How Olympic Gold Medal Surfer Carissa Moore Stays Calm Amid Chaos

Surfing’s first female Olympic gold medalist shares how she remains focused in unpredictable environments.

Surfer Carissa Moore had been waiting her whole life for this year’s Olympic Games. After decades of lobbying, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was the first time surfing was included. And Moore, upon clinching the win in an explosive last heat, was crowned the sport’s first female Olympic gold medalist.

“It definitely felt like a highlight moment—a dream come true,” she recalls over Zoom, now back home on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. “I had this overwhelming sense of pride and honor to represent something bigger than myself.”

While the Olympics was a career high for Moore, who has been surfing since she was five, her gold medal win was hardly an upset. With four World Champion titles to her name, the 28-year-old pro surfer was the favorite coming into the Games.

And though she did not disappoint, Moore divulges that even elite athletes suffer from bouts of self-doubt. Mental health, as we’ve learned in this year’s games, is just as crucial as physical prowess. “There’s a lot of preparation that goes into an event—mentally, emotionally, physically,” she says. “Everything needs to be aligned and needs constant attention.” Here, Moore shares how she helps her mind find calm amid the chaos of the waves.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep—and Take Advantage of Naps

There’s a huge difference to how I approach the day when I have a good night’s sleep compared to if I don’t sleep well. Tools like the Oura Ring have helped me check my sleep and recovery, so that I’m able to perform at my best. With good sleep, I feel more in tune with my body. I’m way more able to focus on the task at hand. I find that when my sleep is off, the anxiety comes in a lot more. I feel distracted and everything feels more overwhelming. So, sleep is ridiculously important.

And I’m a big believer in naps. Definitely a few times on finals day, if you came in the locker room, you’d find me lying down in the corner, just getting in my z’s.

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Build a Mental Support System

On the mental side, I work with a mental life coach several times a week. Whether it’s personal or professional, he’s a great neutral sounding board. It’s easy to get caught up in everything going on and what other people want for you. So, it’s been really nice to have the gentle guidance to just stay on my path.

This story originally appeared on: Vogue - Author:Eunica Escalante

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