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By Andrea Swayne
Cole Stephens, 15, moved to Dana Point from Temecula two years ago and was inspired to learn to surf by his new beach town and new friends. “When we first moved here my step-dad bought me a surfboard right away,” he said. “I loved that board and I really wanted to learn.”
And learn he did. Cole watched surf films and practiced for hours every day during his first three weeks he was here, before enrolling as an eighth-grader at Marco Forster Middle School. Already an avid skateboarder in his old hometown, those skills along with intense practice paid off and he was invited to be a member of the Marco Forster surf team. Now a freshman at Dana Hills High School, he is a member of surf team there too. Cole also competes in the Soul Surf Series and has done a few other contests here and there.
“I would love to compete more,” he said. “It’s fun and kind of addicting. I like the trophies too, but I also like free surfing because you don’t have to worry about paddle battles and scores and can just have fun with friends.”
Besides surfing and skating, his other interests include art and fishing.
Cole would like to be a pro surfer someday and realizes the competition is grueling due to the abundance of talent among young surfers coming up today. He thanks his sponsors, On! Surfboards, A’s Burgers, LSTN Headphones and his mom and step-dad, for their support in chasing the dream.
“I would love to be a pro surfer but if it doesn’t happen, I will always be a surfer,” he said. “And I’d like to be a graphic designer and work in the surf industry when I’m older.”
He is hoping to take a surf trip over spring break, to Mexico with a friend, and dreams of future travel to places like Tahiti, Indonesia and Australia. Until then, he is happily enjoying the surf life here at home.
“I love that I get to go surfing for my first class of the day,” Cole said. “The day goes by much better when I wake up early and go surf.”