Carissa Moore on her first time surfing the world's most iconic big wave spot.
On paddling out: I was so nervous! I paddled out with my Dad and boyfriend, Luke, so that made me feel a little better. When we drove around the corner and took our first glimpse of the bay, a massive set was rolling through and I was a bit freaked out. I was almost convinced that we weren't paddling out that day.
On the motivation to surf Waimea: My Dad saw the swell, and thought it would be the perfect size to paddle out for my first time and just enjoy the experience out there. It was big, but not huge, so there was still a big safe channel to sit and watch in. I got a 9'0" board shaped by Dick Brewer a few years ago and hadn't ridden it so that was definitely a little motivation to go.
On her first wave: I'm not gonna lie. My waves were pretty small but I was still super stoked that I caught a few. I was originally just gonna sit and watch from the channel, so committing to sit in the lineup and catch one was a big step. Maybe next time I'll try for a couple medium ones.
On Waimea's kinks closeup: I learned that the smaller ones really pitch so you have to get into them with some momentum. It's a steep drop and it's all about commitment. I also learned that you just have to take your time and be smart, especially coming in through the shorebreak. I actually thought that was the scariest part. It took me, like, 10 minutes to get to the beach without getting pounded.
On making it back to the beach: I was relieved that I survived, and so stoked that I did something that I really never thought I could. I was pretty scared and nervous before we paddled out so it felt good to work through those feelings. It was definitely a rush. I couldn't stop smiling.
On surfing it even bigger: I don't know about bigger, but I would love to go back out around that same size and get more comfortable.