The Hawaii native is a five-time surfing world champion and the first-ever Olympic gold medalist in the sport
Carissa Moore's departure from competitive surfing is on the horizon.
The five-time world champion and first-ever Olympic surfing gold medalist announced on Friday that she's stepping away from a career in the sport that has undoubtedly been a remarkable ride.
In an interview with the New York Times, Moore — who was crowned her first world title when she was 19 years old — opened up about her future, specifically what life "outside the jersey" might look like for her.
“All those wins, the competitive part that’s so much of my identity, I’m taking that away, and I’m facing myself this year,” Moore, 31, told the outlet. “And that’s scary. Like, who am I? Am I going to be OK? Will I be able to love myself and think that I’m worthy without this?”
However, "retirement" is not the word she's using to describe this next chapter. "I don’t like the word retirement,” the Hawaii native said. “I like to say a departure from the tour, or just stepping back, or switching gears, or, like, evolving.”
Next, Moore has her sights set on starting a family with her husband, Luke Untermann — but before beginning her next chapter, she plans to compete in two major events this year on two of the world’s fiercest waves.
"Surfing is a part of who I am, and it always will be. This is by no means the end," she wrote in part on Instagram alongside a video announcing the news.
The World Surf League kicks off its championship tour with its season-opening event at Banzai Pipeline on Jan. 29. Moore, who is the reigning champion, will compete in front of close friends and family at the famed spot on Oahu’s North Shore.
The other event is the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, where she'll defend her surfing gold medal when the sport makes its return to the Games for its second year in July. Surfing will be held at Teahupo’o in Tahiti, considered one of the world's most dangerous waves.
Since age 13, Moore has competed on the WSL Tour — winning women's world titles in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2019 and 2021 — finishing the season outside the top three only once. She has already qualified for the Paris Games via her 2023 WSL results.
Moore opened up to PEOPLE in March 2023 about her fearless competitive mindset amid the WSL Tour, which carried more weight than year's past because it was surfing's top qualification route for the upcoming Olympics.
"Sometimes it seems scary, but I think at least for me, the magic happens when you step outside your comfort zone and face your fears," Moore told PEOPLE.
While she recognized that snagging a spot on Team USA was "going to be hard-earned" at the time, Moore said that she was "just trying to enjoy every moment" in the meantime.
"I think for me, everything in my career really feels like a cherry on top," she says. "When I first started out as a little girl it was all about just winning one world title and to see that dream come true five times and then to win a gold medal, it's unbelievable."
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Read the original article on People.