Rain was predicted Wednesday, but kept at bay by the sun and even brighter smile and eyes of Carissa Moore, the newly crowned, four-time world surfing champion and first-time Olympic surfing designee.
As the homegrown Hawaiian wonder, she celebrated her victory with ohana, friends and fans beside the Duke Kahanamoku’s statue in Waikiki, where she first started catching waves.
“It’s been such an emotional couple of days, I haven’t been able to keep myself from crying,” said Moore, who clinched her world championship and Olympic status Monday after winning her semifinal heat with two brilliant tube rides in 4-6 foot waves at Maui’s Honolua Bay.
“This win isn’t just for me but for my family and friends, all of you,” said the lei-draped athlete in board shorts, opening her arms in a gesture that echoed the lei-draped arms of the ambassador of aloha commemorated in bronze behind her.
Moore will partake in the first-ever Olympic surfing event this summer in Tokyo, Japan.
“I’m proud to represent the USA but most of all Hawaii,” Moore added.
“I’m so excited to go to the Olympics and share the spirit of aloha that Duke shared,” she said of the Waikiki-born waterman who was the first Native Hawaiian to participate in the Olympics, where he won gold and silver medals in swimming.
Tears shining on her cheeks, Moore told her husband Luke Untermann she loved him, and thanked and acknowledged her dad, mom, both sets of grandparents, her little sister, the World Surf League, her sponsors and assembled politicians before exchanging hugs and taking photos with her many friends old and new in the welcome-home crowd.