of them.
Yes, Caroline Marks is coming for her, sure, and Tatiana Weston-Webb is hungry, too, but when it comes to the Hawaiian's proven ability to win at Margaret River, it's going to take a lot of work, and maybe a bit of luck, to take her out.
But after sticking what pundits and surfers alike have dubbed the best air ever seen in a women's Championship Tour heat, and heading into a Western Australia leg where power surfing in big waves against stiff offshore winds will be the order of the day, Moore is looking set for a very solid season ahead of the first-ever Rip Curl WSL Finals event at Trestles.
Moore's worst-ever result at Margaret River is a fifth. She's won there twice, two years in a row (2013, 2014) and also achieved a second and third place finish at Main Break, a powerful, open water wave similar to Haleiwa or Sunset, where she's especially adept.
If you want to know how she's going to surf the right at Main Break, where almost all the high-scoring waves are achieved, just look at what she did on the North Shore to win the first-ever Digital Vans Triple Crown. She was phenomenal at Haleiwa and Sunset, which both have shades of Main Break in terms of power and the need to really lean into the rail.
Anything could happen. Athletes have bad days. In surfing, sometimes conditions don't go your way. But even after you account for all the variables, it remains a safe assumption that Moore will be looking very strong once the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona and Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona are in the can.
That's got to have some of the other competitors on Tour asking some serious questions. She's Number One going into a two-event leg in which it's hard to argue she's not the clear favorite. Stickland Bay on Rottnest Island, the site of the event, is predominantly a left, and we've just seen her very strong on her backhand at Narrabeen; the only surfer at that event matching her on backside turns was Johanne Defay.
Two-time World Champion Tyler Wright herself admits that after an offseason going right, lefts aren't her strong suite, and seven-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore is another who does her best work on her forehand.
However, both these athletes, sitting at fourth and firth on the rankings, respectively, have done well at Margaret River before. Wright won in 2016 and has two second-place finishes. Gilmore has finished third there three different times. Weston-Webb also scored a second-place finish there back in 2019. They are serious contenders, but based on the numbers, Moore is still in the box seat.
There's plenty of surfing left before the Rip Curl WSL Finals -- where the World Title will be decided in a single day of competition -- but Moore is off to a flying start.
Who's going to stop her?