A gorgeous bit of existential dread!
About two months ago now, I drove to Ventura to interview Carissa Moore. I’d never met her. I showed up at the rental house where she was staying in between a trip to the Surf Ranch and a family road trip to Yosemite. She came to the door fresh out of the shower, wrapped in a towel, and gave me a big hug, like we’d been friends for ten years or more. Of course, we hadn’t.
We sat across the table from one another, my recorder — two of them, actually — between us, in a borrowed RV that was parked in the driveway. Occasionally a car cruised the quiet residential street. The tight space formed a kind of bubble that felt cut off from the world. It was perfect, in fact.
As a writer, you never really know what you’re going to get when you sit down to an interview. I knew I’d get something, of course. I’ve only once interviewed someone who really said almost nothing. Women athletes, they always have plenty to say. But would it be good? I wanted it to be good. Carissa proved candid, self-reflective, and funny. When I went back through the tape, there was so much laughing.
Here is a short excerpt from the interview transcript to taunt you! This is all part of my nefarious plan to convince you to read the full story. Is it working? Maybe it’s working.
Carissa: “I remember going home from [the 2017 U.S. Open at] Huntington and thinking, I have to make a decision here. I’m going to commit until the end of this year and give it everything I’ve got and let go a bit of the pressure and expectation. That was my lowest point. I felt like that was really a turning point for me.”
“I think, like, for the longest time, I just considered myself a surfer. It was really hard to look at myself and ask myself what am I outside of surfing? Like, how can I be happy if I’m not getting the results? What does success and happiness look like for me?”
“Do I want to do something completely different and go free surfing and make movies? Definitely. Definitely I want to do that. But am I making that decision because I’m losing right now? Or is it that I’m actually burned out and need a break? If I won, would I would be fine? Of course. I would be fine. I would definitely be fine.”
“I think both Steph and I are surfer’s surfers. We’d rather have there be lots of waves and just have it come down to performance. But the reality of it is, most heats don’t come down to that. So it’s like, I want to be able to do those special performances, but you’re going to have grindy heats most of the time, you know? So it’s just being able to handle the pressure when there isn’t as much opportunity.”
“I go to the ocean and I love surfing, because there’s an element of peace. There’s an element of, the rest of the world disappears, and it’s just you and the ocean. There’s something, there’s something about surfing that’s so spiritual.”
“I think taking the time to be reflective and reminding yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. That for me, what’s really helped me in the past couple of years, is that the results don’t define me. I’m more than a surfer.”
Now pour yourself a fresh beverage — your choice may depend on your time zone, or not! — and please enjoy the full story. Because you know you want to.