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  • Alexa Muchnick

Surfer siblings spark their passions

Those who love surfing belong to a very passionately committed tribe.


“My passion for surfing sparked the first time I stepped on a surfboard, which happened when I was five years old. I was in Hawaii, it was warm, I did not have to wear a wetsuit; the whole experience was enjoyable and relaxing.” Sophomore Lucie Ryan explains the origin of her passion for surfing — it was love at first sight. “Ever since I have grown up surfing and skateboarding, I am able to leave all the elements of the busy world and do something that is a fun challenge.”


Lucie's surfing partner — her older brother, junior Jake Ryan — believes his passion for surfing started much later: “I did not find my passion for surfing until I took it at Stevenson. I had always been close to the ocean and I had surfed a little bit prior, but never as much as I did until I took it at school. The first semester I took it was a little rough. I stuck with it because I knew that I was going to get better over time if I stuck with it.”


Not only do the siblings each have a passion for surfing, they love doing it together. Jake shares that “if Lucie was not surfing, I likely would not have taken it this semester.” Furthermore, the duo pushes each other to become better surfers: “We are slightly competitive when surfing since we both want to stand up and be the ‘better surfer.’” Lucie similarly has a preference to surf with her brother, explaining that they motivate each other: “We each have our own good days. We see each other catch waves and that motivates us to catch the next. We are more supportive with each other rather than competitive.”

Surfing in California comes with the need of wearing wetsuits, which surprisingly is a lot harder than you may think. Especially when surfing numerous times a week, Lucie explains that there are added challenges: “If we go out 2 or 3 times a week, wetsuits are thick, it won’t dry fast enough. The wetsuit is soaking wet when I go to get it, it is very challenging. With these weather conditions, I would say that is one of the most challenging aspects of surfing. Although, once I get it on, I know I will be able to go surfing and do what I love.” Jake explains though that using a wetsuit is easier in the warmer months: “In the fall, it is oftentimes warmer, so putting on a wetsuit is really not a big deal.”

While putting on a clammy wetsuit is challenging, Lucie is even less excited about taking off the wetsuit: “Taking the wetsuit off is even harder. It sticks to your body and it is wet and tight, so the process is even longer to take it off. At that point, your arms are so tired from paddling in the water. By the time you get out of the water and have to walk your boards all the way back to the van, your arms are ready to give out, and all you want to do is sit down and relax. You know you have to go home and do homework after getting the wetsuit as well, so it’s just not fun.”


However, not having a wetsuit would be much harder. Jake exclaims, “When the waves hit my head, I get a brain freeze; I don’t have a wetsuit on my head.”


Additionally, there are risks to surfing. Lucie explains that shark attacks are becoming more common, but at the end of the day, the reward outweighs the risk: “Surfing can be risky and scary knowing that there's a possibility of a shark attack or other potentially dangerous situations. However, for me, it is definitely worth it because I have such a strong passion and I find surfing extremely rewarding and I get good exercise.” Jake also agrees that there are health benefits to surfing: “Surfing keeps me active for the basketball season.”


Lucie and Jake both share stories of potentially scary moments. Lucie once thought there was a live creature on her foot: “One time I was paddling and I thought there was something on my foot, so I started paddling as fast as I could, but it ended up being my own leash from my own surfboard.” Jake says that he “sometimes gets a little spooked when there is a big piece of seaweed.”


Additionally depending on the time of year, the waves can vary in size. Lucie describes the challenge of being pushed under a wave: “It is very scary and flustering to be pushed under a wave. My hair gets in my face, and I get water in my mouth sometimes.”

For these reasons, the siblings prefer surfing together: “Typically, Jake and I surf together. There are definitely benefits to surfing with him. Whenever we surf together, he always looks out for me, making sure I don’t get pushed ashore.” Jake also agrees, elaborating that “it is definitely nice to know that my sister is looking out for me when I am surfing. If there is a big wave coming, I make sure to look for Lucie to make sure she’s okay.”


Despite the challenges and risks of the surfing experience, Jake and Lucie both have extreme passions. Jake optimistically describes the activity: “Time flies by when I am out surfing, but once I’m done, I don’t feel sad because surfing is pretty strenuous and can be stressful when the waves are huge. When I come back in though, I do want to go back out.” Lucie mentions that surfing helps her be in the present moment, and appreciate the outdoors around her: “Surfing requires a lot of focus, practice, and dedication. It requires me to forget about everything, which is a very unique opportunity. I am able to be present and enjoy the nature around me. Being outdoors directly connects to happiness and being calm.”


Not only is this passion shared between the siblings, their grandpa also has an involvement. Jake shares his appreciation for his grandpa’s photography skills: “My grandpa sometimes comes out and takes photos of us which is awesome. He captures memorable moments that I can then show to my friends. Additionally, through his photos, I am able to see my progress.”

Lucie sees no end to this passion: “I plan to surf my whole life. Surfing never gets old; it is always a new experience since there are never the exact same conditions.”


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