Riding Waves Through High School

Riding Waves Through High School

Herishen takes on Surfing and Skating

Across a sea of athletes, one NVOT junior has been riding waves for as long as she could walk: Zoe Herishen. 

Since the start of her freshman year, Herishen has been surfing on a team for Saint Augustine Preparatory School, a private school in Buena Vista Township, New Jersey. NVOT does not have a surfing team, and as a result, she is able to surf for the all-boys school. 

On October 22, Herishen won third place in the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) Competition in Atlantic City. She competed against 50 girls from different high schools across NJ. She won sixth place her freshman year and fifth place sophomore year in the same competition. To reach milestones like this, she is constantly training in Wildwood or the American Dream Mall wave pool. “If I’m not at the beach, you will find me at the wave pool most of the week surfing, especially now that it’s getting cold,” Herishen said. 

Herishen and her coach, Kevin Richards

By coming in third place, she finished her season strong. Her coach, Kevin Richards, said, “Zoe is humble enough to be coachable, but confident enough to be dominant.” Richards helped her through the Chip Miller Surf Fest, and took the title for second place. From competing in the Belmar Pro Surf Competition (invite only) to getting fourth place in finals, Herishen is riding a wave of victory and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. 

Herishen credits her success this year to the time and dedication her father put into her surfing career. “My dad is a personal trainer, and we are always out in the gym almost every day,” Herishen said. Surfing takes a lot of both upper and lower body strength to surf every day. Her father writes her up workout programs every two to three months, which he also gives to D1 athletes as a freelance trainer. Even through the cold winters, the American Dream mall is all it takes for Herishen to stay in contact with the sport she loves throughout her off-season. With her father’s constant support, and driving Herishen back and forth, he helps make her dreams possible. “After I got out of the water on the NSSA comp day, it was the most accomplished I’ve felt in three years, my dad was so proud of me,” Herishen said. 

Alongside competing as an athlete herself, Herishen uses what she’s learned in the training process to help young girls improve their surfing. She helps encourage young surfers to develop their interest and fundamentals skills of surfing at an early age. Math teacher Megan Langan has experienced first-hand Herishen’s effect on young surfers. Langan’s ten-year-old daughter, Kate, was nervous to surf competitively over the summer. Although scared to take on the waves, Herishen was able to encourage Kate to volunteer in the Heart of Surfing event that was held at the Chip Miller event (a little event inside the big one), the same one Herishen took part in. “After the surf contest, Zoe surfed with Kate at the beach and the wave pool, as well. I honestly can’t think of a better role model for my daughter. She gives her talents to improve her community through so much volunteering, skateboard lessons, and surf lessons!” Langan said. 

Competitive surfing is not the only challenge she takes on. For ten years, Herishen has been involved in a skating event, Chica De Mayo, taking place all over New York and New Jersey. 

She has even been seen in multiple commercials for skating, and having the spotlight on Girl is not a 4 Letter Word (a popular website that gives insight on important young women); she was a crucial part of the skating community as a little girl. Herishen even made a quick guest appearance in the music video No Es Justo by J Balvin, Zion and Lennox. This small part played a big role in Herishen’s life. With 768 million views,this music video opened more doors for people to feature her and talk about skating. Her manager helps her grow her platform by getting jobs where she teaches young girls to skate at a young age.

Herishen has a reason that she spends most of her time teaching young girls to surf or skate. “I teach surfing as my job, and I get paid, but I teach skating for fun,” Herishen said. For almost 8 years, she has been giving skating lessons for free. When teaching young girls to skate, she hopes to get all of the girls into one big skating community, in order for it to grow. The ratio of boy skaters to girls is 77.1% to 23.9%. Herishen hopes to change this ratio. 

Herishen’s dedication is what has helped her strive to accomplish many things. All of the training done is not only for herself, but is placed on other people that she helps to become bigger and better surfers and skaters. Herishen hopes to beat her records and continue riding this wave of athletics either surfing and or skating after high school.

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