By: Rochelle Marapao
Identical Twins, Hailey and Sierra Partridge, are taking the surfing world by storm.
Twenty-one-year-old identical twins and professional surfers, Hailey and Sierra Partridge, are hard to miss. Strikingly beautiful, they are statuesque at 5-feet-10 with blonde hair and blue-green eyes and look more like models than surfers. But, don’t let their good looks fool you. People may do double takes when the girls walk into a room, but these two are even more amazing to watch in action. The Santa Cruz, California natives are fearless when it comes to tackling tumultuous waves on their surfboards, and it’s this prowess that’s earned them professional status and recognition in the surfing world.
Hailey and Sierra Partridge were born in San Francisco on December 18, 1988 to Rym and Winnie Partridge. The girls were born with congenital cataracts, a condition known to affect 0.4 percent of all births. A congenital cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye that is present at birth. The lens of the eye is normally a clear structure that focuses light received by the eye onto the retina. In some cases, if surgery is not performed, blindness may occur. Fortunately, Hailey and Sierra were able to undergo an operation to save their vision. “We both realize how lucky we were that we lived in a time and place that allowed us to have the surgery to prevent us from becoming blind,” says Hailey.
Growing up, the girls were very athletic and played almost every team sport imaginable including baseball, softball, volleyball, basketball and soccer. But, it was their introduction to the ocean that served as the catalyst for their love of surfing. “My parents had us swimming in the ocean before we could even walk,” recalls Sierra. “My parents are both very skilled water people and shared their love of the ocean with Hailey and me.”
The twins’ parents are accomplished surfers who met while they were both living on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, known as the center stage of the surfing world. “Mom put us on boogie boards when we were 3 years old,” says Hailey. “Shortly after that, we started going tandem with Dad on his board, and by the time we were 9, we were long boarding on our own and competed in our very first contest.” By 13, the girls decided to tackle short boarding and began competing in the NSSA (National Scholastic Surfing Association) and the ISF (Interscholastic Surfing Federation) contests up and down the California coast. Besides traveling for surfing competitions, Hailey and Sierra were still playing other team sports. Once they started high school, a decision had to be made. So when it came down to getting serious about committing themselves to one sport, the girls chose surfing. The choice, however, was an easy one as Sierra explains, “My sister and I love sports and competition, but like our parents, we have a special bond with the ocean. There was no doubt when we had to make a choice that we would choose surfing.”
At 16, Hailey and Sierra gained status as professional surfers and obtained their first official sponsors and contracts. They are proud of the fact that almost 6 years later, the companies who have supported them from the beginning still sponsor them today: O’Neill, Hobie, Ocean Minded and Betty Belts. Besides surfing competitions, Hailey and Sierra go on photo trips and shoots and are featured in worldwide advertising campaigns for their sponsors.
Being sisters and having to compete against each other in surf competitions has had its difficult moments through the years, but it’s the twins mutual respect and love for each other that holds strong and never allows competition and rivalry to become personal. “When we were younger, competing against each other was really hard,” admits Hailey. “We would cry and get jealous, but it taught us some good lessons in sportsmanship and realizing that you can’t always be the best. We have this philosophy that a win or good result for one of us is great for both of us. The same goes for ads and pictures if only one of us gets published. Exposure for one of us is great for our ‘team.’” Adds Sierra, “We’re such good friends and do everything together, so when it comes down to competing against each other, it can be a bit difficult because we know each other’s habits so well. But, when that horn blows, we really have to focus on doing the best job that we can individually.”
Besides the glitz and glamour of surfing and modeling, Hailey and Sierra realize the importance of giving back and making their contribution to the world. They keep things in perspective by getting involved with several charities. For the past few years, they have volunteered as surf instructors with the O’Neill Surf Academy’s Out of Bounds program in Holland and Belgium. The program allows Hailey and Sierra, along with other instructors, the opportunity to teach hundreds of visually impaired and blind children how to surf. “My sister and I feel like that experience was one of the most rewarding events in our lives,” admits Hailey. The twins also donate their time and efforts to the Santa Cruz Ride-A-Wave and the East Bali Poverty Project.
Surfing is a tough sport and when doing it competitively, being in the best physical shape can make the difference between being a good surfer and a great one. Hailey and Sierra take no shortcuts when it comes to exercise and nutrition. “Surfing really tones your arms and back muscles, so it’s important not to forget your legs and core, which still need to be strong,” says Hailey. The girls train year round for competitions by surfing twice a day depending on the quality of the waves, but if this isn’t possible, they will opt to go stand-up paddling instead. Outside of the water, Hailey and Sierra take Vinyasa or Bikram yoga classes to increase their flexibility and tone their legs and core. To increase endurance, the girls go to the gym daily and do hour long sessions of cardio on the treadmill, Stairmaster or recumbent bike and will focus on core exercises by doing ball tucks, planks, sit-ups and crunches. They don’t usually train with weights because they’re fortunate enough to put on muscle they need for surfing and modeling easily, but will add weights when doing squats and sit-ups to change up the intensity of their workouts.
Both Hailey and Sierra have to stay consistent with their workouts and diets all year round. Their exercise regimen is basically the same, but their diets are a little different. Hailey follows a mostly plant based diet eating lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes and nuts. She eats meat three times a week and only lean fish, chicken and turkey. Here is a sample of a typical day of meals for Hailey:
Breakfast: Latte with non-fat or soy milk, berries or an apple, whole grain rolled oatmeal with almonds and walnuts, ½ an Ezekiel muffin with almond butter or scrambled egg whites
Lunch: Turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with veganaise, spinach and tomato
Dinner: Grilled chicken, fish or tofu with a sweet potato and green salad
Post workouts or surf sessions: A protein smoothie with fruit and soy milk or coconut water.
Snacks: Larabars, raw nuts and dried figs or mangos.
Sierra just transitions to a whole food based vegan diet in January and after doing extensive research, she claims, “I have never felt better emotionally and physically.” Here is a typical day of meals for Sierra:
Breakfast: Tea with almond milk, soy yogurt or oatmeal with ground flaxseeds or Acai bowl and fresh seasonal fruit
Snack: Green tea with lemon and stevia, fresh seasonal fruit and a small handful of raw nuts
Lunch: Quinoa with steamed veggies and garbanzo beans, kale salad with cucumbers and tomatoes
Snack: Kombucha tea, raw veggies with hummus
Dinner: Mixed green salad with lots of veggies and topped with beans or steamed tempe and a baked sweet potato
Dessert/Treat: Small amount of red wine or a piece of dark chocolate
Traveling, modeling, surfing and the recognition that comes with it is a life that most people dream of and envy. But good family values, love and respect for each other and a sincere desire to make a difference in the world keep Hailey and Sierra Partridge humble, down-to-earth and determined to succeed. Watch for them. MS&F