Surfing sisters are making waves
The young teens are already competing around the world. So what's next? High school.
Picture the typical surfer, and you see a sandy-haired 20-something riding the waves while on vacation on a beach in Hawaii. What you likely don't picture are two sisters – one 12 and one 15 – who are so competent at the sport that when they hit the water, people on the beach take notice.
Meet Anat and Noa Lelior, surfing sisters from Israel, who are becoming famous international athletes before their high school prom. Heck, one hasn't even started high school.
Believe it or not, the sisters are actually surfing veterans. Noa has been riding since she was 6, and Anat as early as 5, when her father would take her out on the Mediterranean Sea, known as an international hot spot for surfing. From their home in Tel Aviv, they are just minutes away from the beach where surfing is revered.
The sisters became a bit of an Internet sensation earlier this summer when a video about them was released:
"I dream about becoming a professional surfer," Anat tells From The Grapevine. She's certainly on her way, as she's ranked No. 9 in Europe in the under-20 age group.
Noa, who's about to enter the seventh grade, chimes in. "I want to be the best surfer in the world," she says one recent evening.
A little sibling rivalry emerges when asked who's the better surfer. "I think it's me," says the older Anat. "I'm bigger and I've been surfing longer than she has."
Their coach seems to agree with Anat. "Noa is still very young; she's building up now," trainer Adi Gluska tells From The Grapevine. "Anat is very mature, very talented, very methodic."
But Gluska, himself a former Israeli surfing champion, is by no means discounting the younger sister. "Noa has a very special character," he says. "She's very tough. And she's a hard worker. I think during the years to come, she will take a very big step. So both of them are special – each one in their own way."
The sisters train with Gluska about eight hours a week. "The best thing about them both is that they work hard," he says.
Both sisters have traveled to California and across Europe for competitions. At a meetup in Mexico three years ago, when Anat was 12 and Noa only 9, they came in first and third in their respective events. When they're not competing or training, the girls can seem like average teenagers – doing homework, watching "Harry Potter" and listening to Justin Bieber.
"I am very proud," says their mom Eti Jacobi. "I am truly proud. Me and my husband are really enjoying them."
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