Who Da Girl? With ESA All-Star From Maine Maddie Ryan

July 19, 2019 • Eastern Surfing Association, ESA, Who Da Guy / Girl

Full name: Madeline Ryan

Age: 16

Hometown and state : Arundel, Me, Rincon, PR

Nickname: Squid- my parents stole it from a VQS contest division. It’s stuck around for 7 years. 

Education: I am a Junior in Maine Connections Academy

Homebreak: Kennebunk Beach, Domes

Sponsors: Hurley, Electric, FCS, Kailani Surfboards

Meet the “Kennebunk Kid” from Arundel, Maine., ESA All-Star Miss Maddie Ryan. Photo: Jim Ready

First paddle-out: Can’t remember- my dad had me standing on a boogie board, clutching his hair, and pushing me into waves at the local marina in Puerto Rico when I was three. 

Crew: My parents hahah! My mom is always down for getting up at five for a dawn patrol and I’ll surf with my dad when it gets bigger and heavier. 

Strongest maneuver: Front side snap

Maddie Ryan ‘Who Da Girl?’ video edit for www.easternsurf.com on Vimeo.

Results: 1st at 2018 ESA Easterns u18, 1st NSSA Caribbean Chapter Open Women 2018-19

Magic board: Kailani Surfboard 5’9’’ Katana. Julio Nurse is the shaper. It’s a solid board that works anywhere from Huntington Pier to Middles, Puerto Rico. 

Best day surfing: One day this past winter at Sunset- it was one of the bigger days when I was there and my friend’s roommate paddled out with me. It was windy and challenging but the drops were insane and the waves went on forever. 

Biggest day surfing: Paddle/tow session at Tres Palmas in Puerto Rico with Will Skudin, who was calling it pretty close to 20’. The WSL did a feature on it. 

Maddie Ryan charging macking Tres Palms under the watchful eye and tutledge of world renown big wave hellman from New York, Will Skudin who says,” Maddie is an absolute pleasure to be around. She has such humility, class and grace. But don’t take her kindness for weakness, she is a force. When she wants something, she is going after it. The perfect example was when we had a Tres Palmas session together, she took advantage of the situation, trusted in her training and completely blew me away how she charged it. No matter which direction she chooses in life she will no doubt be successful and make this world a better place. I’m just stoked to be in her corner.” Photo: Dave Barry @barry__w_dave

Best East Coast surf spot: It’s a secret 🙂

Best surf trip experience: Hawaii this past winter- the waves were horrible but I feel like I came out of it a better surfer. I made some really good connections and can’t wait to get out there again next year!

Should Kelly retire or stay on tour and what should he do when he does hang it up : If there were a chance of him winning a world title, I think he should stay on, but The Brazilian Storm seems to be preventing that. He should make a wave pool in Maine with free access for residents. 

Local hero: “Surfer Crow” he’s a legend-I think he’s in his late 70’s and is still in the water in Maine. 

Central American cooking at Colorados, June 2019. Photo: Nicaragua Surf Shots

First surfboard: Liquid shredder, I think it was 5’8, bright blue. 

Worst surf injury: My calf muscle was tight after surfing and as I was jumping up the stairs when I pulled it. I was out for a week and the swell was pumping the whole time.

Nastiest lineup: Our local river mouth in the summer- there are swimmers, people on floats, and a lot of people dropping in on each other. 

Non-surfing sponsor: Emirates air, they’re by far the best planes I’ve ever been on. 

Wetsuit free water time in the Borinquen area of Puerto Rico winter of 2018-19. Photo: Spike Chambers @spikecrs

Worst wipeout: This was also part of my biggest session- it was the first wave I paddled for; Will was calling me into it from the channel on the ski. My head wasn’t in it and I thought I would fall before I even really started stroking in. The wave sucked me up and as I was standing up, I got bucked off at the top and skipped down the face. It was also the first wave of the set 😀 Fun times!

Recommended website: Quizlet- if you want to learn language vocabulary, do it there. 

Song in your head to surf with: Visitant by Blood Youth, Generations by Aviarist, The Fallout + Limitless album by Crown the Empire, or anything by Bring Me the Horizon before 2015. I love Slayer as well. I could talk about music for hours on end so I couldn’t just answer with one song!   

Time spent out of the water: Listening to music, finishing school. 

“Maddie is a true ESA All-Star in that she’s an exceptional surfer and has the strength and power to surf big waves, but also the strategy and knowledge to deal with smaller, windswell that the East Coast typically sees. I’ve watched her come up through the ESA and Maddie all the talent necessary to achieve her next level of surfing.” – ESA executive Director Michelle Sommers Boyfriend / relationship or no? : Nah, I’m traveling a lot, and the people I am interested in live on the other side of the world.

Personalized license plate: Faja (shout out to all of the Austin Powers fans out there). 

Wheels: 02’ Toyota 4Runner 4×4, all black with a pretty good sound system. 

Maddie hammering one backside in New Hampshire. Photo: Jim Ready

Ambitions: Still trying to figure that out, but definitely graduate college.

Inspirations: I have a lot, and admire a lot of people. Obviously, my parents because they support me and I think that they are just really good people. They have a great marriage and that is definitely something I respect. Other than family Will Skudin is another big inspiration to me. He is always super kind, but speaks his mind. I think that people who are upfront in this world are hard to come by. Paige Alms is also that way. I was able to spend a few days with her this past winter and learned what a strong woman she is. I hope that im able to see her again some time! 

Maddie Ryan at the 2018 ESA Championships. “Maddie is a great kid all around. She is very respectful, pays attention to detail, is always inquisitive and very, very focused! She is really a pleasure to work with from a coach perspective. She puts a lot of effort and prep work into bettering her surfing through utilizing the info we share. She also charges and that is a great bonus to her profile. She has an amazing and super supportive family and that always seems to be a great bonus for the kids I work with. Whatever Maddie chooses to do in life, I’m sure she’ll excel”! – top competative world tour pro now coaching Magnum Martinez –
Photo: Mez @mezapixels

Biggest virtue: Loyalty- I’d walk to the edge of the earth for any of my friends. 

Guilty Pleasure? Instagram.

Overrated: Instagram butt shots with inspirational quotes as the caption.

Girl from the north country. Maddie is equally comfortable in the dense pine tree and  bayberry bush wilderness of chilly Maine as she is on the tropical, palm fringed shores of the northwest coast of Puerto Rico. Photo: Drek B Han / Hurley images

Underrated: Letters in the mail. If someone sent me a letter instead of a Snapchat it would probably make my week. 

All-time buzz kill: When someone judges your music without trying to listen to it.

Name drop: Paige Alms. Will Skudin introduced me to her when she was working on a retreat here in PR. I was able to help with the retreat and got to know her a little more. One of the nicest, down to earth people I’ve met in the scene. Definitely a role model. 

Breaking the law: This is actually embarrassing because the only frowned upon thing I’ve probably illegally done would be going 5 over the speed limit. Although, I have wormed my way into the United Plus member line when the check-in was out the door of the airport- it was 2am and I claimed I was a confused minor. 

Maine lining back home in New England. Photo: Jim Ready

Biggest phobia: Not meeting my own expectations of myself.

Lesson learned the hard way: Don’t sit on the inside at Sunset.

Message for today’s misguided youth: Please don’t listen to mumble rap. 

Secret other life: I’m a writer and a linguist. I could be considered fluent in Spanish, I’m also learning Chinese and French. 

Credit due: My parents- they support me every step of the way. I can talk to them about anything and I think, because of our relationship, that’s the reason I am able to do what I do. When I was in Hawaii I think we talked on the phone at least 3 times a day. 

Out in the water contests are serious business – and Maddie is all about taking care of business from first horn ’til last – but northeast legends and long time surfing partners, Rachel and Billy Ryan make sure to keep things light and fun for their daughter after the singlet comes off like here after the 2017 Northeast Regionals. Photo: Mez @mezapixels

If I could pick a superpower: Teleportation- maybe then I’d really be able to barrel ride. 

Jet-skis are for… Towing in? 

If I could do one thing over again… Everything I’ve done in the past can’t be changed. I accept my choices and move on from them without looking back with regret. 

I snaked… A knee boarder, he was catching all the sets and the waves were pumping, I was having a weird session and I was fed up- I didn’t think he would make the section, he did. 

Feral or five-star? Feral- there’s more culture. And, if you’re surfing enough, you don’t need to worry about looking presentable because you will only have time to eat and sleep. 

Making mucho lluvia at Colorados, Nicaragua, June 2019. Photo: Courtesy Playgrounds Surf Camp.

What does it mean to you to be an East Coast surfer? It means that you have to go above and beyond. You have to be able to perform in some of the worst and best conditions in the world. 

What is today’s surf culture lacking? Etiquette and good edit music.

Question we should have asked but didn’t? About what it’s like being a teenager in the surf scene right now. My answer to that would be that I feel like I’m always on my toes. I feel like there’s new content being shown on social media every day and if you’re not on your game, you could easily fade into the background because everything moves so fast. We have to deal with a lot emotionally as well between competing and just being a kid. I definiteley don’t think social media has helped with our emotions.

Last words? I don’t really have any because it’s hard for me to talk about myself. Answering these questions was very fun but hard at the same time. 

Maddie living the dream on the Isla Del Encanto, Winter of 2018-19. Photo: Spike Chambers @spikecrs

Like mother, like daughter- rippers! Photo: Jim Ready


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,