Schuyler McFerran In focus
by Ken McKnight
A Young girl on a bright pink longboard is back stepping after a five second nose ride. She casually stalls, waits for the next section and again walks up to the tip and hangs five in the best of traditions. The crew watching from the shoulder hoots her as she once again cross steps back and then kicks out into a knee paddling position and back outside for the next set.
Long board stylist and professional surfer, Schuyler McFerran, is one of the most dynamic young wave riders to come on the scene in a long time. Her competitive prowess, head turning free surfs, and great attitude makes her a standout wherever she surfs.
In this modern era of professional sports, here is a young female surfer that is quickly and quietly turning heads and opening eyes with her polished surfing and mellow demeanor. A super talented surfer, Schuyler has elevated her game so much so that she is quickly out distancing the competition and changing the way the game is played.
Definitely no Sunday poser, Schuyler is a very soulful individual that has probably fast tracked to the top quicker then just about any surfer in history. She is natural in her abilities, humble in conversation and quick on her feet when it comes to noseriding. Her super casual style, model looks, and incredible contest record have made her a big part of the Women's Professional Longboard circuit.
At eighteen, McFerran is a surfer who can't stand to see a wave go by unridden, or watch someone flub a section. She is the kind of surfer who paddles maniacally and rides anything and everything. She is so good she doesn't have to take off on someone to get a wave. Her aggressive demeanor in the water means she will catch three waves to most surfers one. And she rips!
Whenever McFerran paddles out she oozes confidence. You can see it in her eyes, watch it in her noseriding. Whether she is sizing up a section, watching where the reef is going to throw out, or simply waiting her turn she knows what she wants and goes right for it. From hanging five to slashing back, a carving bottom turn, or when to kick out. She doesn't waste a thing in the water.
It seems, so far, that this young woman is up to the task. She possesses a tremendous amount of grit, determination and focus, commanding an intense presence. She has been a pro less than two years and has already set the ranks, peers and press to talking about how good she is.
"I know what I have to do and I try my best." - Schuyler McFerran
One of the biggest Highlights in her young career would have to be the invite to the 2004 MALIBU RB5X for Red Bull USA last October. This was a specialty event that featured five of the best longboarding women, surfing in the middle of the night, under 180,000 watts of light power at First Point Malibu. The surfers judged each other with Schuyler finishing equal 2nd to an always-impressive Kassia Meador and her amazing Malibu act.
She was asked recently if she was afraid of getting burned out as a pro at such a young age?
"No, not at all." she said with a big smile. "I love surfing and regardless if I was sponsored or not, I'd still be surfing everyday, all day. I love the competing and traveling. There is no way I could get burned out."
When asked if she was old school or new school she very nonchalantly fired back, "I don't want to be pigeon holed or just be a longboarder." McFerran said. "I really want to become an awesome all around surfer. I want to get better at my shortboarding."
Is she New School or old school?
"I'm a mixture of both," she admitted with a wry gleam in her eye.
Out in the lineup the first thing one notices about Schuyler is how many waves she catches. She is a paddling machine whether she is on a short or longboard, and she just catches more waves then anyone.
The second thing that strikes you is that look on her game face; determined, intent, focused. Riding waves is her medium her style is the Art. Out of the water her composure is one of a gentle soul enjoying life and all that it offers. She is easy to talk with, respectful, reflective, soft-spoken and always ready to say something nice about someone. Her tall frame, model looks, and angular features make her a head turner wherever she is.
Intent, comfortable, and very casual on the Nose, Schuyler McFerran is a supernova burning bright in a celestial landscape. If I were a competitor on the Womens' Longboard tour, I'd be very afraid to draw this young surf machine in a heat. Why? She rips and is consistent.
The middle child of Scott and Suellen McFerran, Schuyler has no shortage of surfing genes to pick from. Her parents are both excellent surfers themselves. On any given day Suellen McFerran could be the best surfer in the water at any given break. Casual, smooth and smart, Suellen McFerran picks off set waves with the best of them and surfs like someone who is fully in tune with the oceans rhythms.
"Scott and I grew up in Orange County." Suellen McFerran told us. "We met in sixth grade and started surfing around ninth or tenth grade. We moved to Santa Barbara for college and stayed there for ten years before moving to Montana."