Carissa Moore on facing self-doubt & renewed drive for Surfing

Carissa Moore was the youngest surfer ever to win her first World Championship title at age 18. That sets her apart from even the most notable figures in the space, including Kelly Slater.  In this week’s edition of espnW’s video series “What Makes Us,” Moore shares her story, ranging from the early years with her dad as her coach and inspiration, to what it was like being thrust into the spotlight at such a young age, and the pressures that go along with being a woman in a male-centric sport.

“When I first started out, there weren’t that many girls in the line-up,” Moore says, recalling a specific incident at a local break in Hawaii where she was told to leave the water. “It’s definitely tough to earn people’s respect, especially in surfing, where a lot of the sport is really male-dominated. The number one thing my dad has taught me is never sell yourself short. You can do anything you put your heart and mind to.”

Carissa Moore on facing self-doubt & renewed drive for Surfing

Photo: Mundo Sisters

Unfortunately, as Moore entered the spotlight at a global level, along with it came a certain level of scrutiny that her male counterparts most likely will never have to face. “People really started to pick apart my body, more so than my surfing, and that kind of hurt,” Moore says.

She continues, “In the sport of surfing, where women are wearing very revealing uniforms, unfortunately a lot of attention goes there instead of the athletics.”

During this time her self-doubts began to effect her surfing, and ultimately lead to her relinquishing the World title. But Moore was able to bounce back from this low place, reclaiming her title in 2013 and currently on the heels of the No. 1 position in today’s WSL women’s rankings.

“I really hope I have helped changed the perception of women’s surfing in a positive way,” Moore says. “I think this generation of women’s surfing right now is changing it. More and more people are tuning in and watching, not only because we’re women and we rip, but just because we rip.”


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