Sage Erickson dove into the surf scene in 2006 when she became the Billabong Jr. Pro Champion, and placed third in the Open Women's division at NSSA nationals. Since then, the 19-year old has surfed her way to a podium finish at the Vans Pier Classic and scooped up the Pro Jr. Champion title at the Women's US Open of Surfing this August.
Outside caught up with the Ojai, California native days before her most recent coronation. Now she has her sights set on qualifying for the World Tour—she missed it last year by only one spot.
Are women bringing Jordy Smith-style big air to competitions?
Definitely. Surfing is changing and the girls try to incorporate flashy moves and big maneuvers, trying to do reverses and get air on some waves. Male surfing is more entertaining, and the guys are definitely pushing the girls to surf more like them.
What's your coolest trick?
My coolest trick is a front-side reverse. I've only done it three times and have been working on it for five months. You go to a close out section of the wave, grab the front rail, and throw your tail and that helps you spin it all the way around.
How has your older brother, Noah, influenced your style?
Noah is a high-performance surfer. I've always been more of a contest surfer, but I've seen how the change in style is going and he can always give pointers. He's more into making surf movies and big tricks now—he saw the change in surfing before I did. I love big contests.
Do you ever get nervous in big contests?
If I put 100 percent into training before I go in, I feel strong. But because so much goes into maintaining balance and cross training and not eating McDonald's when I'm stuck in an airport for 12 hours—it can be hard.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully I'll be established on the World Championship Tour and be someone who's looked upon in surfing as an awesome person and surfer. And hopefully I'll have a down payment on a house as well. That'd be a bonus.