There is a new target on the Canadain surf radar, and her name is Lydia Ricard. Transplanted from Montreal to Tofino, Lydia has quickly made a name for herself through free surfing and competitions such as the Queen of the peak and the Canadian Nationals, where she took second place overall. Since then Lydia’s surfing has been recognised by many and has joined the ranks of the Billabong women’s team. For more on Lydia and her surfing, scroll down and read up on her in this week’s Six Set Q&A.
1. Who is Lydia Ricard?
Who am I? Still trying to figure that out haha!
As my friends love to call me, I am a ”expat quebexican”, that found my home into Tofino, BC. As soon as I got here in 2014, I felt home and decided to stay. Not only for the surfing but for the community, food and the beauty of the landscapes.
I am a dedicated longboarder that is eager to learn. I love spending time in the water with my friends more than anything else. Except for wine and cheese nights, that’s just as high on the list. I love cheese, as much as I love surfing (almost)
2. You have been on quite the tear over that past year, including placing 2nd in the Canadian nationals and now joining the Billabong woman’s team. At what point did you switch into a competitive direction, and how does it feel for your surfing to be recognized by such a huge company like Billabong?
Yes, it has been quite a year so far!!
It all started when I watched QOP in 2014, I took the entire weekend off from work to watch it. It was so motivating, so I told myself “next year, it’s your turn!” So I did. I was terrified and wanted to vomit during my heat because I was so nervous. But I loved that it forced me to push myself and learn quickly because you know you have a comp coming, so you better be ready!
Since then, I have been participating in every competition I could sign up for.
I knew that at the beginning, I was not going to win anything, but I was building on experience. Every single heat I compleated taught me something different. I have so much to learn and that is why I compete. It just pushes me to absorb all I can by surfing next to the best surfers. I think that having some experience helped a lot in this year’s comps, and allowed me to get second place in both the Nationals and QOP.
When Billabong reached out to me after Queen of the Peak, I was thrilled. Soooooo excited! That they chose me means so much. Not only for my own surfing, but because it shows that they are interested in women surfing, and longboarding, which both need more attention, I think. I have been dedicated to the sport since the very beginning, doing it for my love for it. To be told “keep doing what you are doing” by a big company like Billabong, it’s just the best compliment ever! It just felt so incredible to be encouraged to do what I love and motivates me to keep going.
3. We saw that you organized the Event Swell the Filles when you were in Montreal, can you tell me more about it?
The idea came to me when I was in Tofino, feeling so lucky to be surrounded by an amazing community of female surfers. I would not be where I am now without the support of all the local girls. When I went back to my hometown in October, I just felt like it was time to give back to other girls. To give the growing female surfing community in Montreal the opportunity to meet girls like them, and bring that support that we get here in Tofino. I wanted to organize an event that was all about girls surfing. When I talked to my friend Chloe about the idea, she was stoked to help and 6 days later the event was on at September Surf Cafe!
There was a Surf Swap Stand, to trade and sell used surf equipment, we showed the movie Alternativa, featuring Leah Dawson, Lola Mignot and Kassia Meador in their trip to El Salvador and did a raffle with prizes from companies like June Swimwear, Sun Bum, Ripcurl and many more! We are so happy on how the event turned out and so grateful for the support we got from everyone. It was a blast to bring the girls together! Definitely got me stoked for more events of this kind.
4. What does your quiver consist of?
At the moment I have a Colin Noserider, which is my all-around board. It’s my go-to for comps, and everyday rides. I love it! It performs great in all sorts of conditions. My second board is a 9’6 Even from Aftanas. I use this board in smaller, mushier waves. It is great for walking up and down the board. It doubles up the time I spend on the nose. And… I just ordered a new Log from Cali yesterday.. that one will be a surprise but I am so excited!
5. What would you like to see more and less of in the surf industry?
Less: barrels and airs
Let’s talk about this. Why is it that 90% of images published are men surfing barrels and airs? Because they are next level and so freaking critical and spectacular. But I now feel immune to their impressiveness because I see too much of it. I would like to see more variety. Longboarding, shortboarding, alternative crafts and big wave surfing. Men, women, groms, all of it!
There are so many different types of surfing that need to be shown. When I went to Montreal I met girls that did not even know that longboarding existed. All they have been exposed there is high-performance shortboard content. It shocked me to see that people see only one side of surfing that is male-dominated and gnarly when there is so much more to surfing than just that. I think we should follow the example of the WSL that did an amazing job at showcasing all sorts of types of surfing in their “Epic week of surfing”: a big wave contest, a women contest, a shortboard contest, a junior contest and a longboard contest. It makes it more interesting because all of them are so different but as entertaining to watch. This is what I am talking about!!
6. What’s next for Lydia? Any Dream trips?
Life is full of surprises but I am hoping that next year is going to be as exciting as this one! I am going to a surf retreat in Panama and Salvador at the beginning of the year and hoping to make a trip down to California in the spring. I am looking forward to surfing point breaks to work on my technique! I also have in mind to organize more events like Swell the Filles around Canada in the near future, stay tuned! There is a lot of ideas in my brain at the moment, but I plan on hanging around Tofino and enjoy the quietness of winter and have lots of wine and cheese nights. Catch you in the water!
As for a dream trip, Ouuuuhhh that’s a hard one…. So many places I would love to travel to. Competition wise, I would absolutely love to go left in Hainan China for the ISA Longboarding comp along Team Canada’s best longboarders 😉 For fun, New Zealand is on top of my list. I would love to bring my girl gang and take over lineups with laughter and giggles.