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All Photos: Peter Taras

It had been a long time coming. At 32-year-old Ryan “Chachi” Craig had been a Follow The Light finalist multiple times in years past. In 2008, he stood on stage beside Todd Glaser and watched him accept the award. In 2013, Chachi put together one of the most impressive entries we’ve seen — but was disqualified due to his accepting a job at TransWorld Surf. It was a job that lasted the whole of 7 weeks before the magazine shut down. “I feel like I’ve opened some doors in the surf industry and they haven’t always worked out,” Chachi says. “But I believe that winning Follow The Light will open the right doors for me. And whatever that entails, I’m just excited to work my hardest and see what I can do.” So are we.