Born in 1992 and hailing from Honolulu, Hawaii, Carissa Moore has been a true force to be reckoned with in the waves for over the last decade. With four World Champion Titles to her name, and many other victories both inside and outside of the water, Moore is not only a preeminent female surfer, but she is also a refreshingly genuine and introspective individual (World Surf League, n.d.).

Carissa Moore’s Surfing Journey

How It All Began

For Moore, surfing began as a channel through which she could connect with one of her dearest loved ones: her dad. As a five-year-old girl, she forged strong bonds with her dad as they worked to synchronize with the waves. She asserts, “In the beginning it [surfing] was just the pure joy of spending time with my dad and riding waves together” (Glass, 2021, para. 3).

As Moore grew and became a preteen, she started competing in surfing (Glass, 2021). During her years as an amateur, she earned 11 National Titles (World Surf League, n.d.). Moreover, she earned the distinction of being the youngest person to win the Triple Crown of Surfing at just 16 years of age (Glass, 2021).

Her Quest for World Titles

In 2010, she made it to the Championship Tour and attained two wins that season. Just a year later, she triumphed in three events to take hold of her first World Title (World Surf League, n.d.).

Interestingly, Moore went head-to-head with Stephanie Gilmore for World Titles over the course of the next several years, and they alternated wins. Gilmore emerged victorious in 2012, Moore in 2013, Gilmore again in 2014, and Moore again in 2015 (See, 2020). While vying for World Titles, these two surf phenoms have maintained a “gracious respect and awe” toward each other over the years (World Surf League, n.d., para. 3).

Following her 2015 win, Moore hit a rough patch and struggled to perform at the same caliber as before. As the year 2017 concluded, she moved down to the Number 5 spot, her lowest ranking yet. However, with grit, determination, and perseverance as vast as the sand on the shoreline, she got back in the game with two first-place victories in 2018 that pushed her back up to the Number 3 spot (World Surf League, n.d.).

It was during this year (2018), at her first place win in Maui, when she had one of the most memorable surfs of her career. Moore marvels, “The pressure was off, the World Title was already decided. There was this moment where I was just at peace with everything…I remember the whole heat; the waves, and I remember there was just this freedom within myself, and that’s where I strive to compete and live from” (Glass, 2021, paras. 8-9).

Carissa Moore surfing. She is close to the camera and is roughly in the center of the frame. She is wearing a black wetsuit, and the underside of her surfboard is white. There are clouds in the sky above her.
Carissa Moore in her element: Water! Photo credit: @rissmoore10

Riding the Waves of Mental Health

Moore is very down-to-earth and honest about the mental challenges she experiences in competing at a professional level. She struggles with comparing herself to other surfers, focusing too much on results, and seeking a desire for others’ approval. Yet, Moore actively works to combat these negative thoughts and redirect her focus to her loved ones and the love and support she receives from them (Glass, 2021). She notes, “I just have to constantly check in with myself, and be like ‘Hey okay, all that stuff’s nice, but what really matters are those quality people that really believe in me and that have stuck with me through those ups and downs.’ Those are the opinions that matter” (Glass, 2021, para. 13).

Additionally, Moore is a big proponent of “striving to be present” (Glass, 2021, para. 23). She employs different methods to execute this. Her methods include speaking to herself in a logical way, telling herself to “stop” when dwelling on negative thoughts, breathing deeply, thinking of uplifting images, and telling herself the phrase “right here, right now” (Glass, 2021, para. 24). Furthermore, she works with a mental coach to retrain her thoughts and also leans on her dad, who is a swimmer, for mental support (Glass, 2021).

“Worrying about what happened in the past or trying to control what’s out of your control in the future—that’s just a waste of energy.” ~Carissa Moore (Glass, 2021, para. 23)

Proud to Be Part of History at the Tokyo Olympics

As the Tokyo Olympic Games dawn upon us, Moore is extremely excited for surfing’s Olympic debut! As a youth, she never saw herself competing in the Olympics. However, after it was decided in 2016 that surfing would be accepted into the Olympics and would launch at the Tokyo Games, she became driven to be part of surfing’s Olympic premiere (Glass, 2021 and Housman, 2016). She proclaims, “In the 10 years that I’ve been competing on the Championship Tour, I’ve seen so much progression of the sport and it’s just great to see surfing rise to that Olympic level, to be appreciated on that stage and to be taken to a broader audience. It’s a really special sport, and I think just by tuning in and watching it I think you’ll be able to feel it” (Glass, 2021, para. 29).

Carissa Moore surfing underneath a wave. She is in the left corner of the frame, wearing a black wetsuit and riding a pink board.
Photo credit: @rissmoore10

Carissa Moore’s Daily Routine

When it comes to her daily routine, Moore is quite flexible, because, as she states, “Training is very weather and swell dependent” (Glass, 2021, para. 14). Each morning, she arises and looks into the weather and ocean conditions. She then uses her findings to decide where to train. On days when the conditions are great, she can surf for up to four to six hours. On the other hand, on days when the conditions are subpar, she only surfs for about an hour. When conditions are rough, she makes the most of her minutes outside of the water by spending time with her husband and dogs. Regardless of the day’s conditions, she’s sure to fit a (non-water) training session in with her trainer. As for leisure activities, Moore loves to kick back with Netflix, skateboard, and go for walks on the beach at sunset (Glass, 2021).

Carissa Moore (right) and her husband, Luke left), holding their surfboards and smiling for the camera.
Carissa Moore and her husband, Luke. Photo credit: @rissmoore10

Carissa Moore’s Day Plan

  • 5:30 a.m.—Wake up and arise
  • 6:00 a.m.—Eat breakfast
  • 6:30 a.m.—Drive to the beach
  • 7:00 a.m.—Carry out first surfing session
  • 9:30 a.m.—Take a break
  • 10:00 a.m.—Train at the park with trainer
  • 11:00 a.m.—Drive home
  • 11:30 a.m.—Rest
  • 12:00 p.m.—Eat lunch
  • 1:00 p.m.—Rest
  • 2:00 p.m.—Go skateboarding with husband and dogs
  • 3:00 p.m.—Drive to the beach
  • 3:30 p.m.—Carry out afternoon surf session
  • 5:30 p.m.—Drive home
  • 6:00 p.m.—Prepare dinner and eat
  • 7:00 p.m.—Spend time with husband and dogs
  • 10:00 p.m.—Go to bed

Carissa Moore holding and hugging her dog, Maya. Moore is wearing a pink top and white baseball cap and smiling for the camera.
Carissa Moore and her dog, Maya. Photo credit: @rissmoore10

Carissa Moore: A Lover of Lists

As a professional athlete with various training demands and a regular human being who has everyday responsibilities like the rest of us, Moore finds that maintaining lists is an enjoyable and fulfilling way to keep track of her to-dos and stay accountable in completing them (Glass, 2021). Perhaps if she discovered Owaves, she’d give it a try!

“I find a lot of satisfaction and purpose from—I call it ‘checking my boxes’—so going to the gym or going for my surf or doing the laundry. I love checking my boxes; it makes me feel good.” ~Carissa Moore (Glass, 2021, para. 20)

Carissa Moore: An Advocate with a Giving Heart

Moore has used her voice to spread awareness about the hazards of binge eating, sexism, and body shaming and has advocated for taking care of the environment. Furthermore, in 2010 (her rookie year), she gave all of her winnings to the local boardriders club upon winning her first Championship Tour event in New Zealand (World Surf League, n.d.). Moore declares that “thinking about what [she’s] doing to fulfill [her] purpose and contribute to society, make it a better place” is one of the most meaningful aspects of her life (Glass, 2021, para. 13).

Finding a Flow State in the Water, and Within Herself

One of Moore’s biggest goals is to more authentically achieve the state of being “in the zone” in the water (Glass, 2021, para. 10). She is striving to do this by relying on herself to build this flow state, rather than relying on the influence of others. Notes Moore, “In the past, the moments of being in the zone came from pressure from outside…I realized that’s where I want to compete from, so how do I create that for myself? I work with a mental coach, and work through a lot of personal stuff so when I get in the water…I’m just doing what I train every day to do” (Glass, 2021, para. 10-11).

Carissa Moore on the beach, in a floral wetsuit, holding a white surfboard and smiling naturally.
All smiles. Photo credit: @rissmoore10


Glass, A. (2021, February 10). Carissa Moore, the surfer who loves lists–and ticking the boxes. RedBull.

Housman, J. (2016, August 3). It’s officially official: Surfing’s an Olympic sport. Surfer.

See, J. (2020, June 26). The complicated rivalry between Carissa Moore and Stephanie Gilmore. World Surf League.

World Surf League. (n.d.). About Carissa Moore.