Carissa Moore represents Hawaii as well as anyone. The Honolulu surfer returned home to Oahu after winning her fourth World Surf League championship at the lululemon Maui Pro this week.
A celebration was held for Moore, a Punahou grad in Waikiki next to the Duke Kahanamoku statue.
The world title marks Moore’s first since 2015. The years between then and now have been a relative struggle for Moore.
“This victory wasn’t only a culmination of this season, but it’s been a few years of growth and overcoming some different challenges,” said Moore. “And personally redefining things myself. So it’s been a long journey to get here and I think that’s what makes it extra special.”
Along with defeating Lakey Peterson and Caroline Marks in the race for the WSL title, with her finish, Moore became the first ever USA surfer to qualify for the Olympics. The sport is a new addition to the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Duke Kahanamoku is the godfather of surfing, and competed in the Olympics as a swimmer. It was his dream to have surfing be an Olympic sport.
“It makes me really emotional,” said Moore. “The whole story of Duke and the timeline and what he stood for and what I hope to stand for there. For me, it’s bigger than just surfing. It’s about spreading that love and that kindness and hopefully encouraging others to do the same. I’m so honored as a Hawaiian to be going there.”
Moore won twice and finished the Championship Tour schedule with a third place finish at the Maui Pro. She was the points leader on tour from July until the end.
“I like to say every year I keep improving,” said Moore. “I feel like I’m finally settling into who I am. And what I stand for. So I think that translates into my surfing.”