22 year old native Hawaiian surfer Moana Jones Wong made history over the weekend when she won the Billabong Pro Pipeline on the North Shore in Haleiwa, Hawaii.
Not only was it the first ever full-length women's CT event at Pipe but Moana was a wildcard and in the final she beat 5 time world champion Carissa Moore.
She then took over as number one in the World Surf League Championship Tour rankings.
“Carissa is my favorite surfer,” she gushed. “She’s my hero, I can’t believe this. It’s insane. I always wanted to have a Final at Pipe with Carissa.”
Asked how she knew how to pick the ride-able gems and make it through three barrels in Sunday’s large, disorganized surf — with the wave faces churned by rip currents and two different swells — she credited the late Derek Ho, Hawaii’s first world pro surfing champion, who mentored her in the storied, lethal break.
“I would be out at Pipeline with Uncle Derek every day when it was bad and when it was good, and sometimes when it was bad we were the only two people,” she said.
“He said to get good at Pipe you have to surf it in all conditions, including the wrong swell direction, too windy, too big,” Wong said, “So out there today, I knew exactly how it was going to be.”
She also made history last year in another epic distinction becoming the first to receive a University of Hawai'i-West O'ahu's Hawaiian and Indigenous Health and Healing degree.
As part of her graduation requirement, Jones Wong recently presented her senior project titled, “Surfing: More Than a Sport.” Surfing, she shared, healed her of many things.
“I feel so connected to my culture, my ancestors, and the ocean when I am out there. Surfing gave me my identity. It empowered me. In my hardest times I found peace in the ocean.”
Jones Wong’s senior project was about how surfing empowers Native Hawaiians to connect to their culture. It was a topic she was happy to write about and present, she said, because many people don’t talk about it and don’t realize how significant surfing is to Native Hawaiians.
Check out the first episode of her her new Vlog