The Soul Surfer Series by Dawn Patrol. A series of interviews with true Soul Surfers who live for the thrill of riding waves. Their passion is undeniable and their whole life revolves around one thing. The ocean.
To kick off the series we caught up with Ridge Lenny, surfer, bodyboarder, kitesurfer and all round waterman. Born and raised in the surf rich culture of Paia, Hawaii, some of his first memories in life are of surfing. When he was three years old his father would take him on the front of his longboard. Surfing became an amazing journey to Ridge, an addiction he said he can’t seem to shake.
Do you have a ‘best surf story’?
One of my best surf experiences actually only happened about a week ago. I woke up pretty late in the morning not expecting much from the surf that day but when I checked the ocean in front of my house, I was absolutely shocked to see that there was a completely un-forecasted massive due-north swell slamming into the island. In a panic, I called my good friend Annie Reickert and we launched her ski to tow on the outer reefs. We got out there to find that a legendary spot that we’d only heard stories about had awoken for the first time in years. The wave is called “Pyramids” and for good reason; massive a-frame peaks that literally resemble pyramids as they march in and pealing in either direction like a super-sized Lower Trestles. A completely surreal looking wave and a place I had wanted to surf since I was a kid. We had the place nearly to ourselves and towed 40-50 foot waves all day.
Which is your favourite surf break and why?
Although Pe’ahi (Jaws) holds a special place in my heart and has given me the best rides of my life,. On a day-to-day basis there is a little secret beach break in front of my house which has always been my favourite surf spot. It may just be one of the worst waves on the island. But it’s always empty and always provides a rippable little wave to enjoy.
Surf trips… Is it all about the waves you score, big or small? Or about the experience with friends?
Without a doubt. It’s the memories from surf trips that I really cherish, because of the people I am with and those I meet along the way. There’s nothing better than experiencing the world with your closest friends. And if we score some good waves along the way, that’s just the icing on the cake.
Tell us a little bit about your most memorable wipeout?
My worst wipeout to date was (rather unsurprisingly) dished out by Jaws. Anytime you fall out there it’s never a pleasant experience. Last January I found myself too deep on a collapsing west bowl and tried ejecting from my towboard only to get one foot stuck in the footstrap as I went over the falls. Luckily, I was able to kick it away before impacting too hard but the wave still beat me up pretty good and washed me about a hundred yards underwater.
Pre surfing, is there any ritual you have? Food, Music, warm up?
My pre-surf ritual really depends on the size of the waves that day. For a macking Jaws swell its absolute chaos in the mornings making sure all my equipment is in order, launching skis, and making the brutal one hour up wind trek to the wave. For most days, I love taking it slow in the morning, waiting for the wind to come up and crowds to go in, and amping up with some trap music.
Out of your current quiver, what’s your go to/favourite surf board?
My day-to-day board is my trusty 5’10” KT Crusher shaped by Keith Taboul. It’s shaped specifically for the windswept walls we encounter on a daily basis.
Do you have a favourite World Surf League athlete? Without causing any rivalries 😉
By far my favourite tour surfer is John John Florence. I feel like he has absolutely mastered every aspect of surfing, from small beach break airs, to barrels, to massive waves. Watching that guy perform in person is an absolutely jaw dropping sight.
When you are reviewing your surf session in Dawn Patrol, which stat do you look at first? And why?
My favourite stat on Dawn Patrol definitely is the speedometer. In small waves, I think speed is the best indicator of performance. The more speed you can generate, the more tricks that are on offer. In big waves, I’m always curious as to how fast we go dropping down the face. My fastest speed to date was 40.7mph at Jaws.
“My fastest speed to date was 40.7mph at Jaws. “Ridge Lenny – 2021 Dawn Patrol Surf Tracking Interview.
In your opinion what’s the best strap to use when you surf with your Apple Watch?
The Nomad Rugged Strap has been a game changer for me using my Apple Watch out in the surf. The last thing you want on your mind when you’re out in the water, especially in big waves, is worrying about whether your watch will stay on through the session. With the Nomad strap I can have 100% confidence that my watch won’t budge. Not to mention they are insanely stylish too!
How do you see surfing progressing as a sport and do you see technology such as Dawn Patrol being at the core of surfing future?
Going forward, I think surfing progression will be based around launching higher above the lip and implementing snowboard style tricks. This performance jump will only be possible by increasing speed on the wave. So, development of faster equipment will be critical, and technology like Dawn Patrol will give us the necessary data to fully be able to fully analyse sessions and tune boards to reach their maximum potential.
Follow Ridge Lenny’s surfing adventures on Instagram here
Want to be featured in the series? Drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org