Los Angeles is one of those special places in America where we have permission to pursue our dreams without too much judgment or pushback. Actors. Techies. Inventors. If you can think it, you can be it here in La La Land. Talent, ambition, the ability to get along with people, and a healthy dash of luck go a long way here. Hunter Jones and Ryan Harris know this, and they’re manifesting their visions and helping each other along the way.
Hunter Jones, 23, grew up surfing beside the hazy smokestacks at El Porto and kicked off his professional life behind a desk at the World Surf League HQ in Santa Monica. There, he traveled with the tour and fed the appetites of surf fans across the league’s many social media feeds. It was a nice setup, to be sure, which he’ll be the first to admit. But Jones had an itch to scratch.
“The dream for me has always been to be a professional surfer,” said Jones. “My love for video production and editing has just followed that. If I could mash the two together and tell stories in the middle of it, that’s the dream for me.”
So he is. Jones recently joined Sanuk’s team, and if you watched the World Series between the Dodgers and Red Sox, you may have noticed his spot below. He and a friend also started a social media agency producing and editing video content for a quiver of brands. Needless to say, he keeps busy. And his relationship with local shaper Ryan Harris of Earth Technologies has proven to be one of mutual benefit.
Jones first met Ryan Harris when he was a teenager surfing El Porto.
“I was like, ‘You rip, and you look like me,’ which is rare, because I sure don’t know a ton of African American surfers, let alone pros,” said Ryan Harris. “I kind of looked at him as a younger brother almost, and I just thought it would be really cool to sponsor this kid. If I could help his surfing in any way and get him on the right equipment and have that professional surfer/professional shaper relationship that’s good for any surf brand.”
His custom, eco-friendly HJM model is the one that graced millions of screens during the World Series.
On this particular Sunday, Harris is scurrying around his Torrance-based HQ collecting discarded resin. He recently acquired a shredder that allows him to eliminate all waste from his operation. He’s excited about transforming surfboard scraps into coasters. An Eagles game blares on the TV in his shaping bay, and Jones is milling about collecting scraps to shred.
“I push him to try new stuff,” said Harris. “He pushes my surfing.”
Harris has been at the forefront of elevating the eco-standards of surfboard production for years, and working with Hunter has been one of those iron-sharpens-iron kinds of relationships. It’s enabling new standards in board building and the dreams of a pro-surfer-turned-entrepreneur to come true.
“Helping others has given me more opportunities than me trying to do stuff for myself,” said Jones. “If I can help Ryan or help someone do something that’s when community happens. I think that’s how a lot of stuff starts, and just following wherever that path may take you.”
Editor’s Note: This feature was made possible by RAM Trucks and features the all-new Laramie Blackout. Video shot by Ryan Trautwein and Aika Lau. Edited by Ryan Trautwein.