Mikaela: Our family has always been very ocean-orientated, so it was a natural progression for us to take up surfing. But it took Eliza a little longer to jump on the bandwagon – it wasn’t until she won her first state comp age 9 that she fell in love with the competitive side of the sport.
Was there a turning point where you realised surfing could become your career?
Mikaela: There was never an “epiphany” for us. I feel like every little success in competitions and learning new manoeuvres were just a few of the stepping stones that cemented our belief in our junior careers that pursuing it was possible.
As sisters in the same field, how do you ensure you empower each other rather than competing?
Eliza: We have had to grind and work hard together to get to the level we’re at, so a win for one of us is a win for both of us. Although we take our profession seriously, we understand that there are more important things in life than sibling rivalry. For me personally, I feel like I have a dream job travelling the world and competing alongside my sister. As an athlete, you have your ups and downs, whether from an injury or a run of bad events, but having each other to empathise means we’ll always support each other.
Tell us about gender equality in the surfing world and what you would like to change?
Mikaela: The industry is heading in the right direction. The World Surf League Organization has just appointed their first female CEO and for the first time last year, we were a part of the first World Qualifying Series competition in Barbados where women and men had equal prize money.
How do you think the next generation of girls can change the world?
Eliza: They should aim to achieve as high as possible in whatever life path or career they choose. I feel like each generation of girls all over the world do their part in breaking the barrier for gender equality. Hopefully, the next generation will know that their voice is heard and their opinion is respected.