Ryan Burch is a young surfer/shaper from San Diego, California. His recent exploits on a closed-cell foam board based on Lindsay Lord’s planing hulls has brought him a lot of attention. His shaping has also been recognized too, having won the Young Guns of Shaping contest at Sacred Craft. We chatted with Ryan to learn more.
What was your life like growing up?
I grew up in Encinitas, and was your typical Southern California grom. I did well in school, so when the schoolwork was done, I got to go surf or skateboard or do whatever it was that I was into at the time.
When did you get your first surfboard?
I got my first surfboard when I was eight years old. It was a 7’0″ mini longboard with some nose rocker so I didn’t pearl every wave. It was made custom for me by my dad’s friend, Chris Slick.
What was the feeling you had when you first stood up on a surfboard?
I don’t remember the first time I caught a whitewater wave, but the first time I stood up on the face of a wave was in Mexico when I was about nine. I remember how fast I was going and how the water was clear underneath me, but more than that I remember thinking to myself, “Tonight when we go to dinner and my dad and his friends are telling surf stories around the table, I will have something to say.” I felt really manly after that wave.
Who did you look up to and admire when you were a young man?
When I was just starting to surf, I looked up to my dad and my brother because they were always the best surfers in the water, as far as I could see. As a kid, I sort of just agreed with what my dad thought was good. We had Five Summer Stories and I watched that a lot. Those guys were the surf stars in my eyes. Then I remember I was in a surf shop trying on wetsuits and I saw Loose Change on the screen and it shocked me. It was Bruce Irons’s part and I remember being blown away by everything that he was doing. Imagine only seeing the 70’s (surf films), and then all of a sudden you see some guy doing six foot air reverses.
Where did your interest in DIY (do-it-yourself) boards come from?
I first got into making my own boards when I wanted to longboard. I borrowed a board from a friend, but wanted to get my own and figured the most cost effective way to get one would be to make it myself. A good friend of mine, Chris Cravey, made all his own boards and he showed me what was up. Seeing him killing it on the boards inspired me to try to make a longboard that I could have fun on at Cardiff in the summer.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m so easily inspired. I think as far as surfing goes, this is one of the most inspiring times to be a surfer. There are a lot of open-minded surfers in the water doing some insane stuff; the new generation of surfers are pushing the limits. Style inspires me. The people I surf with on a regular basis inspire me, and the history is also inspiring. Craftsmanship is extremely inspiring to me as well—to see something that’s handmade that has years of dedication and hard work behind it is motivating. and dedication in general is really inspiring to me.
What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
Thus far, the greatest thing I have learned in life is that I have a lot to learn. The most important piece of advice I was ever given was to listen more than I speak.
What are you most proud of?
A good glass job.
Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out and why?
Home—because as much as I am excited to go somewhere, I’m ten times more excited to come home.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
Surfing is everything for me. It has totally taken control of the way I live my life, and it’s what I want to devote my time to.
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
Filmmakers, bloggers and internet site folks—and your local rippers who inspire the next generation.
What is your current favorite board? Your favorite surf spot?
My favorite board is this piece of foam that is the middle portion of an INT softboard core. No glass. No fins. No stringer. It is always fun. It is one of the raddest feeling boards to ride because it is so different, and has so many different variables and things you have to do to ride the board. I can’t take myself too seriously on it, so I always have a good time. My favorite surf spot is Cardiff Reef.
What’s your favorite meal?
Three slices of spicy chicken pizza and a Mountain Dew from East Coast Pizza in Cardiff.
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
My iPod just broke, but the last song I listened to on it was Steve Nicks’ “Landslide”.
What are you most grateful for?
How much time I have to do what I love.
What’s next for Ryan Burch?
I can’t wait to find out.
Photography of Ryan Burch by Kevin Roche.