Australia’s Stephanie Gilmore has won her sixth world surfing championship despite a quarter-final defeat in the season finale in Hawaii.
Gilmore was beaten in the last eight by American Courtney Conlogue, her first defeat at Honolua Bay.
But Tyler Wright’s defeat to local favourite Carissa Moore in the event’s final ensured the 26-year-old took out the title.
Gilmore’s success means she’s just one championship behind Australian great Layne Beachley’s record of seven women’s titles.
Wright, the powerful 20-year-old rising star from northern NSW, couldn’t force a surf-off against Gilmore which is what would have happened if she’d beaten Moore.
After defeating American Lakey Peterson and South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag on Friday, Wright couldn’t overcome hometown girl Moore.
The Hawaiian scored an imposing 18.23 out of 20 in the final, with Wright only managing to post 14.03.
The third Australian who entered the tournament in title contention, Sally Fitzgibbons, suffered a heartbreaking quarter-final loss just minutes after Gilmore’s defeat had opened her path to the championship.
Fitzgibbons could have won the title if she’d won the event after Gilmore’s loss but fell by less than a point to Buitendag.
The bubbly 23-year-old, who has finished runner-up in the championship three times, slumped to her board and appeared to weep after the heartbreaking loss.