Log Chats Vol. 2 | Sierra Lerback
"Ask anyone who knows their shit what the most prestigious division at the Noosa Festival of Surfing is and you’ll get the same answer, the Old Mal. Since the event’s inception back in 1992 (that’s 30 years ago for those of you who can’t count), the Old Mal division has been the touchstone of traditional longboard surfing in Australia. There’s a level of romanticism in the Old Mal that’s not prevalent in other divisions and the title is hotly contested by the best surfers in town. As a result, the winner always walks away with a massive amount of street cred. I’d argue however, no one in the history of the Old Mal division has ever gotten as much street cred as Sierra Lerback, who this year made history by becoming the first woman to ever win the division. I won’t beat around the bush, Sierra fucking dominated. It was a great day for women, a great day for surfing, and a great day for the Old Mal." - Harrison Roach
Ryan: Congrats on the big win! Was this your first year competing in the Old Mal Division?
Sierra: Last year was actually the first year I competed in the old mal division. About two weeks before the Noosa Festival I saw that a friend was selling an old mal that looked pretty similar to the new Thomas board I was riding at the time. I figured what the heck I’ll buy it, do the old mal division, and then just put the board in the house as decoration. The board ended up surfing great, almost better than my normal board some days, because it’s just so heavy and plows through sections. I could imagine it was the perfect board for Noosa back in the day.
How big were the waves the day of the final?
There were waist high sets but they were pretty rare. It was one of those days where if the heat before you had good waves, you knew that your heat would be pretty slow.
Yea I feel like that’s what can happen sometimes with an event at a point break. You kinda just have to get lucky with the timing of your heat sometimes
Yea and I feel like that’s what happened in my case. I just got lucky with the timing of where I was sitting when this one set rolled through and I knew Harrison and Jarred wouldn’t be able to get it. That one ended up being one of the better waves that came through during the heat and it was cool. I remember all the boys cheering for me when I caught that one.
At that event, do they announce your scores live while you’re surfing?
They do until the last 5 minutes. With like 7 minutes left I heard them say I was winning but Harrison only needed a 6.8. I knew that was pretty achievable for him and he ended up getting a wave that looked good so I for sure thought he got it. It was until we were at the surf club drinking beers before the awards when some saw that they accidentally published the scores online and his wave came in as a 6.7, so I ended up winning by .1 haha
That’s amazing, did you win any money?
Yeah, I didn’t even realize until I won there was a prize of $1,000 so that was a great surprise haha
Rad, it sounds like it was a fun time. Do you think you inspired more girls to give it a go next year?
Yea I hope so! Last year it was just me and then this year we had Mason Schremmer and Kira Molnar also enter it and they did pretty well too. I feel like riding the old mals kinda of evens the playing field with the men and the women because they’re freakin hard boards to ride haha. I hope we see more girls start to sign up in the future and I think we will because of how well Mason and Kira did as well.
Hoping to do a trip to Mexico with Mason (Schremmer) this to get some content for an upcoming Thomas video project. Hoping to check out the Salina Cruz area, so if anyone has any info/leads on good places to stay down there hit me up!