Rip Curl Newcastle Classic—Moore Sets the Mark for Women’s Surfing

Carissa Moore landed a historic air reverse trick that has everyone talking.

By Ashton Kowalski

The Rip Curl Cup kicked off in Newcastle, Australia on April 1 and ended April 11. The Cup returned to Merewether Beach after a 30-year span of no elite surfing competitions in the city. Newcastle locals welcomed the world’s best surfers into their city with open arms. To host the event, different Covid-19 health and safety guidelines were put into place, such as reserving free tickets for spectators to attend. 

This was the first competition of the 2021 Australian WSL tour season and it was one for the books. Pros such as two-time WSL Champion Tyler Wright (AUS), local wildcard Philippa Anderson (AUS), and seven-time WSL champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) were just a few of the big names to compete. 

Carissa Moore (Hawaii) arrived in Newcastle as a four-time WSL champion with high hopes of gaining a fifth title ahead  of her Olympic debut in Tokyo this summer. Not only did she rake in her fifth title, but she also made history along the way by becoming one of the few surfers to land an aerial move.

The shining star of the competition performed a ground-breaking aerial maneuver in the quarterfinals. The air reverse move is not just a simple spin or flip trick, but a complicated and extremely difficult task for any surfer. There are few that can ride up the wave, get air, perform a 360 degree spin while in flight, and in Moore fashion, grab the rail of the board at 3 feet above the wave. 

Carissa Moore mid-air while performing the historic aerial maneuver (SOURCE:

Moore’s performance has been widely applauded, with surfing commentator Joe Turpel calling it a “defining moment in surfing history” and Stab Magazine claiming it was “the best aerial ever seen in women’s competition.” Many were surprised that the aerial didn’t give her a 10.0 score, but a close 9.9. 

Women’s professional surfing has been growing in popularity over the years thanks to increasing performance and exposure over the past decade. Women started showing up to the male-dominated professional sport fairly recently—right around the ’90s. The women’s surfing community is bound to continue to grow with the unique, encouraging, culture amongst the pros. 

Trinidad Segura, founder of Sirena Producciones, has stated, “it’s hard to be a woman, and harder to be a female surfer.” The supportive dynamic shows even in competitions. Even Johanne Defay, Moore’s opponent, had to applaud and give her a hug when she landed—an example of the surfing community’s nature to first challenge yourself and each other to be better athletes, and second to celebrate each other’s progress. 

Johanne Defay congratulating excited Carissa Moore at the end of their heat (SOURCE:

Moore is officially No. 1 on the tour after the Rip Curl Cup with 17,200 total points. Tyler Wright sits at No. 2 with 12,610 points and No. 3 is Isabella Nichols with 10,410 points. Check out the rankings here

The next stop on the WSL Tour is the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic April 16 through April 26 in Narrabeen, Australia. Local wildcard, Laura Enever, is one to watch out for at the Narrabeen Classic, as she comes in strong with a home field advantage. 

Watch the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic on the World Surf League’s website here.

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