Lauren Ngan is a talented California surfer from Dana Point. When she isn’t perched gracefully on her longboard, Lauren spends her time being a role model to young girls in her ministry. We spent some time with Lauren to learn more.
What was it like growing up?
Growing up, I lived in many different places —Japan, Washington, each for a year. We finally settled down in San Clemente. When I was young, I was a complete tomboy. I always liked sports; I was never into shopping and that sort of stuff when I was younger.
When did you start surfing?
Around the eighth grade, my mom introduced me to surfing. She had just gotten into the sport and she would make me go to the beach. I would hate going there. She basically taught me how to surf even though I didn’t really like it. Eventually, I grew to love it and now I surf all the time.
When did you get your first surfboard?
My surfboard was a 8’0” beater funboard from The Pac-Rat. My mom had traded a bunch of her wetsuits for it.
What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a surfboard?
It was exciting! And a relief because I was frustrated that I wasn’t good at surfing right off the bat. It made me happy because I had accomplished something I had set out to do.
Who did you look up to and admire when you were a young girl?
Mostly my mom and my friend Natalie. I grew up longboarding San Onofre, where there were a handful of people to whose style I admired: Tyler Warren, JJ Wessels, Christian Wach, etc. But, honestly, they were just friends that I saw everyday.
What was the turning point in your career?
After high school, I competed in my first pro contest in Hawaii and, then, in the China Pro. They did a feature of me in Longboard Magazine and I got sponsored by Weber and Etnies. All of this happened in one summer—which has now led me to surf for Bing Surfboards and Etnies.
Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out? And why?
Bali—it was life changing. It was a humbling experience and a really cool growing experience.
Who or what inspires you?
Jesus… and his love for me because I do not deserve it. God has completely changed my life. And He has provided so many opportunities to travel on mission trips.
What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
Humility comes with wisdom.
Do you have any regrets or wish you had done something differently?
No. Everything in my life has made me the person I am now.
What are you most proud of?
I serve in ministry in San Clemente, so it would have to be my Young Life girls. I do a Bible study with them once a week and I hang out with them a lot. I am proud of them because they are growing up to be women of integrity. They are my little sisters and I love them!
How important is style in surfing?
I personally like traditional single fin longboard surfing. For me, I think it is really graceful and beautiful.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
Surfing is a huge part of my life. I love it! It taught me to be independent in that it was different than being on a team. You don’t have to depend on any other people but yourself. There are so many different types of people that I meet out in the water, but it’s cool because we are all sharing one thing in common: surfing. Surfing has taught me that no matter how different you are or your experience level, we all have this joy from surfing.
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
Being around the people I love and traveling.
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
What is your favorite board? Your favorite surf spot?
9’4” Bing Ashley Lloyd Model and a 6’6″ Bing Maui Foil. I would say my favorite would be my longboard. I love it, but on bigger days it’s fun to fool around on the 6’6″. But, I must say that I would rather have a good day longboarding than a good day of shortboarding.
My favorite surf spot would probably be a point break. I love Church because it’s close to where I live and all my friends are usually there. And when it breaks in the winter, it’s just really good.
What’s your favorite meal?
Sushi or my grandma’s homemade Chinese food. (Laughs)
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
Josh Garrels, Ray LaMontange, Kim Walker, Tom Petty, Hillsong, PawnShop Kings, Matt Keany, Miley Cyrus (laughs). I’m not really a person to have albums on my iPod. I would rather have singles from each artist.
What are you most grateful for?
Jesus, family, friends, and Young Life.
What’s next for Lauren Ngan?
Graduating Cal State Long Beach with a B.A. in Marketing. As for life, wherever the Big Man leads me. I would love to travel more and serve in ministry; it’s really been a great experience. Also, my friend, Kayla Kudla, and I started a jewelry line which is a collection of beads from every country. (http://charisjewelry.blogspot.com/)
Water photography by Matt Chenot. Find out more about Lauren Ngan’s Bali trip here.