Under The Influence: Carissa Moore

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Remember that contest? The one where Carissa came in all pissed off, whining about the conditions and snapping on the judges for underscoring her three-turn combo? No? Damn, we were hoping you saw something we missed. Fact is, we only get one side of Carissa Moore: positive, bubbly and grateful. Which we love, but is the happy-go-lucky attitude just a front for us media folk? Is she catty and off-color behind closed doors? In Rio, we armed photographer (and Carissa's friend) Ryan Miller with a recorder and asked him to get us something candid of the two-time world champ. The result? She's pretty much the sweet girl we've come to know, even if she doesn't surf that way.

CARISSA: I take it as a compliment when someone says, "You surf like a guy." Guys are the leaders of our sport and we look to them for innovation and progression. So when someone compares my surfing to a man's, it's like, "Really? That's pretty cool!"

Some of the young guys on the men's tour are really good, but the top guys are all older. The women's tour is different. There's a lot of youth and we all inspire each other. I'm part of a young generation that came up surfing together. Girls like Malia Manuel, Coco Ho, Alessa Quizon and I have always tried to be better than each other, and that's still happening today.

I actually didn't surf a lot when I was young. My parents got divorced when I was 10 years old. Before that, my dad would push me into little waves and my mom would catch me at the end, but after the divorce, I didn't surf when I was with my mom because she associated surfing with my dad. Her and I butted heads for a while, especially in high school, and we were barely on speaking terms for two years. But now, I'm really thankful for all she's done for me. She taught me to fight for what I want and to be strong. These days, our relationship couldn't be better.

Of course, I also give a lot of credit to my dad. He's a big-picture guy. He's really smart, strategic and has been a big influence in my training. He encourages me to take time off when it's necessary and helps me keep a cool head. And you wouldn't think it when you see him on the beach looking really serious, but he's also really funny when you get to know him.

I've never been one to soak in the limelight. I like the attention from success, but I don't like to dwell in it. I think complacency comes from that. For me, win or lose, it's on to the next event. That way, I always keep the pressure to improve on myself.

I'm not perfect; I'm only human. I am a genuinely positive person, but I have days when I get negative. There was a period in my surfing career where I was a little overweight, 20 lbs heavier than I am now, and I had to deal with negative comments and block out the distractions. But it taught me who's important. I have my mom and dad, my boyfriend and a really great group of friends who all love me for me.

My boyfriend, Luke, is another rock in my life. He gives me a ton of confidence. I have this guy who tells me a million times a day that he loves me, that he thinks I'm the most beautiful girl in the world, that he thinks I'm the best surfer and that he thinks I should win every heat. Hardly anything negative ever comes out of his mouth. You can't go wrong with that much love.