Charge after your dreams even if it seems tough. That’s what Rylee Owens tells the group of local young girls she mentors; that’s what she does in her own life. Growing up in Texas, Rylee would occasionally skip school so she could surf the Gulf of Mexico and it was there that surfing caught its hooks in her. The California dream, to work outdoors and chase waves, quickly reeled her in. She moved to California with no home, no job and—most tragically—no surfboard, just an underlying passion to live on the coast and surf more. Yosemite was the first place she landed, but eventually, Rylee made her way to the Orange County coast. She found a job at a small sporting goods store and began surfing every day before work.
Riding her roommates’ surfboards, Rylee subjected herself to the Ocean daily as a ritual, allowing the power of the surf to humble her; challenge her; push her to overcome her fears. This made her a better surfer. A better person.
Initially, surfing seemed a solitary pursuit, but as Rylee began to travel for the purpose of surfing, her mindset changed, and her surfing took on a brighter purpose. She started viewing surfing as a way to connect with people and cultures. After spending a season in Hawaii working for a non-profit surf organization, Surfing The Nations, Rylee returned to Oceanside, California to pursue her passions while integrating herself into an incredible surf community.
Surfing is definitely one of Rylee’s biggest passions. A lover of the outdoors, she grew up swimming, climbing, snowboarding, and wakeboarding but it has been through her passion of surfing that she’s been able to connect with a group of teenage girls as a volunteer in an organization called, Christian Surfers (@christiansurfers_carlsbad).
She and the girls spend time surfing, skating, going on adventures and sharing meals together. Rylee takes joy in these connections, in being there when times are hard, and in seeing these young girls build in both confidence and strength.
Rylee and her neighbors also run a “skate church” in their backyard called, “Radpad Gathering.” Once a week local kids and families come over to skate the mini half-pipe. “Radpad Gathering” also includes pizza and prizes, along with community fellowship for those who want to get connected. “I used to skate in middle school,” says Rylee. “Now I skate to keep up with the middle schoolers.”
“I believe we’re here on this Earth to live life with purpose and meaning,” Rylee says. “No one is unworthy of love and we have the ability to positively impact those around us if we choose to make that a priority in life. I love people and I want to do my best in this life to make a difference any way I can. Everyone has a story and it matters equally.”
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