Stephanie Schechter is a native California surfer living in San Diego. In addition to her talent on a log – her unlimited energy, enthusiasm, and style sets her apart in the lineup. We also found her wisdom at such a young age refreshing. We spoke with Stephanie to learn more.
When did you get your first surfboard?
When I first started surfing, I would ride hand-me-downs from my brother, or my dad would pick up used boards for me. I believe I got my first brand new surfboard around age six, but I ordered my first custom board when I was eleven.
What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a surfboard?
I am sad to say I don’t remember the exact moment I first stood up on a surfboard, but I do remember my early days of surfing when my dad would hold me up on his board as we rode the waves. I found it to be absolutely thrilling, and have been enchanted ever since.
Who did you look up to and admire when you were a child?
As a child, I looked up to and admired my family members and my teachers. I felt as though they had infinite knowledge, and loved to learn new things from them.
Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out? And why?
I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world with my family. We have been to Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru, Indonesia, and others. Each trip we have taken has been amazing and special, but Peru has definitely been one of my favorites. We surfed Chicama, the famous mile and a half left, for about eight days, and then traveled to the Andes and visited Machu Picchu. I learned so much about the culture of the country, and scored some awesome waves!
Who/what inspires you?
I try to gain inspiration by at least one thing a day. Whether it is the beauty of nature, or some wisdom from a friend, I am always seeking new ways to grow as a person.
What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
The greatest thing I have learned in my life is to always be myself. I went through a brief period of wanting to fit in when I was about ten, and I found that it was both frustrating and boring, so I went back to being weird.
Do you have any regrets or wish you had done something differently?
Actually, no. I feel as though I have lived my seventeen years to the fullest, and I look forward to see what the future holds!
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my ability to learn something from every situation I find myself in. I am a very observant person, and I can take away knowledge from each experience I have, even if they are negative.
What meaning does surfing hold for you?
To me, surfing is a passion, an outlet, and an inspiration. I have made my best friends through surfing, and I am able to meet people from all over the world. Through surfing, I have discovered my talent for networking, and I am able to release all my stress.
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
In general, being with the people I love brings me joy. I am especially happy when I’m with my loved ones at the beach or in the water. The biggest rush of joy I get is when I am perched on the nose, and I look down and see only water rushing beneath me.
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
I think the small business people of the surfing world are paving the path. Each individual who contributes even a small part can influence the future of surfing.
What is your favorite board? Your favorite surfspot?
My favorite board would be any board shaped by my dear friend Kevin Connelly. Every board he creates is not only a visual masterpiece, but also an amazing watercraft. My favorite surf spot is definitely Cardiff Reef. I have been surfing there my whole life, and I am proud to call it my home break.
What’s your favorite meal?
Pasta with pasta on top, with a side of pasta.
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
My taste in music encompasses a fairly wide range of genres. I listen to a lot of surf punk, such as Beach Fossils and White Fence, and alternative/indie rock groups like Two Door Cinema Club, Grizzly Bear, Doctor Dog, and the Black Keys. My all-time favorite band is probably CAKE.
What are you most grateful for?
I am most grateful for my family, and the life I am fortunate enough to lead. I am so appreciative of all I have been given, and of all the opportunities I have had.
What’s next for Stephanie Schechter?
I have recently submitted all of my university applications, and I will hear back from schools around March. I applied to schools up and down the California coast, so I can keep surfing throughout college! I am looking forward to this summer, because my family is traveling to Taiwan for a surf trip. I can’t wait to graduate high school and begin my next adventures.