On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
Carissa Moore is one of the most accomplished surfers in history of the sport. The American Olympian has won the World Surf League (WSL) Women’s World Tour Championship five times (2011, 2013, 2015, 2019 and 2021); she was the first ever Olympic gold medallist in women’s short board surfing; and she is the first person in history to win a WSL world title and Olympic medal in the same year.
And to think, all of this started because she just wanted to spend more time with her dad. “In the beginning, what really had me coming back was my dad, and spending time with him,” she revealed in an interview with Red Bull. “I started surfing when I was five, and it was something that we always did together.”
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, the five-time world champion caught her first wave when she was just five years old. Her father, Chris, who was a competitive open water swimmer, took her out to Waikiki Beach and taught her the ropes. From there, Moore was hooked and she would regularly hit the surf before and after school with her father.
When Moore was 10 years old, her parents divorced and she alternated between living with her father, who resided near the ocean, and her mother, whose home was inland. While spending time with her mother, she would write letters to Chris saying, “I can’t wait to see you and go surfing again.” The water became a source of comfort for Moore as she navigated the challenges of living between two households.
While Moore had been surfing since she was 5, it was always more of an after-school hobby. It wasn’t until she was 12 years old that she locked her sights on taking her passion to the next level. “I remember having a conversation with my dad on a car ride home from the beach,” she recalled. “I told him, ‘I want to be the best in the world’.”
With her father supporting her dream to become a competitive surfer and taking on coaching duties, Moore began racking up the wins. At just 16 years old, she became the youngest champion in the history of the Triple Crown of Surfing event, winning the Reef Hawaiian Pro. Two years later, Moore earned a spot on the ASP (now known as the World Surf League) Championship Tour and made a strong debut, winning two major contests, finishing third overall, and being named Rookie of the Year.
Fast-forward to today and Moore is the holder of five WSL Women’s World Tour championships and an Olympic gold medal for short board surfing, which she won at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
When I eventually retire from surfing, I hope to look back on my career and more important than results and world titles, I hope that I left a lasting impression on surfing that I did surfing that inspired people and that was really memorable.Carissa Moore: the life of a Hawaiian surfing queen | Surfer Today
Carissa Moore’s training routine & diet
Like all competitive surfer’s Carissa Moore’s daily training routine is flexible and dependent on how the waves are looking. She usually gets up at around 5.30-6am and the first thing she does is check the surf conditions.
“I’m usually in the water from 7:00 to 9:30,” she explained to Red Bull. “Then I’ll usually meet my online trainer and we’ll do an hour training session at the park. Then I’ll come home and rest, and then, if the waves are good, I’ll head back to the beach for an afternoon session around 3:30 to 5:30.”
Overall, Moore is surfing four to six hours per day. But that’s just in the water. Outside of surfing every day, Moore’s training routine also includes circuit workouts and Pilates sessions.
I work out with my trainer three times each week, and we do a lot of circuit training. I don’t actually use too many weights; it’s mostly body weight. I train to make sure I can get in the water and do what I love every day. I love burpees, skaters and mountain climbers. I do intervals, like 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off. My regimen is always changing, because I get bored if it’s the same workout. Each week I go to Pilates once and I usually go for a run twice.4 training tips from pro surfer Carissa Moore | Red Bull
When it comes to fueling her body to stay at the top of the surfing world, Moore’s approach to nutrition is: “everything in moderation.” As someone who struggled with binge eating and body image issues in the past, due to the media making her think she wasn’t the right shape for the sport, Moore has overcome those challenges and developed a healthier relationship with food.
“I think I’ve come a long way,” the Olympian told Bon Appétit in 2017. “I’ve struggled and felt overwhelmed by food at times. But I think I’ve gotten to a point where I can really enjoy food.” These days, Moore prioritises clean eating while also giving herself permission to deviate every now and then.
I like the way that healthy food makes me feel. But I do like a nice muffin or some chocolate. It’s about moderation. My nutritionist has helped me find things that are light and also taste good. Growing up in Hawaii, food is such a beautiful social thing. It’s a big part of our culture to enjoy what you’re eating. It’s also a big part of traveling and experiencing a new place. On comp days, bananas, trail mix and GoMacro MacroBars—the banana and almond butter flavor is my favorite—are my go-to meals.4 training tips from pro surfer Carissa Moore | Red Bull
For her self-care and wellness techniques, Moore works with a mental life coach several times a week. “Whether it’s personal or professional, he’s a great neutral sounding board,” she said. “So, it’s been really nice to have the gentle guidance to just stay on my path.” She also uses recovery devices like the Normatec and the Hypervolt to help relax her muscles after a training session or surf competition.
Sleep also plays an important role in the world surf champion’s daily routine, and it’s a part of her lifestyle that she prioritises every day. In addition to getting enough sleep each night, Moore also loves to nap throughout the day.
“The world is moving so fast, so it’s great to slow down and just keep things really simple,” she explained. “I go hard every day. So it’s that moment. That one hour that I get all to myself to rest, relax, and press reset so that I can keep going hard.”
Before you go…
Check out more daily routines from Barack Obama, Arianna Huffington, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and plenty others.