Carissa Moore, the three-time WSL World Champion, has had an all-time off-season. First, she married her longtime partner, Luke Untermann, on their home island of Oahu, Hawaii. Next, the two of them hit the road for their honeymoon, exploring some surf-free destinations. Then, Moore packed up her boards and headed to the South Pacific with Hurley for some drool-worthy waves.
The trip, which also produced a seductive set of photos is something of a reset for Moore, who slogged through a series of middling results in 2017. Despite her hegemony for much of the last decade, no number of trophies can serve up immunity to the ups and downs of pro surfing. But somehow, by late September Moore's competitive drive resurfaced and suddenly, she was back. She finished runner-up at the Cascais Women's Pro, followed by a win at the Roxy Pro France in October, and a fifth place at the Maui Women's Pro in December.
"I was in a funk," she told Surfline. "And I can be really hard on myself, which is part of what makes me who I am, but it can also work against me sometimes."
Moore's trip to the South Pacific then, was something of a reboot. Leaving her own island in search of waves let her focus on the surf, instead of getting caught up in the throes of daily life (read: Family visits. Housecleaning. The works). Not only did the trip rejuvenate her, but it also provided ample time to fine-tune for the 2018 Tour, which kicks off March 11 at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast. Each day on the trip, Moore and her father Chris, who's also her coach, would review footage from the day as well as footage from some of Moore's favorites -- fellow Oahu Champ John John Florence, South African Jordy Smith and Californian Kolohe Andino.
"The best part about surfing is that there is always something you can improve on," she told the WSL. "I've been working on being more innovative, pushing more turns above the lip, trying to surf faster and tighter. With the season it's been a goal to find a good balance between being creative and looking polished. And, most importantly, having fun."
That sense of fun might have been the missing ingredient in Moore's 2017 season. Now that wedding planning is behind her and she's found a renewed focus, she might have found the recipe for a return to the top.
"Married life is great," she said. "Not much has changed, to be honest. There is just this awesome feeling of commitment and contentment. The biggest impact it has had is that I feel settled, happy and positive for the year ahead. No matter what happens I have an incredible man by my side. I want to give my best on Tour both physically and mentally and be the best wife and supporter I can be for Luke."
Moore also reflected on some of the women who have inspired her along the way. Along with the opening of the 2018 WSL Championship Tour season this week, Thursday, March 8, is International Women's Day.
"I look up to all the strong women in my life," she said. "My mom, my grandmas, my aunts and girlfriends. Each one of them uniquely inspire me with their approach to life. I look up to Bethany Hamilton and Serena Williams, both mothers that kick butt in their respective sports. I want to be like them one day! Malala [Yousafzai, the Nobel Prize winner] for her courage, [ballet dancer] Misty Copeland, for her drive and commitment to her dreams, and [Australian icon] Turia Pitt, is the definition of what true beauty looks like.
"I look up to the women who chase their dreams and stand up for what they believe in. That follow their heart to do good and make positive change. And for women who might get discouraged [in their pursuits], remember pressure creates diamonds. It's the hard stuff that pushes us to our potential. If you fall, get back up. If someone rubs you the wrong way, smile and show them why you belong. Enjoy the journey and have fun."
Watch Moore make her 2018 season debut live daily on the WSL during the the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, March 11 - 22.