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Pro Surfer Carissa Moore Reflects on Decision to Retire After 2024 Olympics: "It's Strange"

Five-time world champion surfer Carissa Moore prepares to say goodbye to the sport after the Paris Olympics.

By Shameika Rhymes

As the anticipation builds for the 2024 Paris Olympics, all eyes are on world-renowned surfer Carissa Moore. With an illustrious career spanning decade, Moore's journey to the Olympics has been nothing short of remarkable. 

Surfing was introduced as an Olympic sport at the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which ended up being held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moore won the gold in the women’s competition at Japan’s Tsurigasaki beach by beating South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag.

"I feel so grateful for the Tokyo Olympics, and just that whole journey, because I think it actually brought me closer to my home and my community," she shared on The TODAY Show’s Hoda Kotb’s Making Space podcast.

This year’s Olympic surfing competition will be held at Teahupo'o, a world-renowned surfer’s dream in Tahiti. 

In addition to an Olympic gold winner, she's a five-time Women's Surf League World Champion, activist, and wife. Here’s a look at Carissa Moore’s journey on the waves and in her personal life. 

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Carissa Moore smiles before surfing in Heat 3 of the Quarterfinals at the MEO Pro Portugal

What age did Carissa Moore start surfing?

The Hawaii native grew up surrounded by the most beautiful beaches in the world. Her father, Chris Moore, an accomplished swimmer and recreational surfer taught her how to surf at age 5 at Waikiki Beach. In an interview with The Today Show, Moore shared that she began competitive professional surfing while she was still a junior in high school at Punahou School in Honolulu.

"I was around 10 years old when I remember having a serious conversation with my dad, and I was like, 'I really want to do this,'" Moore said. "And he's like, 'I don't really think you actually understand what that entails, but it's going to be some sacrifice, there's probably going to be some tears, but it's going to be a lot of fun. And I believe that I can help you achieve your dreams,” Moore shared with Kotb.

At 18 years old in 2011, she became the youngest ASP Women’s World Champion in history. 

Carissa Moore surfs during the Round 3 of the Oi Rio Pro

Is the 2024 Paris Olympics her last? 

The five-time world champion has already announced her plans to walk away from the waves after the 2024 Paris Olympics. While she has hinted at what’s next, she has said that she won’t surf competitively, at least until further notice.

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"I hope to be surfing until I'm old and gray," she said. "It's strange to think that I'll kind of be wrapping up the competitive chapter in a sense, but I'm not closing the door. Who knows, maybe in a few years, I have an itch that I want to scratch and come back, or maybe I'll put the jersey on and try some fun events. But for now, there's just some other things that are exciting me.”

Her Relationship with Husband Luke Untermann

Carissa Moore and Luke Untermann attend The WSL Awards

One of the major reasons Moore is stepping away from surfing is to spend more time with her husband and start a family. 

"I feel like I’m a multidimensional human being like we all are, and I would love to be a mom and start a family," she said. "My husband would have loved to have had kids like years ago. That’s definitely something on the horizon."

Moore has spent a lot of time in the water, but she did find time during her senior year of high school to get to know her now husband Luke Untermann, who is the co-founder of the brand Banán, a plant-based frozen dessert company. The couple got engaged in 2016 and tied the knot in 2017 on the Hawaiian shores.

She shared with Kotb that they first spent time together when he canceled a party he was throwing in order to attend the one Moore was having. Once they got to talking, sparks started flying. "He was just genuine and he was kind and it was easy to talk to him," she said.

Summer 2024 Olympics coverage begins on July 26. It will be available to watch on NBC and Peacock.

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