Carissa Moore has cemented herself as a female powerhouse in the surfing world and she’s only at the start of her professional career. Moore is already the youngest-ever Women’s World Champion. A girl who can also hold her own among the boys, Carissa continues to push the boundaries of the sport. She has proven she can compete alongside surfing’s most talented males and was recently the first female in the modern era to battle against the men in an effort to capture a Triple Crown title. Not bad for a 19-year old.
Women’s surfing has come a long way and with Carissa at the forefront, she can continue to help push the sport to the next level. Her appeal also extends beyond surfing, allowing her to score major sponsorship deals with companies such as Nike and Target. But despite all of the success at young age, she’s managed to balance her surfing career with a teenage lifestyle. A Glam Slam got the scoop from Carissa on how her career began, working with her sponsors, her surfing style and personal style, and advice for up-and-coming females in the sport. Check it out:
Being born in Hawaii, it seems like taking up surfing would be a natural fit. Does your family surf? How/when did you decide to turn surfing into a career?
My dad taught me how to surf when I was about four or five years old. I still go to the beach with him and my little sister almost every day. I have had a passion for surfing from a very young age and started competing when I was about seven or so. I don’t think it was until I qualified for the World Championship Tour two years ago that I realized that my dream of surfing as a career was actually a possibility.
As a competitor, you’ve traveled to some amazing places. What are some of your favorites?
I have been so blessed to travel to some amazing places but I think my favorite at the moment has to be Mexico. The waves there are long peeling right hand sand bottom point breaks… my dream come true. The awesome food and people are an added bonus.
Your appeal also extends beyond surfing, which has led to some big time sponsorships. First, can you talk about your partnership with Target?
I signed with Target three years ago and they have given me some unique opportunities. A few of them being able to mingle with athletes of different sports at the Winter X Games this past January, support with my training and decorating my new house that I recently moved into.
Nike is also one of your sponsors. How long have you been with the brand and how did that sponsorship come about?
I have been sponsored by Nike for about three years now and it came about when I went on a trip with one of the photographers who works for the company.
Is there a process for choosing your swimwear for each competition? Do you have any input on the creation/design of the items you wear?
Depending on where I am I will wear a wetsuit if the water temperature is colder and just a swimsuit and board shorts in warmer water. I have actually been able to have a lot of input in the swimwear design with Nike and it has been a really fun process trying to create something that is functional but flattering all at the same time. The suits are coming along quite nicely and I can’t wait for everyone to check them out!
“Surfer Girls” are often characterized as having a pretty distinct sense of style. When you’re not competing, do you fit that profile? How would you describe your personal style?
I think my personal style is whatever is comfortable and functional. I love a slouchy tee and a pair of shorts. I feel like the surfer style is very much that: laid back, flowing, easy going, and low maintenance. It’s pretty cool though because all the surfer girls do a really good job getting dressed up, heels and all.
You’ve had so much success at such a young age. How have you been able to balance your career with your other teenage responsibilities (schoolwork, friends etc.)?
I think having a solid family and friend support group growing up has been the number one reason why I have been able to accomplish what I have. They have helped to keep me on the right path and be the positive influences to find balance in my life. I really feel that I have had the best of both worlds getting to travel the world and surf, while also graduating high school and experiencing all the things that go along with that.
What advice do you have for young female athletes who are looking to succeed in a male-dominated sport like surfing?
Follow your heart and stay focused on your dreams and goals. Never give up. Seriously you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Failure is a part of the process, embrace it and it will only make you stronger.
Are there any upcoming competitions or trips that you are looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to surfing in the first two men’s Triple Crown events this winter season on the north shore of Oahu. It’ll be something completely out of my comfort zone and hopefully a great learning experience for me.