By Daniel Ikaika Ito
The positivity Cayla Moore, 17, exudes is infectious. Spend any amount of time with the Kamehameha Kapalama junior, however minute the period may be, and you will feel the Aloha spirit. On any give day she is the most-genuinely stoked surfer at her beloved homebreak, Kewalo’s. As the daughter of Chris Moore and Carol Lum, Cayla is the younger sister of two-time ASP Women’s World Champion Carissa Moore.
Despite having her last name paddle out before her at any wave in the world, Cayla is adding to the Moore legacy of surfing in her own way. This summer Cayla won her first national title, leading the Kamehameha Surf Team to their first NSSA National High School Championship. That victory, alongside playing water polo for Kamehameha, is allowing Cayla to find her path. Freesurf got to talk story with Cayla during the first week of the school year to chat about positivity, leadership and surfing.
So what’s it like growing up as Carissa Moore’s little sister?
It’s just like having any other sibling. She is my best friend and I love her a lot! From that, I know I have my own path and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
How much feedback does Carissa give you on your surfing?
My sister is my surf buddy. She keeps me company out in the lineup and is always encouraging me to try my hardest. She doesn’t have much input on my surfing, but she gives me feedback if she likes something I did and that’s always nice to hear. My dad has a lot of input on my surfing. He takes me to the beach and watches most of my surf practices. His feedback helps me to improve what I’m doing wrong and continue to do what I’m doing right.
We know you went to So Cal twice this year for NSSA Nationals and the U.S. Open, but what other surf trips have you been on?
This year I went to Fiji with my dad and sister and that was the first real surf trip that I’ve been on where there was no contest, just surfing. It was one of the most incredible places I’ve ever visited. Other than that I‘ve also surfed in France, Australia, Japan, California and else where on the Hawaiian Islands. My favorite location would be Fiji. I fell in love with the kind spirited people and warm waters. I mainly surfed Cloudbreak, which is a left in the middle of the ocean, and would love to go back.
That is an impressive list of surf destinations considering you’re in a traditional school setting. When did you get in to Kamehameha?
I entered Kamehameha freshman year. I came from a small school so it was a big difference. When I joined the surf team it helped me meet students from other grades and make friends with new people that liked the things I liked.
That camaraderie that you build with your teammates is priceless because you have that mutual passion.
My favorite part of participating on the Kamehameha surf team is that I get to meet wonderful people that are interested in the same things I am interested in. I get to travel with my teammates and because of that we get really close. They support me and encourage me no matter what and I truly value the friendships I’ve made over the years because of that.
How do you think the Kamehameha surf team was able to win their first NSSA National high school championship?
I think that the Kamehameha surf team was able to reach a national championship in five years because of our coach, Lea Arce. She started the surf team and without her we definitely wouldn’t be where we are today. She encourages surfers to join the surf team and she is always pushing us to try our hardest. Lea worked really hard to bring us all together and with each other’s support we were able to achieve a national championship.
Having a science teacher that surfs is pretty rad. Coach Arce and her staff seem to have a lot of confidence in your leadership because you’re the girls team captain.
As a surf team captain I strive to be encouraging, hardworking and courageous. I work to encourage my teammates to do their best and try their best both in and out of the water. I work hard so that I can help my team achieve the goals we set and so that other people will know that following me is a good idea. I also try to practice being courageous because as a surf team captain there are difficult decisions I have to make and I have to be able to communicate ideas to others.
That is awesome how you embrace your kuleana (responsibility)
to the team. Why are you stoked to be in a typical high school like Kamehameha?
I believe that a traditional school setting is an awesome experience. Most aspiring surfers are home-schooled and don’t get the same experiences (from traditional school). I feel that being in a traditional school setting teaches me to use my time wisely. As a surfer I learn to appreciate the times I get to practice and make the most of each time I’m in the water. A traditional school setting pushes me to balance school and sports and with that comes hard work.
Plus you don’t get to play interscholastic sports when you go to homeschool and that can be a bummer. Besides surfing what other athletics do you participate in?
I started playing water polo when I joined Kamehameha freshman year. Water polo is a great cross training sport for surfing. It helps me to keep in shape and to be aggressive. Water polo positively influences my surfing because I carry over how I approach the game to how I should approach contests. Water polo teaches me to play hard and play smart but not be too hard on myself, which is very helpful in heats.
You constantly exude the Aloha spirit in the lineup and on land, so why do you think there is value in having a positive outlook on life?
The value of having a positive outlook on life is that you are motivated to make the most of it. Being positive about the things you do and where you want to go allows you to work hard and try your best each and everyday. One of my favorite quotes is “be your passion.” I feel that having a positive outlook on life is finding what you are passionate about and living life with that passion.