3x World Champ, Carissa Moore, Is Mentoring The 11-Year-Old National Champ Into A Compassionate, Competitive Ace
Riss and her father Chris have taken on some of the best up-and-coming female Hawaiian surfers, dubbed as the C Stars.
“I like riding waves, just riding them is real fun.”
That was Carissa Moore at 11 years old. She’d just dispatched some of the biggest names in women’s surfing at sizable Haleiwa and we sat across from one another at an Italian restaurant in Town for her first-ever interview with a surfing publication. Fifteen years and three world titles later, the smile’s still the same when she’s in rhythm, and the dots are all connecting.
Earlier this summer at the U.S.A. Surfing Championships at Lower Trestles, Hawaii’s 11-year-old Vaihiti Inso won the 12 And Under national title. The result would have gone largely unnoticed had it not been for Carissa’s dad, Chris, dropping me a note about it. Like deja vu or something, he was beaming about a sweet, little 11-year-old that had just broken through.
Since 2017, Chris and Carissa have taken young Vaihiti, as well as a handful of other up-and-coming girls from Hawaii they’ve dubbed the “C Stars,” under their collective wing to pay it forward and hopefully help them reach them same atmospheric heights of Riss.
“I used to surf with her parents, Rocky and Alexis, at Kaisers when I was little,” said Carissa when we caught up via email. “Our first introduction came a few years ago.”
“I first met Carissa at a Hurley Surf Club event at Kewalo’s in August of 2017,” explains Vaihiti. “It was an all-girls event where we all surfed together and got some coaching from our session when we came in. At the end, Joel Centio, the Oahu Hurley surf coach, Carissa, and her father, Uncle Chris, gave us feedback on our surfing and how we can improve. I was pretty scared because I did not know many kids at the event since I had just started surfing. But Carissa was so friendly to all of us, I instantly felt close to her and liked her from the start.”
The trajectory has obviously been trending upward since then. Last year, Vaihiti and Carissa’s crew of girls, including Gabbi Knudson, Hoku Topping and Pua DeSoto, got to enjoy some “training” time at the Surf Ranch.
“My dad does all of the coaching. I can’t take any credit for that. I just share some waves and smiles and am there as a cheerleader,” cops Carissa. “I’ve been watching her surf and been super impressed for some time now. It’s exciting to see everyone’s reaction and response to her success. More importantly, she is such a good kid with a big heart. The balance of both is really cool.”
Besides developing her prowess as a competitive surfer, Chris and Carissa, are all about creating good humans in and out of the water. They’ve instilled the idea that there’s a bigger world out there than surfing. For whatever reason, as long as I’ve known Carissa I’ve always thought that if the surfing thing didn’t work out for her she’d make an amazing school teacher. Kind and compassionate, the lessons she’s imparting to her C Stars would indicate I wasn’t totally wrong.
“Our ‘give backs’ are a big part of their philosophy, so we brainstorm about ways we can give back,” explains Vaihiti. “I love all of the give backs we have done, but my favorite is volunteering at the Lo’i. It takes a tribe to grow kalo. There are always a bunch of us helping out and because we are all so muddy and dirty there is no way we can not have fun! Plus, it feels good to see how much we can get done in such a short time when we have so many people helping out.”
Carissa’s C Stars are part of her larger endeavor she’s calling Moore Aloha. Expanding to areas throughout the Pacific, her focus is identifying and working with young girls who have both a passion for surfing and indigenous roots. It’s still early days, but it’s coming together.
“All of the programs are designed to encourage girls to live their dreams, live authentically, take time for others and the world around them,” says Carissa.
In terms of what’s next for Vaihiti, she’s hungry to keep getting better and better…just like Carissa when she was 11.
One of my priorities is to work harder than ever at learning new maneuvers, search for some new lineups, and hopefully learn the air game soon so I can have some more tricks up my sleeves,” says Vaihiti.
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