FRIENDSWOOD – When it comes to the Kryger siblings, they’ve been competitors since birth.
The triplets were born within a minute of each other. That day, big sister Isabelle won that competition, followed by Chase then Connor.
“Isabelle will take that one minute and hold it over their heads,” the triplets’ father, Matt Kryger, said.
Now 8 years old, the triplets from Friendswood bring that competitive spirit to the beach, as all three have become top-ranked youth surfers with multiple trophies from surfing contests to show for it.
At the end of the Texas Gulf Coast Surf Association’s season last month, Connor finished first in the overall points standings in the boys and girls 9 and younger division. Isabelle was second and Chase was fourth. The rankings are based on the highest average places in six contests during the season.
Seeking more competition, Isabelle also competed in the girls 9- to 12-year-old division, where she was the state champion. Connor competed among older boys in the 9- to 12-year-old division, finishing fourth overall.
Riding a wave of fun
While practicing for some sports can be tedious, preparation for surfing contests takes the triplets to the fun and laid back atmosphere of the beach.
The Krygers are all in general agreement about what they like most about their favorite sport.
“I like catching good waves and doing cool tricks and being in the water and having fun,” Chase said.
The triplets, who began surfing at age 3, don’t necessarily think alike when they are out on the waves, though. Each sibling has their own identity when it comes to what techniques and maneuvers they prefer.
Chase said he enjoys going up and down the forward-facing surface of a breaking wave and “pumping” — an up-and-down movement that generates speed along a wave.
Isabelle likes to cut back toward the breaking part of a wave and “hitting the lip” — moving upwards to hit the peak of a wave after the first turn at the bottom of the wave.
One of Connor’s favorite moves is the floater — riding up on the top of the breaking part of the wave, and then coming down with it — but said he also enjoys cutbacks and pumping like his sister and brother.
The Krygers mostly practice in Galveston about four times a week. When wave conditions are not optimal, the triplets stay sharp by practicing on specially made skateboards that can teeter back and forth simulating conditions on the water.
“Whenever I haven’t surfed in a week, it’s like I can’t survive anymore,” Isabelle joked.
The places they can go
Matt Kryger’s job as a pilot affords them the opportunity to travel to and experience other popular surfing destinations, most recently Maui, Hawaii.
The three Kryger siblings all excitedly talked over each other reminiscing about the size of the waves in Maui and the absence of the seaweed mounds seen in the area.
“We don’t take that fact that they plow the Galveston beaches for granted anymore because it’s so much better here than down the beach,” Matt Kryger said.
The triplets have competed in more than 20 surfing contests, and, so far, their favorite venue has been South Padre Island.
That may change, though, when their next contest takes them to the land down under in September.
“They were invited to something called the Hurley BL Blast Off. It’s the largest kids contest in the world, and it’s in Australia,” Matt Kryger said.
With the triplets taking to surfing like fish in water, it seems the sky is the limit when it comes to their future in the sport.
“They’re amazing. Everywhere we go, even in Hawaii, people come up and say, ‘I can’t believe they’re only eight years old,’” Matt Kryger said. “Anything they want to do with it, is fine with their mom and I. If they just want to have fun with it, that’s great. If they want to go pro, we’ll do whatever it takes to help them make that goal a reality.”
After starting off in windsurfing, Matt Kryger said he’s been board surfing for about the past 20 years. Although Matt has never competed in a surfing contest, that has not stopped his ultra-competitive triplets from placing dear old dad in their crosshairs — right up there with the goal becoming professional surfers.
“Be a pro, and be better than my dad when I’m 10,” Connor said of his top aspirations. “Or 9.”