'The Ultimate Surfer's' Malia Ward Was Basically Born to Surf

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Aug. 30 2021, Published 4:18 p.m. ET

Every up-and-coming surfer dreams of competing in the World Surfing League Championship Tour. On ABC’s new sports reality series, The Ultimate Surfer, 14 hopefuls will get a chance to do just that. Along with a $100,000 cash prize, the contestants will battle it out at the World Surf League's (WSL) Surf Ranch in Lemoore, Calif., for a shot at the title of the world’s greatest surfer.

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Each competitor possesses a unique set of skills and viewers can expect drama both on and off the waves. While some of these emerging surfers are relatively unknown, some already have a foothold in the surfing world. The Ultimate Surfer’s Malia Ward is the daughter of a renowned name in the sport. So, who is this Ultimate Surfer’s dad?

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Who is 'The Ultimate Surfer' competitor Malia Ward’s dad?

Malia Ward was pretty much born with a surfboard under her feet. She is the daughter of surfing pro Chris Ward and fitness model Jacqueline Miller, and at 23, Malia's already known in the surfing world as a rising star.

Malia was born when parents Chris and Jacqueline were 19 and 17, respectively, with the two on the verge of their own skyrocketing careers. Although many people questioned whether it was a good idea for Chris to become a father while on the precipice of stardom, Chris “looked at it as a positive thing.”

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Malia has said that although her dad has a wild side, she’s been able to benefit from his attitude by “learning from his mistakes.” Growing up, Chris wasn’t around a lot because he was usually traveling for surf tours, but when he and Malia did spend time together, they “had the best time.”

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Chris never pushed Malia to surf, but he made sure to show her the water from a young age. Eventually, The Ultimate Surfer competitor fell in love with the ocean and surfing on her own terms, which naturally, delighted Chris.

"Having a daughter that surfs with her dad, there’s just nothing better than that,” Chris said. He also added that “it’s a one-of-a-kind-thing. It’s awesome.”

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Who is Chris Ward?

Chris Ward is an ultimate surfer in his own right, having been a stellar figure in the surfing community for over two decades now. Originally from Texas, Chris’ family moved to California, where he found himself living by the beach in San Clemente.

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He was quickly drawn to the water and after some friends gave him an old surfboard, he taught himself how to surf. Chris and his band of local surfers earned the moniker of Lost Crew. They were known for their antics on land as well as their moves on the water. By 17, Chris was an accomplished pro surfer, making enough money to support his family.

Chris’s honest and unfiltered approach to surfing and fame makes him one of the most beloved pros on the water and now, the master has a daughter to carry on his surfing legacy.

Catch Malia Ward on The Ultimate Surfer every Monday and Tuesday at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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