At the Sydney International Women’s Pro 11-year-old Australian surfing/skateboarding prodigy Sabre Norris will make history when she paddles out, becoming the second-youngest surfer to ever compete in a World Surf League event.
Norris, who became an internet sensation two years ago when a video of her landing a 540 on her skateboard went viral, was given a wildcard spot in the World Surf League Qualifying Series event by Australian pro surfer Sally Fitzgibbons, who organized the contest.
Can't believe @sally_fitz Has given me the wildcard into her professional event. Out of all the girls in the world she could of choose she gave it to me, I feel so special and lucky . I have so much hope in my heart that I might make a heat but I'm against adult size girls so I'm not sure I can. But even if I get last I get $250 of prize money. That's more money than I have saved my entire life so if I lose I'm just going to think about the cash and I will still feel really happy. Sabre
“This is so cool to be here,” Norris told the WSL about her inclusion. “I don’t feel like I deserve it but I’m so thankful that Sally has given me this opportunity. What’s even more amazing is that Sally is one of my favorite surfers so to surf in her event is the best.”
Norris, the daughter of former Olympic swimmer Justin Norris, says it hasn’t just been Fitzgibbons who has taken the young surfer under her wing — she’s also received instruction from three-time world champion Mick Fanning:
— Nine News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) November 2, 2016
While it might seem shocking to imagine a preteen competing against the best surfers in the world, Norris’ inclusion in the Sydney International Women’s Pro is far from a novelty.
The Sydney International Women’s Pro contest is a QS 6,000 event and will feature multiple top-10 globally ranked surfers including Norris’ opening round matchup against Sage Erickson.
Amy Denman, a communications manager for the World Surf League (formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals), confirmed to GrindTV that with her wildcard spot, Norris is the second-youngest surfer to ever surf in a WSL or ASP event.
Back in 2011, Meah Collins competed in the Legendary Coast Pro in Australia when she was also 11, though she was a few days younger at the time than Norris is.
For her part, Norris couldn’t seem more thrilled to be surfing with the best in the world: In email correspondence with GrindTV, Norris’ mother Brooke said what was supposed to be a short practice session yesterday turned into a four-hour affair as Norris didn’t want to stop surfing with her “heroes.”
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