"My favorite rides, the greatest thrills have come when I've paddled over the ledge even though my heart or my head is telling me not to..."
The planet is waking up to a different reality, this morning. A little grayer, maybe. Or maybe not. Maybe things are exactly as they should be, surfing jerked back on a true and righteous path.
Carissa Moore, the universally adored Hawaiian surfer, the greatest to ever do it, is officially retiring from the World Surf League at the still tender age of 31.
The five/six-time champion and Olympic gold medalist opened up in a wide-ranging feature with The New York Times, a moving piece in which she shares her fear in facing this next, non-competitive, phase in her life, but also the crackle of doing something new. What life looks like “outside of the jersey.”
“My favorite rides, the greatest thrills have come when I’ve paddled over the ledge even though my heart or my head is telling me not to, you know?” she gamely declared. “The anxiety comes from ‘am I going to show up?’ I just want to be proud of myself. I want, at the end of the day, to be like, ‘Ok, I did my best. And I rose to the occasion,’ you know?”
The “global home of surfing” is certainly the loser, here, and it could/should be argued that ugly decision making, creating a fraudulent finals day, etc. kicked Moore into retirement early. The fact that she is stepping away, now, a clear mark against World Surf League dumb.
Moore is slated to surf the Pro Pipe, the Tahiti event and the Teahupo’o Olympics. What she will do next, though, exciting to imagine. Something untainted by the big ugly.
Bryan Taylor, the star’s longtime manager, told me, “As Carissa’s manager for the past 17 years, I can’t begin to express just how proud I am of this little scrapbooker from Hawaii. As the only surfer in the world to have attained multiple World Titles plus an Olympic Gold Medal, there isn’t a surfer alive who can lay claim to this unparalleled level of achievement. Thanks in part to the incredible grace, class and style that’s woven throughout the family that raised her, Carissa possesses both the poise and confidence required to venture away from the tour at the top of her game, complete with a full tank of gas. By taking the brave and unselfish step of deciding not to stay at the party too long, Carissa refreshingly demonstrates just how much honor and respect she exhibits for her sport. Each and every one of us involved with professional surfing shall forever owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Carissa for all that she’s brought into our world, and I personally can’t wait to see what lies ahead as her unrivaled journey continues.”
And it could not have been said better.
Here’s to what’s next.
More as the story develops.