Ryder Jackson (2017-present)
Date of Birth: October 2000
Parents: Evan Slater (deceased) & Quinn Jackson
Occupation: Student, Juice Bar Server, Salt Barman
Ryder had been hanging around Summer Bay for some time, stealing from the surf club and breaking in to sleep there, when he was caught by VJ and Hunter. On hearing Alf identified, he announced he was Alf’s grandson, the son of Alf’s daughter Quinn who Alf hadn’t seen in over twenty years. Alf and Roo cautiously agreed to let him stay with them even though he claimed to have no way of contacting Quinn to confirm his story. He promptly stole $50 from Alf’s wallet to shout Coco a milkshake. He got Coco’s number only for the phone to be answered by Ben who read him the riot act. It transpired that he had run away from boot camp while Quinn was on a cruise ship and Roo convinced Alf to let him stay until Quinn could come and collect him.
Alf tried to take him on an early morning fishing trip but he reacted badly to being woken after sleeping on the sofa, then started flirting with Raffy. Alf told him to get an early night but he instead stayed up with Roo, then skipped out of moving wood as punishment to again spend time with Coco and Raffy (although he failed to trick John into giving him a free milkshake). Roo did the work for him in return for him going on an afternoon fishing trip. He invited himself along to a movie night with the two girls at the Morgans’, where he flirted with both girls. However, the next day Raffy made it clear to him that they weren’t an item. He helped Raffy and Coco organise a Glow Day but continued to behave erratically, being rude to Coco when she came to find him the morning of the event, then acting hyperactive while partnering Jennifer Dutton on an obstacle course and causing her to fall and injure her wrist. Alf then caught him sleepwalking and caused him to fall down the stairs. He insisted he was fine however and was annoyed to find Roo checking his bag for drugs. He was around for VJ’s farewell dinner.
When Quinn turned up, she expected Ryder to leave with her immediately but Alf and Roo convinced her to stay for the weekend. Alf and Roo were shocked to see Ryder having a nightmare but Quinn explained he’d always had them. After hearing Quinn say that his erratic sleeping pattern had ruined her life, he stormed out and stole Alf’s car, running over Roo. After he was blasted by Alf, and Roo was rushed to hospital with back pains, he told Raffy he was leaving town alone. Raffy hid him at hers but he continued to hide from Quinn, claiming he was going to join his father despite having had virtually no contact with him. He stole a boat and took Raffy out to a cove where they found Dennis Novak’s body. Worried about getting into trouble with the police, he insisted Raffy keep quiet. He visited Roo in hospital to apologise and Alf convinced him to also go easy on Quinn. Quinn still wanted him to leave with her but accepted staying with Alf and Roo would give him stability and they parted on good terms.
He joined Coco and Raffy in drumming up teens to protest against the lack of recycling at the Diner, although Raffy suspected his main motive was impressing Coco. He later visited Coco with flowers made from recycled paper and they shared a dance at the reopening of Salt. Roo got him into regular sleeping patterns and enrolled him at Summer Bay High, repeating Year 11. Ryder tried to get out of it by getting a job as a children’s entertainer but this left Roo upset so he ended up going to school anyway. However, he managed to upset Coco by messing about with Jennifer in an ill Maggie’s classes. He cheered her up by hijacking the school PA system to play music for her, but ended up going too far and spending the rest of the day playing people’s requests, landing himself and Raffy in detention. They skipped out while Roo was out of the room and it wasn’t until a while later that they realised Alf and Roo had been trapped by a gas explosion at the school.
He and Raffy helped keep Coco occupied while she waited for her mother’s test results. He was confused when Roo suddenly moved out, worrying he was to blame, so took Alf out fishing. On his return, he was taken hostage along with Leah and Jasmine by Jasmine’s unstable ex-boyfriend David Cantrall until they were rescued by Colby Thorne. Roo explained to him that she had recently found out her mother was alive. Ryder was disheartened that, with Maggie suffering from cancer, he wasn’t spending any time with Coco but Coco proved her commitment by kissing him. He finally got to take her out for a date, dinner at Salt, and, when she worried he wanted to have sex, assured her he wasn’t any more experienced than her.
He and Coco were soon spending all their time with each other, sitting together and partnering each other at school. Coco realised they were neglecting Raffy and invited her to play basketball with them. Soon after, Ryder was the first person to meet Roo’s mother Martha when she turned up in town. He was initially dismissive when Ava went missing, but when he realised it was serious he went to support Raffy. He helped convince Coco to go to a camp for the children of cancer sufferers and gave John and Marilyn advice on not making Raffy’s room too girly when she moved in with them.
He was reunited with Coco when she returned from camp and also quickly befriended Ty Anderson, who was being fostered by John and Marilyn. Coco seemed reluctant to talk to him and he bothered Roo and Hunter with theories that she was going off him, prompting Mason to send him to talk to her, where he was rebuffed. He was bothered that Coco spent all her time messaging Jeremy, who she initially claimed was one of the counsellors at the camp but who turned out to be a boy their age. He tried to tell her to talk to him instead of Jeremy but instead she broke up with him.
When Leah set up a forum only to be plagued by trolls, Ryder secretly videoed her saying it was worth it to help one person and trolls didn’t have anything better to do and uploaded it to the site. Despite it getting a positive reaction, Leah was annoyed but got him to help with a vlog on privacy. He matchmaked between Ty and Raffy and arranged for the three of them to surprise Coco at Salt for some friend time to take her mind off what was happening with Maggie. He started work at the juice bar and spent his first shift inventing smoothies with Ty. He was nearly blamed for some missing money that had actually been taken by Willow.
With John and Marilyn trying to keep Ty and Raffy apart, Ryder worked with Coco to get them some alone time together on the beach. However, he also warned Raffy that she was crowding Ty. He arranged to meet Ty after school to do a computer assignment but forgot about him after getting distracted helping Coco with arrangements for Brody and Ziggy’s wedding. After a ticking off from Roo, he apologised and asked Ty and Raffy to help pick the music. After listening to one of Ty’s song, he was taken aback when Ty kissed him, explaining he didn’t like him in that manner. He confided in Coco but felt it wasn’t his place to tell Raffy. He tried telling Ty it was okay he was gay but Ty angrily denied it and violently pushed him away. He refused to tell Alf, John and Marilyn what it was about, resulting in Alf sentencing him to clean the surf club. However, he had to tell them when Ty ran away and was the one Ty rang after being injured in the bush. He later visited Ty, now more accepting of his sexuality, in hospital and gave his support, while Alf told him he’d handled it well.
He managed to clear the air with Ty although things remained somewhat tense with Raffy. However, the teens all came together to support Ty when he accidentally came out to the school and he helped show Ty’s side of the story by getting him to play his personal song over the school’s PA system. He and the other teens arranged a birthday party for Ty where Ryder and Coco got back together. He planned a first date and decided to take her for a picnic on the clifftop. Roo gave him a talk about the relationship but he said he was happy to take it slow. He was surprised then when Coco promptly suggested they sleep together and decided they should wait. However, he was quickly moving on with the plans but was unable to convince Alf and Roo to go out for the night then failed to purloin caravan keys or book a motel room, with Alf also stopping them sneaking off onto the beach. They eventually had the farm house to themselves, but after a succession of calamities during the foreplay they concluded they weren’t ready. He also had to say goodbye to Ty when he went back to live with his mother Jodi. He worked with Raffy and Coco to trick John and Marilyn into having dinner together after they fell out over Ty leaving.
He was somewhat smug when Coco and Raffy both needed extra tutoring after their grades slipped and planned snacks and a movie with Coco after a study session, only for Raffy to turn up instead and reveal Coco wasn’t coming. When Raffy had a go at Coco, Ryder told Coco she’d done nothing wrong and stood by as she accused Raffy of stirring up trouble. Despite being torn, he continued to focus on Coco, not wanting to upset her, resulting in Raffy blasting him for turning his back on her. After a chat with Dean about standing by friends, he admitted to Coco that he had told Raffy he was upset about her standing him up. This resulted in him and Coco falling out although they soon made up. However, they also broke up, deciding they were better off as friends.
Ryder began to feel somewhat isolated, with Raffy and Coco going shopping together and Ty no longer around. Leah encouraged him to join the surf club and he tried using the gym, only to get trapped under a weight when using it unsupervised and have to be rescued. He ended up befriending Dean, although Dean also encouraged him to appreciate Alf and Leah more. However, he was annoyed that they tried to keep him away from Dean, sending him instead to study with Raffy and Coco where he was soon bored and sent away for being disruptive. When Raffy and Coco tried to spend time with him, he felt they were only doing it out of pity because Alf put them up to it. Alf convinced him otherwise but then had to join Roo in the States for Caroline’s funeral, leaving Ryder with Leah.
Raffy and Coco offered to let him pick an activity and, having heard stories from Dean about the River Boys’ old hideout, challenged them to spend the night there with him. Dean and Ben both convinced him not to take his frustrations out on Leah, although he did steal supplies from the bait shop for the trip. However, the night fell flat when the girls were more bored than scared. Raffy attempted to cheer him up by climbing out through the old escape tunnel but she brought it down on herself. Although Dean, Colby and Chelsea soon arrived to help them, Ryder felt guilty about her suffering a head injuy. He decided not to sit his Year 11 exams but a pep-talk from Raffy convinced him to go. Afterwards, however, he witnessed Raffy having a seizure on the wharf. Although his information helped her be treated, John blamed him for the injury, although he later apologised. Roo took him to the hospital to see Raffy, but the sight of her comatose after brain surgery just increased his guilt.
He showed little interest in doing the rest of his exams and, although he eventually went, he just sat without writing anything, then took some beer from the house and got drunk in a caravan. Roo quickly found out and took him to task but on hearing Raffy had been diagnosed with epilepsy he swiped a bottle of wine to get drunk in his room. He reminded Alf and Roo that they hadn’t been there for him after the accident, while only Raffy remembered his 18th. He went to Salt for his first legal drink, but was upset that he wasn’t allowed to see Raffy when she was discharged from hospital, especially when John and Marilyn were. He turned up at the Morgans’ drunk, with Alf and Roo initially assuming someone must have bought alcohol for him. He then announced he was leaving town.
Ignoring texts from Raffy, he hitched a lift with Dean, who was going to visit his father Rick Booth. After the trip however, Dean insisted on taking him back to Alf and Roo, who promised they’d try and be there for him more. He was uninterested in discussing his HSC options, instead convincing Raffy to go out to the Diner. When Raffy learned she had passed Year 11, Ryder kept the fact he had failed from her, since she was expecting him to be there to support her. He told Alf and Roo he needed to stay in school and, after a meeting with education officer Edwina, it was agreed he could retake his exams in private with Maggie. Although he passed, there was a delay in him being given permission to start Year 12 and he had to admit the truth to a disappointed Raffy. However, at the last minute he was cleared and convinced her to come to school with him, only to end up being hit in the face by her when she got into a row with bully Abbi Simmonds.
He invited Raffy to the cancer fundraiser and supported her on her second first day back at school, only to nearly kiss her after calming her down. Raffy tried to pretend it didn’t happen before saying they should just be friends. Seeing how worried Raffy was at coping at school without Coco, he tried to convince Coco not to go to a camp but Raffy decided she should. Ryder was thus the one who had to help Raffy with an assignment, convincing her to adapt to the changes in her brain by using a slide show instead of lengthy text. Afterwards, they kissed only for Raffy to run off. He agreed to Roo taking a placement in the Kimberleys and, after waving her off, he and Raffy kissed again, establishing them as a couple. They decided to keep it secret although he confided in Alf. Marilyn helped the couple have their first date together at the juice bar although Raffy worried about telling Coco. He looked after Bella Nixon on finding her hiding from Colby and offered her a caravan to stay in, although Dean found her straightaway and he was left worrying everyone would think she was his girlfriend.
With Raffy away in Canberra when Coco returned, he was told not to talk to her and quickly ushered her out of the house when she came round. Despite their efforts, Coco walked in on him and Raffy kissing in Salt. He managed to convince her they could all still be friends and it was suggested he and Coco learn to drive together. Although he had second thoughts when Raffy couldn’t join them, they both got driving permits but Ryder also received a warning from Mason to remember Raffy wasn’t eighteen.
Ryder was awkward around Justin and Mason as a result of the warning but did take a leading hand in organising a presentation to convince Maggie to let Coco go to boarding school. He eventually admitted what had been said to Raffy who took Mason to task. Worried about Raffy, he received advice from Martha, who was staying at the caravan park, about handling anxiety. When Raffy told him that marijuana could help but Justin and Tori were refusing to let her go on a trial, he got Dean to put him in touch with someone that would sell him a joint for her. However, both of them stressed out trying to hide it and they were eventually stopped from using it by Mason. He joined John and Marilyn in a disastrous attempt to stage an intervention for Raffy.
When Raffy had another seizure at school, Ryder organised a Purple Day with Maggie’s agreement to educate people about epilepsy. Raffy felt ill and admitted to Ryder that Mason had been giving her cannabis oil and she had taken an extra dose. Ryder helped convince Mason to continue with the secret trial. Colby encouraged Ryder and Raffy to spend time with Bella. When someone graffited Simone’s office door with “HOMEWRECKER” and Raffy was suspected, Ryder realised it was Bella and convinced her to own up. He correctly guessed she had done it to impress Raffy and joined the two girls in cleaning up the graffiti.
He was somewhat bemused to learn Leah and Justin were together and initially impressed that Bella had set off the fire alarm and got them out of an afternoon at school until he learned it had led to Raffy missing a meeting to help with her homework. He kept Bella busy so Raffy could work on an assignment without distractions and helped Bella with a photography assignment. After Raffy was taken off the oil, Ryder found her unconscious after a seizure and helped get her to hospital. On her 16th birthday, he presented her with a poem which she was rather underwhelmed by, then showed her her real present: He had arranged a visit from Coco.
He was left running the juice bar on his own while John was away and was annoyed that John kept objecting to the promotions he came up with. He had to work an extra shift when he was meant to be doing an English assignment and was frustrated when John didn’t even pay him for the overtime although it was quickly corrected. He clashed with Roo when he worked an extra shift instead of handing in his assignment on time and she told him he couldn’t work at the juice bar until after his HSC. He struggled to get down to work despite pep-talks from Raffy, Bella and Maggie and while he ended up doing a good job he lost 40% of the mark for handing it in four days late. He told Roo he wanted his HSC but didn’t want to go to uni and was offered a job at Salt by Mackenzie.
Although Roo opposed the idea, Ryder began studying to get his RSA, leading to an argument with Roo, although Alf supported him. When John didn’t give him enough shifts, he resigned and took the job with Mackenzie, although he struggled during his first shift. He soon improved but neglected Raffy, since he had to turn her away from Salt for being too young. He was also uncomfortable when she took a job at the juice bar to be near him while he began flirting with older customers and got one of their number. Realising they were drifting apart, he broke up with her. Alf advised him not to cut off ties with her and he suggested they could still be friends.
He had his first test of responsibility when he had to cut a drunk Ben off and confiscate his car keys. He and Raffy had already arranged to do an assignment together and got on well at first, but when Raffy tried to kiss him and he pulled away, she declared they couldn’t be friends. After making disastrous attempts to do their own separate projects, they eventually worked together although their friendship remained over. He was concerned when she missed a maths exam, which no-one would explain: When he learned her CBD trial had been cancelled and she was taking her exams separately, he realised how far out of the loop he was. He organised a party at the caravan park to celebrate the end of HSC trials and invited Bella along. Alf and Roo agreed if there was no alcohol but his friends Blake Golan and Tyler expected it, so he got some from Salt. He failed to stop Bella drinking heavily so sent Alf and Roo to shut down the party while he sneaked her into his room. He intended to sober her up but she quickly fell asleep in his bed. He spent the night in a chair watching over her but still had to convince Colby and Dean he had behaved honourably.
Colby asked him for help in getting Bella back to school and Bella admitted to him she had been assaulted by a man she met on the internet. His overtures to Raffy continued to be rejected but eventually they spoke and cleared the air. They then worked together to get Bella to return to school, although Ryder kept what had happened to her secret from Raffy. Roo tagged along on a driving lesson to pester him about uni, distracting him so much he didn’t realise he was out of petrol, and he agreed to do a hospitality course at TAFE. He was disappointed when Raffy left for Victoria for a new medical trial. He started taking surfing lessons with Dean and obsessing over a second hand car he saw for sale. Alf ended up buying it for him, saying Justin would fix it up and he could have it once exams were finished.
Blake told him of a plan to cheat at exams by swapping papers, wanting Ryder to be the Modern History expert. When Blake’s initial attempt at the plan resulted in friends Josh and Tyler being caught, he came up with a plan to drug the exam supervisor so they wouldn’t notice. Ryder refused to take part but Blake intended to go ahead with someone else. Ryder knocked the drugged water bottle out of Maggie’s hand before she could drink it and was sent out of the exam. Maggie told him he would be barred from his last exam and fail his HSC if he didn’t give a proper explanation. He was left torn on learning Blake’s father had hit him for messing up the exam but, after taking advice from John, told Maggie the truth. Although Blake accepted he’d done the right thing, he was left with very mixed feelings as Blake was arrested.
He tried to get Ziggy to work on his car while Justin was away, then comforted a lonely Marilyn, calling John for her. He spent time with Jade Lennox, who was staying at the caravan park, when they both had a surf lesson with Dean and helped her get a job at Salt. They began going out clubbing together and shared a kiss after a shift at Salt. Despite this, he backed off when she suggested going to her van. After a picnic on the beach however, he was happy to make plans to meet her there but was confused to turn up and find the van empty. After learning Roo had spoken to her, he ignored Roo’s warning that Jade had been rude to her and spent the night with Jade, losing his virginity. He clashed with Roo afterwards, with her chiding him for staying out all night, but they called an uneasy truce.
Ryder saw Jade steal $50 from Salt: He replaced the money himself and then tried to question her about it. They spent the night together but when he tried to question her again next morning, she threw him out of her van. Martha suggested he find her side of the story and Jade told him she’d been sending money home to her mother and sister: Ryder arranged to cover her rent in order to give her some breathing room. However, he realised Jade was still stealing and insisted she had to come clean to Mackenzie. When she didn’t, he told Mackenzie himself, resulting in Jade being arrested. Jade told him she forgave him and they slept together, but she recorded the session and then uploaded it to the internet, claiming Ryder had done it without her consent. Ryder gave Colby his phone to try and clear his name, only for it to turn out the video had been uploaded to his account from it after he left Jade alone with it. The news he had done well at the HSC failed to improve his mood: Against advice, he twice confronted Jade and ran away when Colby approached him. He was charged and left dispirited when Bella refused to believe he was innocent and he was sacked from Salt.
Ryder tried to keep what was happening from Alf and Martha when they returned to town. Jade provoked him on the beach and filmed his response, then acted the victim in front of town newcomer Nikau Parata. Ryder tried to warn Nikau off Jade but only received a punch in response and admitted what was going on to Alf. Alf convinced him to get a lawyer and also asked him to be best man when he remarried Martha. Shortly after the service, Nikau gave him Jade’s phone which contained videos of several other guys. He gave the phone to Colby and convinced Nikau to make a statement backing him up, resulting in the charges being dropped. Mackenzie reinstated him and he had further good news when Justin and Ben delivered his completed car.
Mackenzie asked him to cover for the fact she was on a blind date, although he immediately caved when Dean questioned him. He then had to summon Dean and Colby for help when the blind date, Jason, threatened her. Bella confided in him about taking an overdose and he insisted she had to see a counsellor. He soon found himself a third wheel around Bella and Nikau. After initially encouraging them, he began to worry that Nikau might upset Bella if he didn’t know her history, especially when he found out Bella was skipping counselling sessions. Against Roo’s advice, he told Nikau about Bella being groomed. Bella was upset when she found out, telling Ryder it was up to her whether she told him or not. When Nikau revealed Bella had told him she liked him, Ryder managed to get the pair together. However, he had cause to doubt it had been a good idea when he found Bella had self-harmed after trying to sleep with Nikau, blaming him for not taking care of her. John stepped in and took Ryder to clean up the flat while Bella was in hospital. Ryder managed to speak to Bella before she was sent to an equine therapy centre and John convinced him and Nikau to make up.
He passed his driving test and was immediately roped in to taking Nikau to visit his uncle Tane in the city. He admitted to Tane that the Pararas had had a hard time settling into the Bay and had to field awkward questions from Ari. After missing calls from Quinn all day, he was shocked to meet Evan Slater, his father, who had got his address from her. Ryder decided he wanted nothing to do with him but on seeing him at the bus stop, took him for a coffee and a chat. However, he was frustrated when, instead of leaving, Evan promptly decided to stay in town and rent a caravan. This feeling increased when Evan began hanging around Salt, making small talk while refusing to tell Ryder anything about himself, and Ryder even called in sick to avoid him. However, he began to soften when Evan talked to him about living with regret.
When Alf returned, Ryder quickly arranged a lunch with Alf, Martha, Roo and Evan and was pleased when Alf and Evan got on. However, Roo then told him that Evan was dying from mesothelioma. Ryder told her and Alf not to let Evan knew he knew, then decided to arrange for Evan to do a gig at Salt so he could see him in his element, claiming it was for a TAFE project. He confided in Bella on her return and was moved to hear Evan singing a song he’d written when Ryder was born. Ryder admitted the truth to Evan and found the gig had left him in such a bad state that he had to go to hospital to get his lungs drained. Evan admitted he was end stage but Ryder refused to let him leave town, insisting he stay at the house. He tried to get Evan to teach him guitar but Evan was reluctant to let Ryder see him at his worst. Ryder initially refused to listen to Evan wanting to leave town but was eventually forced to accept it on condition Roo went with him.