Speak, even if your voice shakes.
— The Project (@theprojecttv) March 15, 2018
Few people in the world’s surfing community seem half as cool as Sabre Norris. She’s bubbly and energetic and her morning show interviews go viral because nobody can deny the humor of unapologetic honesty from a person her age. Ellen Degeneres loved her — and that should certainly count for something.
So it’s safe to say we’ve all been as enamored with Sabre as Sabre is with donuts since a wildcard entry into a women’s WSL event landed the then 11-year old on a Sydney morning show. You can always count on her for a laugh or five but the same quality that grabbed our attention in the first morning show interview in 2016 — honesty — is a big reason we’re still so infatuated with her.
Earlier this year, the 13-year old with Olympic dreams revealed that she’s actually battling Chiari malformation, a condition that causes her brain tissue to extend into the spinal canal. For some, the defect can come with little or no symptoms but for others, it can bring everything from regular pain in the neck to serious vision and coordination problems and plenty more. “I do cry in my bed a lot,” she admitted in an interview earlier this year. “I’m scared of it getting worse and not being able to skate and surf again.” And in spite of that, Norris seems to have kept her positive outlook on everything. Still surfing away and dreaming of the Olympics.
And as if we needed any new reasons to root for Sabre Norris, she just crossed another item off of her good karma to do list when she appeared in a recent anti-bullying campaign on a show called The Project. The PSA was part of the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. The message of speaking up about bullying “even if your voice shakes,” was an homage to the recent death of 14-year-old Amy “Dolly” Everett. Dolly was a victim of bullying, and her suicide made national headlines in January and has opened up conversations about the darker side of social media for kids today.
“When people get bullied, most of them stay quiet. They feel so alone that they don’t feel that they can tell anyone,” she said in the PSA. It was a small piece of the larger message for people to open up and be honest when they’re bullied. Refreshingly, that’s exactly what Sabre decided to do on social media herself.
“I know bullying. To be honest there are 2 Sabres,” she wrote in an Instagram post, “a computer one where people think i’m popular then the other real life one which is the opposite of popular. The place I fit in the least is at the skatepark and the surf which hurts because this is the place I want to fit in the most. For me its the grown up boys and adults. I find it embarrassing to talk about bullying because i want people to think I’m cool.”
Tonight on the @theprojecttv I took part in anti bullying thing. I know bullying. To be honest there are 2 Sabres a computer one where people think i’m popular then the other real life one which is the opposite of popular. The place I fit in the least is at the skatepark and the surf which hurts because this is the place I want to fit in the most. For me its the grown up boys and adults. I find it embarrassing to talk about bullying because i want people to think I’m cool ______________________________________________ Im not saying this because I want anyone to fell sorry for me, I promise I’m happy 👍🏻🙂. I just hope if I share what bullying feels like for me (even if it’s a bit embarrassing) if there are any kids out there who are being bullied and have that bad feeling in your heart that you tell someone about how you feel because that always fixes me and I hope it helps you. ❤️. #SpeakEvenIfYourVoiceShakes #Dolly
It’s sad to think of a positive and seemingly happy go lucky 13-year old girl admitting she feels out of place in the lineup or at the skatepark when they’re the two places she’d want most to fit in. But cheers to her for being honest about it in hopes of inspiring somebody else to step up. I’m not the only who thinks the world needs more rad little Sabre Norrises in the water.