Weston-Webb wins Margaret River Pro

Brazilian Tatiana Weston-Webb has broken through for her first world surf league title win since 2016, beating Australia's Stephanie Gilmore in the final.

STEPHANIE GILMORE.
STEPHANIE GILMORE. Picture: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Stephanie Gilmore has fallen just short in the final of the Margaret River Pro, outclassed by Brazilian Tatiana Weston-Webb on an emotional day for the world surfing tour.

Weston-Webb, who hadn't won a final since 2016, finished runner-up in the last event in Sydney and was thrilled to go one better at the famed Western Australia surf break.

She moves to world No.2 on the world rankings behind Carissa Moore, who Gilmore eliminated in final minute of their semi-final.

Weston-Webb managed to hold her grip as she was engulfed in whitewash riding out of a wave, with the 7.73 score giving her a combined 16.23.

Competing in her first final of the year, Gilmore threw down a score of 8.17 in the final 30 seconds but her best two waves tallied 15.00.

"I can't believe it - Steph is one of the best surfers in the world and I needed to make that last turn to secure the final," an elated Weston-Webb said.

"I think I broke my big toe trying to ride out of the whitewash - but I'm so happy I made it as I really needed it for the win."

Weston-Webb accounted for Bronte Macaulay in their final-four heat, with the local hope putting aside the heartbreak of losing her younger brother Jack on the weekend to compete.

Jack, a noted surfer himself, passed away suddenly, leaving the popular West Australian surfing family devastated.

Older sister Laura was a former Championship Tour competitor while father Dave was a former professional surfer, ranked as high as third in the world in the late 1980s and early '90s.

The father of four now works as 27-year-old Bronte's coach and board shaper.

Weston-Webb, who grew up in Hawaii but switched her allegiance to her birth country in 2018, said she struggled to keep her composure after eliminating Macaulay.

"I wanted to give my condolences to the Macaulays - I couldn't keep it together after my heat with Bronte," she said.

"This one is for the Macaulays - I know it's really hard for them.

"They're such an amazing family ... and I'm sorry for your loss."

Gilmore said the surfing fraternity was thinking of the Macaulay family.

"We really love you, the Macaulays, you're the sweetest, coolest family in the world," Gilmore said.

"Bronte, it was incredible courage to show up this morning, just so strong, and we're sending you all the love in the world so I hope you're feeling it."