Cam Richards is fresh off a sponsored surfing excursion to Bali, Indonesia, and about a month removed from becoming a 15-year-old national champion in the sport as he enjoys an overdue break in his travel schedule and some lunch at a Mexican restaurant near his home last Wednesday.
He grins a bit when asked whether he feels like a local celebrity of sorts nowadays. “Sort of, but I’m not trying to let it get to my head,” he says. “I don’t want to be cocky and all that. So I’m still just Cam. I’m a regular 15-year-old kid that lives in Myrtle Beach, and I go to regular school unlike all the other kids that surf on the West Coast. They’re all home-schooled and stuff. I want to still be a normal kid.”
As normal as a 15-year-old in his position can be, that is. Richards, who lives in Surfside Beach and will be a sophomore at St. James High School this year, is a rising star in the surfing world, with a three-year contract from Billabong that pays him well and allows him to pursue his passion internationally.
On Tuesday evening, he’s set to receive the key to Surfside and a signed proclamation from the mayor in a ceremony in recognition of his winning the National Scholastic Surfing Association Open Men’s Championship in early July and becoming the first East Coast surfer since Myrtle Beach’s Mark McDandel in 1978 to accomplish that feat.
It’s the crowning achievement so far of his burgeoning surfing career, but those who have followed his rapid ascent say this is only the start.