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Surf Quiz: What would you give up to be a pro?

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

What would you swap for pro-level surf skills?

A week or so ago, I had an interesting back and forth with the little pro surfer gal Sabre Norris. The kid is sharper than most adults and has a curiosity that never dulls. Twelve years old. What an interesting life she’s creating for herself.

After I’d sent Sabre a critique of her story about going snowboarding for the first time, she wrote:

“You are lucky that you can just look at the writing and you know how to make it better. That’s an easy thing for you. It’s kind of like a secret talent because if you just saw you walking in the street you wouldn’t know that that talent lived inside you. I always think that’s interesting, you know if you just see a random person and you wonder if they have a secret talent and what it might be?”

Then she asked: “Would you swap your talent of writing for say Ryan Callinan (a surfer who is not on tour but really good still) surf ability?”

As it happens, I’m contemptuous of my writing. I find it derivative, lazy, misses important points, my own opinion is clouded by my inability to express clearly, I bury the lead (this story included) and I make people angry when I don’t mean to.

So, yes, Sabre, I would happily hand over the keys to whatever it is that comes out of these fingers just to feel the wind in my hair like Ryan Callinan. I would also include a substantial cash amount.

Just the fantasy of being Ryan has me panting and threatening hospitalisation from nervous exhaustion.

Am I alone in these fantasies?

Would you give up your primary skill to be a pro surfer?


Your cute wife?