Carissa Moore arrived in Australia earlier this year to compete in the Australian Open of surfing. Having been crowned with her second World Title back in October last year, she showed she has not lost any of her flair by taking out the Aussie Open title with style. We caught up with Carissa for a quick chat before she started her 2014 campaign…
Firstly welcome to Australia Carissa and to the 2014 season and congratulations on your second World Title. It’s been a while since the last event, what have you been doing in your down time since then?
For the most part I’ve been at home soaking up time with my family. I did do a bit of traveling the past couple of months and scored some fun waves in Phonpei, Fiji and Mexico.
It was a closely fought battle between you and Tyler last year, coming down to the last event as a decider. What do you think gave you the edge? Last year was really exciting. It was great to be part of such a close battle. It came down to the final day of the final event. I don't know if there was anything in particular that gave me an edge I just woke up that morning and really believed it was my day. I also believed that if it was meant to be, it was meant to be. Thinking like that really took the pressure off and I went out and really enjoyed myself.
Being in the public eye is a double edged sword. The more successful you are the happier your sponsors are but also the more the public wants of you. Tyler has been exceptionally brave recently, revealing how the being a part of the surf industry had taken its toll on her. What do you think of how she was feeling and how do you cope with the demands of being the World Champion?
I know Tyler mentioned that she may have struggled with things in the past but I thought she handled it really well last year and looked like she was really enjoying herself. She did a good job of blocking it all out and just doing her own thing.
It's tough to not get caught up in what the public thinks of you. I think it's really important to find balance, and to keep a tight group of family and friends around you to keep the negatives out. I'm lucky that I have a great support team.
Coming from Hawaii, it’s the home of big waves but it’s also the home of the skimpy bikini. Unfortunately Alana gets more publicity due to this than her actual surfing yet she is one of the best seventeen surfers in the world. What do you think of the public’s fascination with image vs ability?
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this recently, and the sexualisation of the sport. I believe that Alana is awesome, she’s gorgeous and beautiful and it brings attention to the sport. I do want people to appreciate her as an athlete too. I'm sure she puts in a lot of hours and hard work training. She surfs well and deserves to be on tour.
In her career Rebecah Woods was often quite outspoken about the surfing locations for the World Tour and how they had deteriorated. What are your thoughts on the locations and do they allow you to really showcase your talents?
I am a big fan of Rebecah’s – she’s a sweet woman and I have a lot of respect for her for standing up for better conditions for the women's tour. I know it’s hard to stand up when people don’t really listen. The last few years the quality in venues on our tour has sort of deteriorated. Last year at Bells we lucked out with really good waves. All the girls performed beautifully and the reaction from the public was really exciting. If we were given better waves we
would be able to perform like that more often. This year, three world class waves have been added to our tour in Fiji, Trestles and Maui. This is a really big year for us and I can't wait to see what the girls will bring to the table.
Your dad has played a significant role in your career thus far and many of the girls these days travel with a member of their families. This is very different from how it was three or four years ago when your fellow Hawaiians, Melanie Bartells, Megan Abubo, Rochelle Ballard and Keala Kennely were still on tour. Is this because the tour has got so young or a sign of how acceptable surfing as a careers has become?
What are your thoughts on this? I think it’s a combination of the two. We are all really young so it is nice to have someone looking after us and in our corner. I also think all of the girls like having their own team with them that has their best interest in mind.
Social media plays a huge role in many of the people in the public eye. Do you find it frustrating that sponsors and the ASP require you to have a social media presence when really your surfing should just do the talking?
I didn’t know it was required, I think everyone has a choice to do it or not. To be honest if I had to give it up I wouldn’t mind but I do enjoy it. You can inspire people and have fun through social media – there’s a lot of good things about it. I like that it’s a good way to not just promote yourself but to voice what you stand for. I guess it’s about finding balance, but I definitely think it’s a great tool to reach more people.
You have maintained great sponsors in a struggling industry and you have done this without wearing revealing bikinis or provocative video clips. Do you think there is hope that sponsors will start to back surfing ability over sexual exploitation?
To be honest I think this question has been a little overdone. I think there are a lot of girls on tour who don't wear tiny bikinis. Every girl has a different preference for what they feel most comfortable performing in. A lot of girls prefer wearing wetsuits or board shorts when competing. I think there are different ways to market women and there are sponsors that will want to support the hardcore athlete.
This year the NZ leg of the tour is only a Star event rather than a CT event. Are we likely to see you in Taranaki again this year?
I know you have a very close group of friends and supporters here who would love to see you... It breaks my heart because I don't think I will be able to make it to New Zealand this year. It is such a bummer because I absolutely love NZ and my family there. I hope I can send some of my love through this article.
LEFT: Carissa taking out the 2014 Aussie Open, Image compliments of OwenPhoto, Hurley
Carissa in Bali, 2013: Image compliments of Miller/Red Bull