For Meg Roh, surfing is more than a passion. It's part of everyday life, as routine as breakfast and homework.
The 15-year-old from Southern California recently caught waves for the 1,000th consecutive day, achieving a milestone that few, if any, of her peers can match.
On June 1, Roh will reach the three-year mark, and after that, nobody is quite sure.
"Who knows, maybe I'll try for four," she says. "I just love surfing. First of all, it makes me feel good; surfing always makes me happy, so doing this is not hard."
The streak began when she was 12. After surfing for several days in a row in south Orange County, Roh decided to try to paddle out every day, rain or shine, for an entire year.
Her dad, Sam Hann, drove her to the beach most days at 5 a.m. Roh caught at least five waves each time out, then went to school. If she didn't surf before school, she surfed after school. That remains the daily drill for what might be the world’s most dedicated surfer.
And while the simple act of riding waves is not hard, to surf every day regardless of weather conditions, health, and day-to-day obligations requires the type of dedication that most people simply cannot muster. On some days, when the surf is small or nearly flat, Roh will sit on her board for what seems an eternity, waiting to catch her five waves.
"It's hard for me to surf 10 days in a row," said Jason Kenworthy, a veteran surf photographer who supplied the images for this story. "What she's doing is incredible."
To be sure, in an age when so many kids and teenagers are inactive, or constantly glued to their handheld devices, Roh's story is inspirational.
She stars on the San Juan Hills High School surf team and this summer will travel with her teammates to Nicaragua. She has maintained a straight-A average since beginning her streak.
"Meg is in a very happy place in her life right now," says her mother, Sue Hann. "She loves her high school, she loves her high school surf team, and she has made a world of friends at school. She has a ton of friends she loves to surf with, and then she has friends that love to do other sports or activities."
There were many days where it appeared that the streak would end. Roh once woke up with chills, but refused to let her mother take her temperature until she had caught her five waves. Her temperature, after returning home, was 104 degrees.
Her father recalled the time the family traveled to Mexico on vacation. Roh surfed the morning before the flight and each day during the vacation. But the flight home was late and arrived in the dark. The family caught a shuttle from the airport to Doheny State Beach.
"The driver dumped our gear in the parking lot at 9 p.m.," Sam Hann said. "We surfed at night in our shorts."
As impressive as Roh’s streak may be, she knows she has no chance at setting a world record. That distinction belongs to Dale Webster, who surfed every day for 28 years—an achievement that is almost impossible to believe.
Roh recently surfed with Webster, who was featured in the movie Step Into Liquid.
She wasn't aware of what Webster had accomplished at the time, or even who he was, and later asked her father why the strange old man was paying so much attention to her and giving her a signed rash guard and other apparel.
That night, Sam and Roh watched Step Into Liquid, and Roh said, "I guess I should have been nicer to him."
While Roh is looking forward to setting a three-year mark, what she really looks forward to is turning 16 and earning her driver’s license in September. “I can’t wait,” she says. “And yes, I plan on driving to the beach a bunch.”
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