Sabre Norris, an 11-year-old Australian surfer who competed in the inaugural Sydney International Women's Pro in November, is an undeniable talent in the water. But her claim to fame at that event was not for her heroics in the competition jersey, but her unfiltered, off-the-cuff interview in which she called her former-Olympian father "pretty fat" and announced that she would spend her Sydney Pro prize money on doughnuts.
This week, Norris made waves on TV again when she appeared on Ellen DeGeneres' eponymous daily talk show. At first, Ellen tried to stick to some talking points: How Sabre got into surfing, how often she surfs, and how she did at the Sydney Pro, which was the brainchild of Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour surfer Sally Fitzgibbons.
But Norris quickly took things in her own direction, explaining what exactly she did with her prize money ($100 for each of her siblings, leaving $200 for candy); why she thinks swimming -- her dad's sport of choice, for which he reportedly won a Bronze medal in the Olympics -- "sucks;" the myriad foods that she dreams of eating at Las Vegas breakfast buffets; and what she thinks of Justin Bieber ("I just can't get enough!").
While Norris didn't advance out of Round Three at the Sydney Pro -- she went down to CT veteran Sage Erickson and Qualifying Series surfer Tia Blanco -- she still caught the attention of the surf world. Six-time women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore has called the young star "badass." Surf writer Sean Doherty, meanwhile, paddled out with Sabre, and quickly became both impressed and depressed.
Describing his session in a 2015 Coastal Watch article, he wrote: "I knew this moment would come, a sad sign of inevitable decline, but I expected I might be at least 70 years old when it did. Instead here I was, seemingly in my prime, my ego being shredded by the forehand turn of a killer smurf.
"My sense of self-loathing, however, was soon overwhelmed by a sense of unbridled joy. It's impossible, you see, to watch Sabre Norris surf and not be spellbound."
As Norris hacks, soars and slashes her way through the competitive circuit, it's likely that her five minutes of fame will likely stretch into a career, and last quite a bit longer.