CARVING: Keely Andrew  at The Vans US Open of Surfing
CARVING: Keely Andrew at The Vans US Open of Surfing Sean Rowland/wsl

Sunshine Coast talent topples reigning world champion

SURFING: Sunshine Coast's world tour rookie Keely Andrew has beaten reigning world champion Carissa Moore on the sport's biggest stage.

The 21-year-old from Mooloolaba eliminated the 23-year-old Hawaiian from a World Championship Tour event at Huntington Beach Pier in California.

"Just having the opportunity to surf against Carissa is insane because she has always been one of my influences growing up,” Andrew said.

The two traded blows throughout the heat but it was Andrew who won 12.63 to 12.27.

As a result, she earned a spot in the Vans US Open of Surfing quarter finals, against compatriot Tyler Wright.

Moore is third in the race for this year's world title after five of 10 events while Andrew, in her maiden campaign, is 15th.

Andrew said the conditions suited her.

"It is small and it's kind of really weak out there, so similar to back home on the Sunshine Coast. I knew that if I just stuck to those rights and kept doing what I was doing I'd make it through.

"My game plan was to stay patient and be on the best waves, and it worked out.”

While many of the surfers were watching the lefts, she stuck to the rights.

"I sat there and watched it. We noticed there were a couple of rights. If you're patient enough they will come through,” she said.

Andrew is scheduled to compete in the latter rounds of the event on Friday night but regardless of what happens, it will be Andrew's best result so far on this year's tour.

She's otherwise had a string of 9th and 13th placings.

"It's a high pressure environment," her coach Tim Just said.

"I think you learn to love it and learn to embrace it and this year has been great for her in that regard.”

She is also in a strong position to re-qualify for next year's Championship Tour because she is in fourth place on the World Qualifying Series.

"So there is definitely that pressure off, which makes everyone's job easier,” Just said.

STEELE TAYLOR