Australia’s Tyler Wright claimed a historic victory by taking out the first women’s world surfing tour event to be held at Hawaii’s iconic Banzai Pipeline.
The two-time world champion, who eliminated compatriot Sally Fitzgibbons in the semi-finals, won a tactical battle with local favourite Carissa Moore to make a perfect start to her 2021 championship campaign.
In a low-scoring final, Wright scored a 3.17 in the dying seconds of the final to win the title with a two-wave score of 8.34.
Four-time world champion Moore threatened to steal the title when she scored a 5.40 with less than two minutes to go in the heat to snatch the lead before Wright’s crucial last wave put her back in front.
A rare mistake by Moore midway through the heat that handed Wright priority was also crucial as the pair contested a remarkable ninth tour final against each other.
Needing a 5.27 to take the lead, Moore was left stranded but pounced late to move in to the front.
That was before Wright found the ride she needed to move back in front and her 12th tour event win was confirmed once she was back on the sand when the final scores dropped.
The victory is Wright’s first since 2016 after a long battle with injury and illness wrecked her 2018 and 2019 seasons.
It’s her second Maui Pro crown, after she defeated Moore in the 2016 final.
Organisers made the decision to move the final heats of the Maui Pro to Pipeline after a shark attack near Honolua Bay earlier this month.
As well as the event win, Wright will head in to the second stop of the tour in Oahu, Hawaii on January 19-28 as the world’s No.1.