It was a classic Final held in classic conditions between two surfers at opposite ends of their careers. Brazil's Tatiana Weston-Webb was aiming to seal the second CT win of her career while Australian 7x World Champion Stephanie Gilmore was looking to her reassert her dominance over the sport.
On her way to the Final, Weston-Webb eliminated local hero Bronte Macaulay. Hundreds of locals showed up to support Macaulay and her family, who tragically lost Bronte's brother Jack during the event. Bronte showed incredible strength to surf against Tatiana in the semi-final. When Tatiana eventually won the heat, the Brazilian burst into tears during her post-heat interview.
Tatiana reset for the Final and came out swinging in trademark fashion. After the emotionally charged heat against Bronte, she appeared to have overcome the main mental hurdle of the day, despite now being tasked with the challenge of aiming for a win against a 7x World Champion.
Tati's first high-scoring right came in the form of an 8.50 courtesy of a huge backside hammer than she hit on the difficult and dangerous end section. On her next best wave, her fourth ride of the Final, she secured a 7.00 for another committed backside hack. Sparks were flying off Tati's rails as she aimed to slam the door shut.
Gilmore meanwhile wasn't going down without a fight. The Australian dropped a 6.83 for a frontside combo as she danced around the shallow inside section of Main Break. After Tati's second-highest scoring ride and with the clock winding down Gilmore opted to go for broke needing a 9.40 to take the lead. With less than a minute to go, she stroked into a solid right and got to work with a lovely frontside carve followed by a buttery cutback to finish. Despite the beautiful surfing, Gilmore came up a point short posting an 8.40 with her final ride allowing Tati to take the first CT win of her career.
"I can't explain how incredible this feels," Weston-Webb said after the win. "Steph is one of the best surfers of all time and was always someone I looked up to so much, so it was incredible to come up against her in a Final. You don't often get to surf against a seven-time WSL Champion so this feels amazing. I'm just thankful I took a win after a second-place finish at the last event."
It was an emotional day with Tatiana dedicating the win to Bronte Macaulay and her family. "I want to say that this win is for the Macaulay family," continued Weston-Webb. "I came up against Bronte earlier today and seeing her show up for her heat was so brave. I can't imagine what she has been going through. They are an amazing family with so much love and are such a big part of surfing here in the West and my condolences are with them."
Tati's victory secured the best start to her CT career. The 25-year-old would go on to represent Brazil at the Tokyo Olympics and prove to be a nemesis to eventual 2021 World Champion Carissa Moore. Tati would eventually be stopped by Moore in the Rip Curl WSL Finals at Trestles finishing the year ranked a career-best No. 2 in the world.