Six days before the Women's final at the U.S .Open of Surfing came the big announcement.
To the winner of Saturday's finale would go a record $50,000. That was $30,000 more than the previously set first-place prize of $20,000, which was also a record.
No wonder Carissa Moore of Hawaii was all smiles late Saturday at the Huntington Beach Pier.
Moore emerged from a frustrating waiting game with fellow finalist Sally Fitzgibbons of Australia to win the coveted Women's title.
"This is definitely one of my sweeter wins," said Moore, who has won just about every other contest under the sun.
Today was her first U.S. Open of Surfing championship.
"It was strange out there," she said of the conditions. "We had to wait and wait. I knew Sally had some really low scores but I had to concentrate on myself. I'm glad I caught that last wave."
Moore actually had the heat won before that last wave, where she tubed just inside of the south side of the pier, about 30 yards away from shore as the final horn sounded to end the disappointing final.
Unlike last year, the surf never materialized. On the fourth small set that came in during the 30-minute heat, Moore was able to catch a ride that resulted in a 4.83 score. Fitzgibbons, ranked second on the World Tour, never got the opportunity to shine but Moore took advantages of her opportunities — no matter how few they were.
Moore's top two wave scores of 4.83 and 4.17 were enough to earn her the $50,000.
Fitzgibbons' top two wave scores were a paltry 2.33 and 1.5.
"It was tough out there," said Moore, who is No. 8 on the World Tour. "I was really stoked to have Sally in the final with me. She's a great competitor and a good friend. We were in a final in New Zealand together, so this is get to get to the finals here, too.
"When I got to the semis, I was stoked just to get that far. Anything else would be a cherry on top. I was just going out there today to have a good time. It's an honor to win the U.S. Open."
Prior to Moore's triumph, Sage Erickson (USA) won the $10,000 Women's Pro Junior title. She won a heat that saw defending champion Malia Manuel (Hawaii) finish second, Coco Ho (Hawaii) place third and Laura Enever finished fourth.
The Men's quarterfinals and semifinals are set for early Sunday and among the final eight is defending champion Brett Simpson of Huntington Beach. The 25-year-old defeated Dane Reynolds (USA), 17.14-7.23, in today's eighth and final heat in the round of 16.
Sunday's Men's quarterfinal heats are as follows:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (South Africa) vs. Miguel Pupo (Brazil)
Heat 2: Jadson Andre (Brazil) vs. Mick Fanning (Australia)
Heat 3: Granger Larsen (Hawaii) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 4: Nathaniel Curran (USA) vs. Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach)
The winner of Sunday's Men's final, which is scheduled to begin at noon, receives $100,000 for the second straight year.
Pupo, 19, can hit a big jackpot Sunday. He's also in the $10,000 Men's Pro Junior final, which precedes the Men's final at 11 a.m. He'll surf in a final that includes fellow Brazilian Alejo Muniz and Americans Evan Geiselman and Kolohe Andino.