Nearly every morning, a handful of photographers gather on the Huntington Beach pier as part of their morning routine.
Their lenses are trained on the dozens of mostly recreational surfers that fill the water on what locals call 'the north side'. More often than not, it's the biggest or most aggressive that catch the majority of the waves.
But not all the time.
"There goes Ruby," said one of photogs as he peered out through the foggy morning.
He was referring to a petite 11-year-old that wears a pink suit and keeps her long hair in a tightly wound bun. To many, she is simply known as.... Ruby.
Ruby Stringfellow is her full name and if you don't know of her now, you certainly will in the future.
Born in Costa Rica and raised in Maui, Stringfellow moved to southern California just over a year ago and has been making the local waves her home ever since. She has also been making a strong reputation very quickly.
Just a week after celebrating her 11th birthday, Stringfellow was welcomed as a new member of the Hurley riding team just this week.
"So many great things have happened for Ruby since we landed here," said her mom, Dena. " Coming here from Hawaii was the best decision we ever made. She was enjoying doing some fun tournaments over there, but there really weren't that many for her. After her first event, you could see the competitive side in her come out. She wanted to do more. Her goal was to start competing seriously when she was 10 so the timing was right to make a move."
Knowing the opportunities California offered young surfers, Dena and Ruby packed up and moved to Orange County, a place Dena knew well since she was from the area.
Once they got here, they hooked up with Junior Team USA coach Ryan Simmons.
Ironically, Simmons coached Dena for a time when she wanted to surf so the progression to coach Ruby was ideal.
Both admit, he has played a big part in her improvement.
"Ryan helps me so much and it's so awesome, " Stringfellow said. "He's so encouraging. It's really fun to train with him. He's the best coach ever."
While taking a break at a practice session at Lowers last week, Ruby remembered how she realized her love for the sport.
"I had this one contest in Hawaii where I didn't do very well and I was like when is the next contest, but it was 6 months away," she said. "I was like wait, I want to do this like for a living, I want to do this with my life."
The young star got here just in time to start the 2022 surfing season.
She finished her first full year here by competing in all 20 events the NSSA (National Scholastic Surfing Association) and USA Surfing had to offer. In fact, she not only surfed them all, but she placed in the finals in all 20 competitions. She ended the season with a 3rd place finish in both National Championships.
Like many young surfers, Ruby has some great idols to look up to.
"My favorites are Carissa (Moore), Johanne (Defay), Griffin (Colapinto) and Filipe (Toledo) oh, yea and Sage Erickson," said Ruby. "They are all super nice and very encouraging"
Stringfellow had a simple answer when asked how she fell in love with surfing.
"I just love the ocean so much, I feel I'm connected with the ocean, Ruby said " Like when you are on the beach... you just have the urge to go out in the water and surf."
The NSSA season for the Northwest kicks on September 24th at Ventura and then has three events scheduled in October. There is a pretty good chance, Ruby Stringfellow will be at each and every one of them aiming for a title.