The two most dominant woman on the women's Championship Tour over the last decade may find themselves on opposite ends of the Rip Curl WSL Finals bracket, but with history hanging, their fates could very much be intertwined.
With eleven World Titles between them, No. 4 seed Stephanie Gilmore is looking to earn her record eighth Title and break her tie with Layne Beachley, while No. 1 seed Carissa Moore will be looking to defend her 2019 Title and take top honors for the fifth time in her career.
Gilmore will have to battle through an opening heat against Johanne Defay. The two have been neck and neck all year, but the Aussie has a much stronger history of winning at Lowers than the French powerhouse. If Gilmore advances, she'll face Olympic teammate Sally Fitzgibbons. And if she can break Fitzgibbons' heart, she's got a hungry Tatiana Weston-Webb.
Should Gilmore win those three heats and face Moore in the World Title Match? Guaranteed fireworks.
Most recently, Gilmore took the win off of Moore at the Corona Open Mexico presented by Quiksilver last month. Both surfers are fully aware of what the other is capable, especially at Lowers.
The last time the pair -- who have been long-time rivals -- faced each in San Clemente was in the Quarterfinals at the 2016 Swatch Women's Pro with Gilmore victorious over Moore. The two women have only met once in the draw, but both have tasted victory at Trestles with Moore winning the event in 2015 and Gilmore in 2014.
With the World Title for the first time decided in a one-day event, the two surfers will have to call upon all their Championship Tour experience as they aim to add another Title to their legacy.
Moore has had a stellar 2021 season. The Hawaiian claimed the first Olympic gold medal at surfing's debut at the Tokyo Olympics and earned a CT win in a season that saw seven different winners in as many events.
Moore never dropped below a third-place finish during the challenging 2021 season, claiming two runners-up finishes and a victory at the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona. She clinched her spot in the WSL Final 5 all the way back at the Jeep Surf Ranch Pro presented by Adobe and has been able to make the most of a couple months of relatively pressure-free surfing.
Meanwhile, Gilmore finished the season ranked equal World No. 4, and as noted, notched a win at the last event of the season at Barra De La Cruz. With Gilmore back in the winner's circle she has momentum and confidence on her side.
With a combined 11 World Titles to their names, there is not another rivalry on the women's side of the draw that compares. In the past 13 seasons, only one other woman -- Tyler Wright -- has won a world title (2016, 2017).
Gilmore won the first of her seven World Titles during her 2007 rookie season. She became the first surfer on either the Men's and Women's side to accomplish such a feat, which signaled her rapid takeover of the sport and went on to collect four straight world titles.
Likewise, Moore hit a winning streak at an early age. She qualified for the world tour as a 17-year-old in 2010, winning two events as a rookie. The following year, she interrupted Gilmore's World Title run and secured her first Title.
For the next three years, Moore and Gilmore went back and forth: Gilmore in 2012, Moore in 2013, Gilmore again in 2014. Interestingly, Moore has never won back-to-back Titles.
However, what seems like a rivalry on paper has been more of a seesaw battle. When one falters, the other shines. The closest race the pair have had was the 2014 season where each won three events with Gilmore winning the Title.
Now, with a world title showdown looming all eyes will be on two of the best surfers in the world at the top of their game who show no signs of slowing down.