Ryder Jackson (2017-present)
Parent: Quinn Jackson
Occupation: Student, Juice Bar Server
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.