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World Surf League finals roar to a close in San Clemente

Three-time champion Gabriel Medina in the WSL Finals against Felipe Toledo at Trestles beach in San Clemente.
Three-time champion Gabriel Medina boosts a huge air and completes the ride during the final against Felipe Toledo in the WSL Finals at Trestles beach in San Clemente on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The end of the 2021 World Surf League Championship Tour came to a dramatic close on Tuesday with Gabriel Medina and Carissa Moore capturing surfing world titles in the men’s and women’s championships respectively at Lower Trestles in San Clemente on Tuesday, the last event of the year.

Three-time champion Gabriel Medina raises his fist in a victory lap.
Three-time champion Gabriel Medina raises his fist in a victory lap after defeating Felipe Toledo in the WSL Finals at Trestles beach in San Clemente on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Medina and Moore were not the only winners, as Mother Nature delivered smooth, dramatic and powerful South Pacific swells to the shores of the famous cobblestone surf break in San Clemente. Ten surfers competed in a new format introduced at this year’s championships, one that would decide the men’s and women’s champions on the same day.

Carissa Moore in the Rip Curl WSL women's surfing finals at Trestles beach in San Clemente.
Carissa Moore goes off-the-top of a huge glassy wave in the Rip Curl WSL women’s surfing finals at Trestles beach in San Clemente on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Medina defeated an in-form fellow Brazilian countryman, Felipe Toledo, and Hawaii’s Moore, coming off a gold medal in the recent Olympics for the U.S., took down multi-heat winner Tatiana Weston-Webb in the finals. Both Webb and Toledo, rated lower, put serious pressure on their opponents, who were both rated number one in the world. However, Medina and Moore held true to their rankings and prevailed in the end.

Felipe Toledo completes an air reverse in his match in San Clemente.
Felipe Toledo completes an air reverse in his match against Conner Coffin in the WSL Finals at Trestles beach in San Clemente on Tuesday. Toledo got second place in the contest to eventual champion Gabriel Medina.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Moore is a five-time world champion, and this is Medina’s third world championship.

Brazil's Italo Ferreira attempts a huge air reverse in the WSL Finals.
Brazil’s Italo Ferreira attempts a huge air reverse in the WSL Finals against Felipe Toledo at Trestles beach in San Clemente on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The event brings back Trestles as a competitive venue after it was left off the Championship Tour in 2019 and event cancellations due to the pandemic in 2020.

Conner Coffin from Santa Barbara surfs  in the WSL Finals at Trestles beach.
Conner Coffin from Santa Barbara surfs against Felipe Toledo in the WSL Finals at Trestles beach in San Clemente on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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