And today, for the first time in a while, there was no World Title pressure on the line. But there was pressure.
Malia Manuel and Sally Fitzgibbons were in the first heat of the morning. Yesterday Fitzgibbons looked like she could take this event all the way (earning one of the highest heat totals) until she tweaked her shoulder. She chose to surf through it on day 2 but it was visibly bothering her and she was unable to put up a solid score. In contrast, Manuel blitzed through, earning a 7.00 and an 8.00 for the heat win.
Manuel's advancement out of the Quarterfinals was especially monumental as it earned her a spot on next year's Championship Tour.
"I'm feeling a lot of good vibes right now," said Manuel. "I have a new spark in me now that I've qualified for the Tour next year. I've got a lot of plans. Sally had a tough day yesterday but she's an animal. I knew she was going to want to surf even with the injury. We're both just looking forward to next year and hopefully we will both be in the World Title conversation together."
Manuel has had a lot of Quarterfinal and Semifinal appearances throughout her career but has failed to ever grasp a CT event win. Though she did come close when she won the US Open back when it was a Qualifying Series event.
The surfer from Hawaii then went on to upset the new World Champ Stephanie Gilmore in the Semifinals by a mere 0.14. Manuel had better wave choice throughout, allowing her to advance to the Finals at Honolua Bay.
She made it to the Finals at this event last year but was defeated by Gilmore - this win provided a sweet type of revenge for Manuel.
Despite the heat loss, Gilmore has a million reasons to smile after winning the World Title yesterday.
"Malia is always on the best waves," said Gilmore. "I tried to fight my way back but it's all good. I've had an incredible couple of days. This year has been beyond anything I could've dreamed of. Surfing is so fun. People always ask me why I'm smiling so much but if they did what I did they would know why."
Throughout this event, Carissa Moore's power game has gone unmatched. It wasn't so much a question of if she could win, but if her confidence would see her through to the end. It did -- and then some.
Moore earned a 9.50 to kick off her Semifinal heat against an in-form Courtney Conlogue. There was still spray flying in the air when Moore went into her next maneuver, which is a testament to how powerful her surfing really is. And while Conlogue put everything she had into fighting back, it wasn't enough.
"For our last event of the season, I don't think we could ask for better waves," said Moore. "I wasn't in the World Title race this year which stings but that's how it is. At the same time, I'm grateful to be able to compete without that type of pressure. I do love this wave and at certain times in my career I've been able to really connect with it."
The Final kicked off with 40 minutes on the clock: Manuel vs. Moore.
But conditions slowed down considerably towards the end of the day.
After a heat restart, Manuel went on the first wave and took an awkward wipeout. Breaking her board, she was a bit shaken up afterwards. But she swapped out equipment and got back in the lineup.
With less than 10 minutes on the clock, Moore stood tall on a massive barrel, earning an 8.67. She wasn't able to finish the wave, doing a little break dance on her board before falling off, but she had already done the work.
And she wasn't done. Moore then went on to earn the first perfect 10 of the women's 2018 season, on the last wave of the season (based purely on maneuvers).
"This is so special," said Moore. "My whole family is here. This is probably the best competitive day I've ever had in my life. To finish off the season like this...I don't even know what to say. I'm so in love with everything in my life right now. I'm speechless."
There are not many surfers in the world who are able to pull off a perfect score based purely on turns. But she did it and it won her the event - showcasing why she is still one of the best ever at Honolua Bay.
So it's official, Carissa Moore is your Beachwaver Maui Pro Champion. Stephanie Gilmore is your 2018 World Champion.
And that's a wrap for the women's CT season. But 2019 is right around the corner.