American surfer Carissa Moore on her very first Olympic experience

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American surfer Carissa Moore wasn’t sure how her trip would turn out to this summer’s Tokyo Games when surfing made its long-awaited debut at the Olympics. The 29-year-old prepared her best and ultimately made history by winning the first-ever gold medal in women’s surfing.

“It was an amazing experience to participate in the Olympics for the first time,” said Carissa Moore. Form. “I didn’t really have any expectations and with the pandemic, COVID, with all the different regulations and things that we had to follow, I heard it wasn’t the normal Olympic experience, but I did still enjoyed every second .. It was fun bonding with the team and surfing the site and all the experiences that went with it.

A native of Hawaii, Moore started surfing at a young age, in part thanks to his father, Chris. “He’s just a versatile waterman who loved being in the ocean,” she says. He was a competitive open water swimmer (ICYDK, open water swimming events can be held anywhere except a pool), and he surfed just for fun, she says. “He introduced me to surfing to share his love for the ocean with me. It was just our time together and he always jokes, but his goal was to make me fall in love with the ocean so that I never leave Hawaii – and mission accomplished.

Growing up, Moore took part in amateur surfing competitions. And at the age of 10, she decided that surfing was her passion and wanted to see how far she could go. When the International Olympic Committee announced in 2016 that surfing would be part of Olympic competition at the Tokyo Games, Moore, although a little hesitant at first, wanted to participate. it was new and exciting, but there was also some hesitation because, “Oh, how’s it going to be?” How is it going to unfold? How will the qualification work? Where do they get it? There are so many different variables, and change and novelty can be a little scary sometimes, ”she says. “But there was a general excitement and I would just like to be a part of it.”

Either way, Moore says she decided to prepare as if it were “any other event.” “You just put on a swimsuit, you’re riding the same time frame, trying to get two waves,” she says. “The goals are the same, and you just take it round by round. I surfed almost every day at home and always competed in the World Surf League Championship Tour so I thought this was a great way to hone my skills and stay on top… Two and a half to three weeks Weeks before we went to Tokyo, I was trying to find waves on Oahu that were stimulating the same conditions we could have had in Japan.

The surf competition at the Tokyo Olympics was held at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach in Chiba, Japan. Before the main event, Moore had a lot on his mind. “The Olympics carried a lot of weight and that meant a lot to a lot of people, and it was very special because I was riding for something bigger than me,” said Moore. “Particularly being Hawaiian, I represent surfing, which is our sport, the sport that started with my ancestors, so I felt a special connection to that and I really wanted to represent our people and the Hawaiian Islands.”

Carissa moore
Credit: Red Bull Media House

Moore finally made Hawaii proud; she won a gold medal with a score of 14.83. (FYI, the cores of surfing at the Olympic Games are based on five criteria: commitment and degree of difficulty, innovative and progressive maneuvers, variety of maneuvers, combination of major maneuvers, speed, power and flow).

Spending time in the waves wasn’t the only way Moore was preparing for Tokyo. When it comes to staying physically fit, Moore relies on HIIT and cardio-focused workouts. “I think one of the coolest things about surfing, and maybe the underrated parts of it, is that literally you have to be fit in all aspects. You have to have good stamina to on long days of competition you need to have a good upper body for paddling, a strong lower body for power and thrust in your turns, “she says.” You have to be flexible because you are constantly on the move and in. different positions You have to be nimble because sometimes you put a turn and then go very fast into another turn and all the movements are generated from your heart.

Moore, who works with a trainer three times a week, also changes her workout routines based on the event she is attending. everything, ”she explains. “And then I do Pilates once a week, and I do yoga almost every morning for 20 minutes.”

Looking back on her Olympic experience, while Moore is “really happy” with how she prepared for the Games, she also learned an important lesson in self-esteem along the way. “I think something I want to try to keep doing is just keep being kinder to myself and not being so hard on myself,” she says. “Knowing that, ‘hey mistakes are good, they will end up turning you into a better athlete and a better person, so embrace them and embrace the journey. “

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, not all spectators have been allowed to attend the Tokyo Games. Moore, like other athletes, was unable to have her support system nearby, which included her father and husband, Luke Untermann. Flying solo, Moore ultimately relied on herself to persevere. “I was alone in many ways, and as someone who struggled to feel comfortable in their own skin, to support myself and my decisions, and to have confidence in myself, it was really stimulating to go to these Games. and be like, ‘hey, I got that’, and I trust myself. It was a validation to see the result come out. “

With the 2024 Olympics in Paris around three years away, Moore has been considering whether to defend his gold medal title at the future event. “I would love to try to qualify for the next Olympics so that’s definitely a goal,” she said. “I just had such a wonderful experience this time. To be able to do it again and be a part of it would be super cool. We’ll see what happens.”

This story first appeared on www.shape.com

(Main and feature image credit: Getty Images)

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