Sierra Kerr might just be the most electric 14-year-old surfer on the planet. For the past couple of years, we've seen snippets of her freakish talent. From stints in Indo standing in huge barrels to boosting above the lip, nailing insane airs at wave pools and in the ocean, it's clear she's leading the way.
The prodigious daughter of aerial pioneer and long-time Australian CT surfer Josh Kerr is currently competing at the Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro where she's advanced to the Round of 16. It's only her second WSL event -- the first came last weekend at the Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro Junior, where she made the Semifinals.
"Yeah it was super sick to be able to compete against all the really good surfers from up here and super fun just to meet a bunch of new people and get some comp experience," she says of the experience competing in her first WSL QS event.
Sierra was born in Australia before the family moved back to the United States when she was four years old and now splits her time between the two countries. Dad Josh remains one of the best free surfers in the world, and continues to evolve. It's that appetite for progression that has rubbed off on Sierra.
Asked if he was more nervous competing on tour or watching his daughter compete in her first taste on the QS, he's quick to admit it's tough but trusts that despite her young age she has what it takes.
"I'm definitely much more nervous watching my daughter compete, to be honest. Obviously back when I was competing it was on me. You did your preparation and I had my own mind space to go into but now, I don't know what she's thinking I can't get into her mind so it's out of my control.
"I'm getting better and just being on the beach and just trusting her. She's in such a good headspace and such a high ability level that I just let her do her thing."
Sierra admits that having her Dad dragging her around the globe surfing pumping waves and pointing out where to sit has also helped foster her natural talent. The step-offs the pair have done recently in Australia show just how well they work together.
"Sometimes I don't know what I'm capable of and he'll know when it's too big or too gnarly and stuff," she says. "He also knows where to sit at places so it gives me a lot more confidence when I'm out there with him."
She also counts him as one of her favourite surfers to watch.
"I love watching my Dad because I'm always surfing with him and he's so good. And I like watching some of the people on tour like Steph, Felipe, and Italo they are surfing so good it's crazy."
With women's surfing progressing at a rate of knots and a vanguard of rising stars charging harder and pushing the limits of what people thought impossible ten years ago, athletes like Sierra are breaking new ground.
"It's so cool because right now if you watch the progression of the boys and girls surfing it's so crazy and I don't know how it's going to look in 10 years or so it's going to be crazy," she says.
With Tahiti reinstated on the Women's Championship Tour and Pipeline locked in for the 2022 season there will also be a push for the next generation of girls to go big and that's something Sierra believes will only help push the sport further.
"Yeah, a lot of the girls are going to be getting a lot more barrelled. Like learning backhand barrels which is going to be cool to watch and charging. Then with the airs hopefully we'll be able to chuck and air rev like the boys do whenever we want instead of it being a freak occurrence."
Throw wave pools into the mix as a training environment, a background skateboarding since she could walk and you begin to understand why Sierra Kerr is taking flight.
"I think skating helped me gain a lot more aerial awareness," she says casually when asked about the parallels of the two sports. "Like I know where I am more than if I didn't skate. Wave pools are really good because it gives you the same section every time to be able to fine-tune stuff so then when you go to the ocean you try figure out the section and then you'll know what to do."
Thumb through her Instagram feed and check out the first Stalefish air reverse she just landed. Oh, and there's another target she has her sights set on too.
"Yeah, I want to get on tour and hopefully win a world title. That's my goal."