Mermaids talk with Lydia Ricard

What brought a city girl to the cold water of the Pacific Ocean? That’s what we’re about to discover with Lydia Ricard. She’s telling us about the feeling she gets on a wave and life lessons she learned from surfing.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I grew up in the city of Montréal, always loved being in the water. I would always just wait for summer to jump in the pool or in the lake. I didn't know that jumping in at 57 degrees was just training for surfing in cold water later. I also did gymnastic and soccer for 10+ years but always in a recreative level. Just for fun! I studied social sciences even though that I hated school. I also did 2 years of nursing but had to stop because I had mononucleosis. I then traveled across British Colombia and I didn't make it back to school, surfing's got me. I always say that mononucleosis is the best thing that happened to me.
The most surprising thing about Tofino that you’ve discovered since moving here?
Mmmm… just that Tofino exists haha! I had no idea this place was a thing until I got here by mistake.
Can you describe the feeling that you get when surfing?
It is just a space that really allows you to be in the moment. There is no other distraction that what is around it. I love it because it is also the only place where everyone is disconnected from technology and really present. Being in the ocean alone is just so magical to be in direct contact with nature and all its power, but to be standing up on a wave is even better. It makes you feel connected to something much greater and sharing a dance with the ocean is just something you can't really describe. Frees my mind and stops it from thinking too much.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life? (Surfing wise)
There has been a lot of people helping me since the beginning, but I would say the biggest influence was Surf Mama, Krissy. She really took me under her wing to become a surf sister myself and to become a better surfer.
How do you manage your stress, preparing for a competition?
I usually try to spend as much time meditating or studying by watching videos and analyzing how the best do their thing, instead of actually surfing before competitions. It helps calm my mind and find a happy place in my brain and body when I am just about to go on a heat. I also like to dance or sing songs to get the stress out of me if necessary.
If you had one piece of advice to give to a girl who would like to start surfing, what would it be?
Just get out there girl! Don't hesitate, just try. Again, and again. Don't compare yourself with others, just do the best you can do, and enjoy every step of the way!
Any plans for the rest of the summer?
Lots of working and lots of surfing!
Any goals for the next year?
I hope I am going to be able to keep traveling to gain more surfing experience. I would love to get some longboard coaching experience, to get better at classic long boarding techniques. I am also hoping to be able to do the same competitions that I did this year and improve on them.
Favorite surf spot around Tofino.
I like all the beaches. But I love Long Beach in the summer, it is so beautiful!
What quote/words do you live by/go with about life?
Follow your heart. It is a classic, but it really means a lot to me. Go where your heart tells you, do what really feels good inside. Follow that instinct, listening to yourself is really important.
Any book you read recently that you recommend?
Good question. I love classics like the Alchemist or the the Outliers from Malcom Gladwell.
What is your favourite surf ritual/moment when you get ready to go surfing?
I love to listen to a few songs that I have and dance in my house or in the car. It calms me and makes me focused more.
What surfing taught you about life?
Oh wow! That is a hard one. It taught me so many things! Mostly I think is to be patient and to let things go. That wave you missed will never come back, but that is okay, there will be more coming. Also that there is somethings that you just can not control so to go with the flow and enjoy the ride is very important if you want to enjoy every little bit of it. I used to give up really easily if things would not come easily to me, but I am very happy that surfing showed me the rewards of hard work and perseverance, and so much patience.
Surfing also opened my eyes on nature and the environment. Being constantly in touch with nature made me want to preserve it more and take good care of it. It does not need to be fighting for everything, but I think that the little gestures do matter, like bringing your to go cups, saying no to straws or plastic bags, and picking up garbage on the beach when you see it. Try to buy local, and support environment-friendly companies.
I want to say a huge congrats to my friend at Green Room Body co. that is doing handmade products that are chemicals free and plastic free. After using her products, I told myself I would never buy a shampoo or conditioner in a bottle again.
Thanks for sharing your story with us!

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