SAN ONOFRE, California – Meg Roh defies many modern-day adult complaints that teens are difficult and unpredictable.
The high school senior from Orange County, California, is as constant as the tides, on a golden streak of surfing 2,000 days in a row.
“I started surfing (the streak) on June 1, 2011, as a way to practice and get better for an upcoming surf contest,” the 18-year old said.
“And I did not end up winning the contest, but I ended up surfing every day just to practice and be happy.”
The surfing euphoria has ensued every day since the then 12-year-old with braces embarked on the journey from San Onofre State Beach, now her usual surf spot.
Roh kept surfing, through wind, rain and hail.
She kept the streak alive during vacations, by surfing in Hawaii, Nicaragua and Mexico.
“The closest I came to stopping surfing every day is when I came home from my trip to Mexico,” Roh said. “The flight didn’t get in until 8 or 9 o’clock at night. So I ended up going to Doheny (State Beach) and surfing in the dark.”
Poor grades could have ended the streak, because Roh has a surfing pact with her parents, Dan Roh, Sue Hann and stepfather Dan Hann. No grades, no waves.
Transcripts show Meg’s grade point average is a weighted 4.33.
But what about health, maybe just one bad day in 2,000?
“I’ve never been too sick to surf, I’ve just had a fever a couple of times,” Roh said.
Her mother finds that illness assessment to contain a bit of teenage understatement.
“I had a moment when it was very stormy out there,” Sue said of a day Meg rode the waves with a 104 degree temperature. “And then she got out and said ‘I am a little dizzy right now.’ ”
“She wouldn’t let her take her temperature until she got home,” remembers Sam Hann.
He then imitates his stepdaughter.
” ‘No no, I don’t have a temperature, I’m fine.’ ”
“Surfing definitely makes things better, for sure,” Roh counters. “Even when you are sick.”
But loyalty to a bestie may end the streak.
“My best friend, her birthday is coming up (in January) and she wants to go camping in Joshua Tree,” Roh said. “So I promised her I would go with her. So I will probably stop surfing (for a day) soon.”
Joshua Tree National park lies almost 150 miles east of Roh’s Orange County home, nowhere near the shore.
Roh’s dream college preferences are predictably within the range of crashing waves: the University of Hawaii, UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara, among others.
Back at her waves, on the beach beach at San Onofre, Roh’s reputation floats among the surfers waiting for the next big set.
“The crazy girl who surfs every day,” Roh imitates greetings from strangers.
But her mother offers a serious view of her impact, outlining how a man who stopped surfing after back surgery got back in the water, propelled by Meg’s streak.
“I’ve been in the water where people have approached her,” Sue said. “Then they tell their story of how she inspired them and I get choked up and I have to paddle away, because it’s kind of amazing.”