The power of a gentle but relentless positivity!
It’s a very easy thing to fall under the spell of Sabre Norris and her family, Olympian Daddy Justin, wife Brooke, kids Socki, Biggy, Naz, Disco and Charm aka the Norris Nuts.
Years back, see, I spent a day with the surf-skate prodigy Sabre Norris and her fam. It was two days before Christmas and Sabre gifted me the true nature of family.
While my own house of cards was collapsing in a welter of sorrow, the foundations made rotten by poor husbandry, hers was exalting in each others’ complexities.
Sabre Norris, whose surfing is expressive and features a grab bag of tricks, is also a fantastic skateboarder.
When she was nine, and before she’d mastered riding a bike without training wheels, Sabre launched a thousand worldwide headlines by riding out of a 540 on the monster ramp in her backyard.
In my story, I’d admitted that the kid had become my new favourite surfer and Sabre Norris responded with a hand-written letter thanking me and inviting me to drive up and see ’em, “surf all day” and wrap it all up with dinner at Crinitis, an Italian restaurant famous for its crisp pizza bases and delicious toppings.
At the time, Sabre lived with her two younger sisters and little brother (now there’s two more in the mix) in an industrial estate called Thornton, thirty minutes drive inland from Newcastle.
Their dad, the Olympian swimmer Justin Norris who beat Michael Phelps at the 2000 games, built a swim school out there and the family lived in a two-bedroom apartment attached to the rear of the compound.
The apartment was attached to the swim academy is small, maybe fifty square metres. Two bedrooms.
In the main, a mattress hit three of the four walls. In the kid’s room, it was bumper to bumper. Nazzie against one wall, Sabre the other, Biggie and Sockie in the middle. When Sabre got scared at night and she worried that someone was gonna come in and kidnap ’em, she wrapped her arms around her sister to keep her safe.
The main room was an open-plan kitchen and living room. There was one lounge chair, in red velvet, rings hanging from the roof that Justin used to train with, half-a-dozen guitars (the kids busk in Newcastle to raise cash) and the world’s tiniest Christmas tree.
This year, after a wild run on social, 4.6 mill Instagram followers between ‘em and 6.69 mill YouTube subscribers and deals with Nintendo, Mattel, Disney, Lego, Hasbro, Woolworths and the Cartoon Network that nets ‘em ten gees a day, Christmas is looking lil more glitzy.
Back in July, the Norris’ had scooped up a block of six apartments next door for $10.5 mill with rumours it’ll one day be converted in a big ol house for the kids.
The original plan had been to move from Newy to the Gold Coast and the fam bought up two waterfront blocks with a hundred feet of riverfront frontage for $11.5 mill with plans to build a wild modernist joint complete with “a bright red winding interal slide, floating wine cellar display, and massive pool with sunken sun loungers and marked swim lanes.”
They ended up selling one for $6.42 mill and keeping the other. A smart move, I think. Never sell if you don’t have to is the wise Jewish advice.
Back in 2016 when I met the fam, Sabre Norris followed up my visit with a story of her own, “A day in the life of Derek Rielly.”
“I actually nearly didn’t get to meet Derek in real life because a couple of days earlier my Mum wanted to ban Derek from coming to our house,” wrote Sabre Norris. “She thought he was going to cook me in his writing.
“When Mum said he couldn’t come I had to fight for him.
‘Come on Mum, this guy is the inventor of Stab and now he’s inventing BeachGrit! That’s the equivalent of winning two world titles, maybe even equally Kelly Slater’s eleven. Please don’t blow this chance for me.’ With a lot of begging and pleading, mum reluctantly said yes.”
Readers, I’ve never been more thrilled to have new neighbours.