Carissa Moore embraces openness as she seeks 6th world surfing title – USA TODAY

With prompting, surfer Carissa Moore will tell you about her Olympic gold medal, her five world championships and her being seeded No. 1 for the 2022 Rip Curl WSL Finals  in Southern California.           
But as the season-ending event approached, she sounded just as happy to talk about what most surfers, and people in general, might prefer to hide.
“I have good days and bad days,’’ Moore, 30, told USA TODAY Sports, “and days when I have doubts and insecurities or start overthinking things.’’
Of course the good days include her winning a gold medal at the Tokyo Games last year in the first Olympic surfing competition. Moore also has won back-to-back WSL Finals and is in position to become the first surfer to three-peat.
Yet despite all of her success, Moore happily shares about her struggles. She has talked openly about hitting “rock bottom” in 2018, when she considered giving up competitive surfing because the pressure to succeed began to impact her personal life and marriage.
Her path back to dominance has included more openness about her trials and travails.
“I’ve found a lot of peace through being vulnerable,’’ Moore said. “I think it’s brought me closer together with a lot of people, and a lot of people have shared their stories and same insecurities with me. That has given me strength to overcome what I’m going through.  
“I think by being vulnerable you get to own your own story and it almost takes the pressure off, because you’re like, ‘Yeah, you guys see I’m not perfect.’ I’m just a human and I’m going to make mistakes. So yeah, for me I think it helps to take the pressure off a little bit.”
Last week, she and her father, Chris, arrived in Southern California and spent three days on the water looking for more flair. Chris Moore said he served as an architect or choreographer, helping his daughter find something “a little bit extra” that would appeal to the judges during the one-day competition at Lower Trestles in San Clemente.
But with Carissa Moore, her father said, preparation is about more than riding waves. The champion surfer has worked with a “mental coach” and used journaling, self-reflection, yoga, and deep breaths to help reduce anxiety and learn how to ride the waves on and off the water.
“It’s just trying to figure out ways for her to just surf and compete as freely as possible and not have a whole burden of expectation and fear and all those kind of things hanging on more than they need to be,” said Chris Moore, who was Carissa’s longtime coach but in recent years has mostly worked behind the scenes. “I guess what we try to do is find ways to make it manageable.”
C.J. Hobgood, a former world champion who has worked with Moore, replied to her on Instagram last month with this: “I enjoy watching you face your fears and truly (accept) the emotions and want it bad.”
A post shared by Carissa Moore (@rissmoore10)
Moore needs two more world titles to match the record of seven won by Layne Beachley and Stephanie Gilmore, and the chase might eventually include extra company.
During a recent interview with USA TODAY Sports, Moore said she has considered taking time off to have a baby and then return to competition. She said she draws inspiration from other elite athletes who have done it.
That group includes Allyson Felix, the retired American track star who gave birth to her daughter, Camryn, in 2018 and then competed at the Tokyo Games, where Felix won a gold medal in the 4×400 meter relay and a bronze medal in the 400 meters. And Serena Williams, who gave birth to her daughter, Olympia, in 2017 and the following year reached the finals of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and did it again in 2019.
“I cannot wait to start a family and love on a little person that’s all our own,’’ said Moore, whose husband Luke will be at the Finals. “But it’s definitely tricky. As a professional athlete you have to weigh as a woman that time off and what does that look like when I come back?
“There’s so many unknowns and uncertainties around it. I think what’s super inspiring is seeing a lot of athletes that I look up to embrace motherhood and embrace what they’re doing (in sports). I’m definitely contemplating the possibilities.”
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Said her father: “I think for Carissa, it’s sort of at that point where it’s not to have her feel like she’s in shackles with the sport. You’ve won two world titles in a row, you’ve won the Olympics, I don’t ever want her to feel like, ‘Well, come on, one more, one more, one more.’ “
But she’ll be doing that starting Thursday – looking for one more. Those trying to assess Moore’s chances of winning a third straight Finals should probably know how she celebrated her 30th birthday, which was  Aug. 27.
A four-day trip to an outer Hawaiian island with her sister, cousin and one of her best friends.
“We just went to the beach and ate good food and hung out,” Moore said. “Honestly, I never do that. I’m always on the go and I have a hard time slowing down and just resting and taking breaks, so it was much needed and I truly enjoyed it.
“It was probably what I needed to feel rested and rejuvenated for this last sprint.’’


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