American surfer Caroline Marks powered her way to her first world title on Saturday, overcoming Hawaii's five-time world champion and Olympic gold medallist Carissa Moore in rippable waves in California.
Marks, already a five-year world tour veteran at 21, was the only goofy-footer (standing with her right foot forward) in the Rip Curl WSL Finals held at Lower Trestles, Southern California's epicentre of high-performance surfing.
The Floridian used her powerful backhand to great effect on the overhead waves, throwing huge fans of spray to get the best of 17-year-old phenom Caitlin Simmers and then Australia's two-times world champion Tyler Wright to reach the final.
She carried that momentum into the first best-of-three match-up against 2020 Olympic champion Moore, notching up two excellent scoring waves and securing a comfortable win.
Marks, who relocated to nearby San Clemente from Florida after becoming a professional, again found the best waves in the second match-up and held on to win with a two-wave total of 14.6 out of a possible 20.
"This whole week has been just magical. Everyone from Florida and from San Clemente has been supporting me, I just can't believe it," Marks said after her win. "There's going to be a massive party after this and everyone is invited!"
The win breaks the stranglehold that Moore, Wright and Australia's Steph Gilmore have had on the world title since 2007, and confirms Marks' place alongside Moore in the U.S. surfing team for the Paris Olympics in Tahiti next year. REUTERS