Lydia Ricard would crack the ice on her swimming pool in Montreal in spring to swim earlier. It’s safe to say she’s always been a water baby. Moving from Montreal to Tofino on Vancouver Island, Lydia quickly made a name for herself in the surf world through free surfing and competitions like Queen of the Peak. She shares her thoughts on longboarding, Tofino surf and where she’s headed this year.
WC: Your first contact with surfing was in Costa Rica, can you tell us about how that felt?
Lydia: I felt the best I ever felt! As soon as I got up on the board for the first time, I knew that was it, that’s what I needed to do.
WC: Did you grow up with a love for the water? Where did you spend your childhood?
Lydia: I grew up north of Montreal, so as you might know, water there is frozen half the year, but you would find me breaking the ice on my pool in the spring so I could swim earlier. Soo… we can say that yes I was always a water baby. The water is where I always felt more comfortable, and would spend hours and hours playing in the pools or lakes. So when I got to play in the ocean, it just made sense for me.
WC: What did you do on your return home after Costa Rica?
Lydia: Well, funny story. I was studying nursing in Montreal and I went to Costa Rica during the Christmas break. When I returned home, surfing was all I could think of. I was already planning my next trip. Three weeks later, I learned I had mono and I had to leave school for an undetermined period of time. A few months later once I recovered, I decided to drive across BC to go to Whistler to learn to speak english. On the way, I heard about Tofino (which I did not know existed!) Obviously, we made a detour to go check it out. And I never made it to Whistler. Oops!
WC: What attracted you to longboarding?
Lydia: Longboarding first appealed to me because I wanted to catch more waves, to learn faster. Since I started surfing, I just knew that I had no time to waste, by starting in my early 20’s I had to be a sponge and take in all the information I could. I was this person in the line up that just kept asking for tips from people around me because I wanted to save time. I never thought it would bring me to where I am now, I always was just surfing for myself and pushing myself, nothing else. I was just passionate about it and could never get enough!
WC: How would you describe the surf community in Tofino?
Lydia: It is the most welcoming community I’ve ever seen. With the amount of women out in the line up it makes it very welcoming for new surfers. Less competitive and more fun!
WC: How does surfing solo compare to surfing with others in the water?
Lydia: Surfing solo definitely has something magical as it is only you and mother ocean. I love surfing by myself as it really connects me to my environment and frees up my mind. I surf for me and that is so amazing! I also looove surfing with my friends, there is nothing better than watching your friends getting sick waves and cheering on each other!
WC: Why did you start your Longboarding 101 workshops, can you tell us a bit about them?
Lydia: I started doing my longboarding 101 sessions to help raise money for my competitions around the world, and I just really really enjoy them! It is a great way to share information with a lot of people at the same time. The idea came to me because I felt it was really hard to get information about longboarding, so I am doing them for the past me that just really wanted to learn and would do anything to find tips and advice to save me some time in the water. I love teaching just as much as I love surfing so to combine those two passions is what I love to do most!
WC: What does surfing for Team Canada mean to you?
Lydia: It means a whole lot! I would never have thought I would be part of the Canadian Surfing Team if you would have told me that a few years ago!! To me it means that if you really believe in something and you put your heart and soul in it, anything is possible!
WC: What’s next for you in 2020?
Lydia: I think 2020 is going to be a busy year for me!! Starting off with a trip to Mexico and El Salvador, planning on teaching a few more workshops at home as well as on Vancouver island, and now to Washington and PA! I will be participating in the Mexilog fest as well as Ferrolog in Spain! Starting my online surf coaching company as well so that is something very exciting coming up!
Find Lydia & photo credit: @lydiaric