Sierra Kerr On Greasing Full Rotes, Making Dad Cry & Her Concussion @ VSHPBME
‘I haven’t got my license yet, but I’m thinking of buying a little truck.’
I have the habit of crying at funerals. Seeing 15-year-olds win energy drink awards too, apparently.
I was delegated the critically important role of timecoding notable moments from the tower at Vans Stab High presented by Monster Energy (VSHPBME). My sheet of paper looked like this – Baja Koala, FS finger-flippy-thing, 5:45. Nathan Fletcher, punchy one-liner, 26:43. Holly rinsing Mikey C, (28:15, 17:34, 4:57 etc), before it was sent off in a Pelican case to the editor’s den (via boat grom).
Also sourcing Pringles for the judges/production team, that was my job too.
Again, the Ladybirds are the main talking point of VSHPBME. Sierra’s 10 in the final was the biggest air ever! It’s a bit of a Stab law to avoid claiming ‘best evers’ without consensus, now we can scream it from the parapets. Sierra Kerr did the biggest air ever! I know cos I penned it in BIC from the shaking (and slanted and screwless) leaning tower of Lakey Peak while it rattled in cahoots.
This, I asked the 15-year-old Ladybird about, among other things such as her concussion pre-final, the first car she wants to buy with her Monster Air winnings, making dad cry and more.
Generally speaking, it’s not nice to make your parents cry, but I think after you rinsed everyone in the final you’re excused. How was it seeing Dad swell with pride at the ceremony?
That was pretty funny because he didn’t know I was winning the Monster Air. I didn’t know I was winning it. So he was just there filming something and then suddenly all the girls started spraying me with Monster. I looked over and saw him crying and was like, “There is no way my dad’s crying right now.” It was pretty cute.
I almost felt like crying. It was so emotional. In the final your dad was sitting in the channel, was he giving you any tips?
(Laughs) Dad knows when to give me advice. Sometimes we’ll watch videos, he’ll be like, “Oh, you could have done this.” He doesn’t try to cloud my brain with too much stuff when I surf. I like feeling free and doing whatever feels right in the moment. So he didn’t say anything other than tell me to keep catching waves and offer me water.
The whole time it was pretty big in Lakey Peak. We saw more bigger airs on larger waves than we did technical skate-influenced tricks you often see in the pool. How did you shift your approach from the pool to the peak?
You only get a certain amount of attempts in the pool, so you want to make something first and then start building. In the ocean if there’s a section you just have to send it and do what the section wants you to do. It takes some of the choice out of your hands. You can’t go small if it’s a big section.
When the waves are that big, you’re less trying to generate speed and more trying to harness it. How did you adapt to the Lakey slingshot?
I’d never surfed Lakeys before and it’s super bumpy. You really need to hold your rail and draw the right line, particularly if you want to hit that first section. You almost need to stay in the top half of the wave or else it disappears. The takeoff spot is a pretty big playing field so often it feels like you’re out at sea. There were multiple occasions where I sat behind the section, then there’d be a random eight foot cleanup set that would lip you square in the head.
You hit your head freesurfing over there and for the next few days I noticed you were wearing sunglasses, even when you were inside. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience and how you were feeling heading into the final?
I was surfing at Periscopes. It would’ve been the day after the second round. I tried a straight air and slapped my head on the water. I slap my head a lot and normally it just hurts for a second and then goes away. I paddled back out, and I was like, “Oh, I’m not feeling that good.”
After that I started feeling really unwell, throwing up and my eyes became quite sensitive to light. That’s why I was wearing sunglasses in the restaurant and during the presentations at night, because the spotlights were so bright. I took a couple days off and the day before the finals, I felt better and had a good air session. I was like ‘Dang, I wish we ran today’ (laughs). I felt good for the final day. Not 100% but much better than I had been.
That’s frightening if that is you not surfing at 100%… The Ladybirds have a great camaraderie, on land you guys are always hanging out and goofing around, can tell us how the competitive side of that comes out in the water.
We’re all best friends and we all want to see each other do better. At the same time we’re constantly trying to one-up each other. After Caity got told I landed the full rev she was like, “Damn it, I’m going to do something big now.” It’s great because you’re always getting pushed beyond your comfort zone.
You’re still so young, but obviously your old man did seven years on tour, and now Caity will be the first Ladybird to make the CT. Do you have any aspirations of pursuing a WSL-ly competitive career? Are you even thinking about that at this point?
Right now, no. I don’t want to make the tour until I’m older. I feel very young for that type of stuff, even the Challenger Series. I like doing a comp every once in a while. They’re fun, but I wouldn’t like to grind the whole year chasing results and barely having enough time to do trips and improve my actual surfing. Once I’m a bit older, for sure. For now I’m just enjoying getting my surfing better, traveling and being with friends and stuff.
How do you want to evolve your surfing in the coming years?
I want to get better in all types of conditions, but I definitely want to get my turns more powerful, keep improving my airs and work on my backside barrel riding.
Who do you look to for inspiration in the air?
Outside of Stab High, I love watching Felipe, he has incredible control. At Lakeys, I loved watching Matt (Meola) send it. You realize how big those sections he’s hitting are and it’s insane. Also Mateus, he has really amazing body torque through his airs and his make ratio is crazy. You expect him to land every air he goes for.
What did you find the most challenging kind of air from a technical standpoint at Lakeys?
Probably straight airs because the sections were almost bending away from you at times. I feel like it suited rotations better because you can use your body torque to project towards the beach. I kept trying to find an alley-oop section because the boys were stomping them and they looked sick. I feel like those were pretty hard to get out there.
Were you thinking you’d won the Monster Air or did that kind of come as a total surprise to you?
A bunch of people had said, “Oh, that was the Monster Air” because in the beginning they had said, “it’s proportional from the ladies to the men’s.” But they were going to let the Stab Premium people vote, so I didn’t get my hopes up. I was just sitting there and suddenly the girls started shaking Monster cans. I was like, “Oh wait, is it actually happening?” And then yeah, I won (laughs).
More than 1 million people have viewed the full rotation you landed in the final on our instagram. How has the response been?
It’s been amazing, overwhelming too. We were just at the airport and someone stopped me and was like, “That air was incredible!” Every time I’ve gotten served at a cafe back home someone has told me, “that air was sick.” It’s been crazy.
I find it exciting that you guys are carrying a bunch of plus four Uno cards with you to contests. Does it feel that way to you?
Yeah it does. Especially when it’s a contest and you know it’s fun for airs. I can get a six pretty easily doing an air where people would have to do three turns on or two returns on a nice wave to get the same. I know I just need to keep giving myself opportunities, which suits me because I don’t like being patient. I like to catch waves, have fun and just treat it like a free surf.
You now surfed in three different Stab Highs and won two of them. Which is your favorite Stab High destination and why?
Waco was probably the funnest one because we were just frothing out the whole time. I got to meet Caity for the first time and hang out with Sky and Bella in the same hotel. Indo was the most perfect but we were just trying to stand up in barrels most of the time (laughs). It was the best surf trip, but maybe not the best for focusing on airs.
Lakeys was super fun but I wouldn’t say it was probably my favorite air wave. The sections are great but it’s very shifty and hard to figure out. Hanging out with everyone at Fatmahs was great though, the hype everyone had around the contest was awesome.
You mentioned that you’re going to buy your first car with it?
Right now I’m saving it because I haven’t gotten my license yet. Hopefully I end up buying something good with it. I’m thinking a smaller truck, maybe a Tacoma type thing.
Red Bulls, Crypto Bears, Former’s Six-Figure Fish, Tyler’s Multi-Millions And More
A brief catalog of the latest surf industry news and whispers.
“Definitely The First Time I’ve Gone Surfing Via Plane”
Parker Coffin, Harrison Roach, and friends tear through NZ on Roark's most well-rounded surf trip…
Pipe Preview: This Year Feels Different
With John and Gabs healthy — and the arrival of the femme next-gen — here’s…
WSL Tells Competitors: ‘You Better Like Them Apples’
Will mandating competitors to wear Apple Watches make the 2023 tour more or less engaging?
Stab Surfer of the Year: John John Florence, Italo Ferreira, Balaram Stack, Rolo Montes, and Shaun Manners
Day 9: "You can't do better than his year last year." - John John Florence
Full Moon Surfs, Impassable Puddles, And A Few Nights Spent Sleeping In A WSL Commentary Booth
A reader-submitted collection of nonconformist surf stories.
Kael Walsh Now Owns A Bitcoin, And Watched One Crypto Video
He’s officially your Stab Edit Of The Year champion.
Carissa Moore And Finn McGill Are Your 2023 Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Champions
They both pocket $50k and tickets to this year’s Vans Pipe Masters.
The Pick-Up, Presented By Vans, Episode 5
Mason Ho helps us ring in our final week on the North Shore.
Goofyfoot Brazilian World Champion Stars In Stab’s Biggest Board-Testing Franchise
Can you guess who?
Surf Community Rallies To Raise Funds For Eddie Winner And On-Duty Hawaiian Lifeguard Luke Shepardson
Because it's the right thing to do, of course.
Interview: Caity Simmers On Machete Wars, Rihanna, Personal Project Problems, And The Rise Of Female Surf Content.
A toast to ‘Toasted.’
Stab Surfer of the Year: Creed McTaggart, Albee Layer, Laura Enever, Dane Guduaskas, and Selema Masekela
Day 8: "65 years young and charging just as hard as ever at Pipe, Backdoor,…
“I’m Not A Big Wave Guy”
How Kai Paula accidentally made his mark at Jaws three weeks after surfing it for…
A toes in the sand, phone in the lagoon account of the 10th Eddie Aikau…
Breaking: Another CT Rookie Injured Before First Event
Sophie McCulloch pulls out of Pipeline due to Snapper Rocks snafu.
Watch: ‘Toasted,’ By Caity Simmers
Your favorite surfer directs, edits, and stars in her first feature film.