Sondheimer: Jonas Meskis is living the teenage dream of international surfer

Jonas Meskis, 17, acts like every day is a good day.

“I’m living the good life,” he says. “It’s incredible.”

He’s a surfer traveling the world and visiting surfing hot spots with his twin brother, Jackson.

“Oh my gosh, it’s incredible. It’s so cool,” Jonas says.

This weekend Jonas is in Surf City, El Salvador, competing at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship. Last month he was in British Columbia winning the Canadian junior national championship.

He’s got his own YouTube channel. He’s an influencer on TikTok and Instagram. He has an endorsement deal from a French wetsuit maker and another for Sun Mud sunscreen. He’s enrolled in an independent study program through Oak Park Independent School, leaving time for surfing in the morning or whenever.

“It’s great, all fun,” he says.

His father, Jason, is assistant principal at Oak Park High. His mother works for the school district. His brother didn’t qualify to compete in El Salvador but joins Jonas as a morning surfing partner for trips to Zuma Beach or Ventura Harbor.

Jonas says nothing produces a better adrenaline rush than riding a wave and nothing is more relaxing than sitting on a board in the middle of the ocean.

“It’s pretty cool. You’re putting yourself in a dangerous situation a lot of people couldn’t handle,” he says. “I love it so much. I like how it separates me from the regular world. I’m going to a whole different environment. I get to clear my mind. No wave is the same. It’s always new, it’s always changing.”

Jonas talks like an A student, which he is. The stereotype of surfers not being the brightest (think “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) just doesn’t fit. He does embrace all the surfer phrases, though. He’s got the lingo down to perfection.

“You’re shredding” means surfing is good.

“Sick” means awesome.

“Gnarly” means large.

Surf competitions come down to finding a big wave, riding it and impressing the judges. Winning the Canadian junior championship was important to Jonas. His parents and many relatives are Canadian.

“I was so happy. I worked so hard the past three years to win that,” he said.

His parents have supported the twins by paying for trips, but Jonas works during the summer giving surfing lessons. The twins intend to enroll at Moorpark College after high school.

For now, Jonas is obeying a strict surfing schedule.

He started a streak of surfing every day and keeping his fans informed via social media. The streak reached 144 days Saturday, even after storms came to Southern California and made going into the water unhealthy. He brought out earplugs and a hood to wear with his wetsuit and took long showers afterward to avoid getting sick.

He has visited Mexico, Brazil and Costa Rica to surf. How long he keeps competing remains to be seen. But he makes clear his love for surfing will never end.

“I don’t know how far I want to take it competitively, but I know for a fact I’ll always be surfing,” he said.

As they say in surfing lingo, that’s sick.

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