Born in Hawaii, Alani Ryan quickly developed a talent for surfing. She is a student at the at the Xavier Institute, and has adopted the codename, Loa (named for a type of worm, which moves the same way she does when she uses her powers), and along with her fellow students, Anole, Rubbermaid, Kidogo, Network, and Indra, was assigned to Alpha Squadron, the training squad advised by former Alpha Flight member, Northstar. When Northstar was apparently killed by Wolverine, advising duties for Alpha Squadron were taken over by Karma. Of her classes at the Institute, she dislikes Chemistry the most and was voted "Most Laid Back" in the New X-Men: Academy X: Yearbook Special.
After the Decimation, Alani was one of the 27 students to retain her powers. She was also one of the students Emma Frost placed in the fateful all-out brawl that would determine who would become the new X-Men trainees, but lost. Before the fight, she was seen threatening to "crumble" Anole's tongue if he touched her with it. Despite this, Loa is close friends with Anole, as well as Rockslide. Recently, Anole encountered--and was subsequently beaten by--a mind-controlled Northstar, raiding the Institute. It is unknown if Loa or Indra know their former mentor is alive.
In issue #37, she is seen as one of the students listening to Blindfold's tale and is sucked down into Limbo along with many of the other supporting characters. After the students land on a rocky outcrop, they are soon attacked by a huge number of demons, and Loa is, for the first time, shown using her powers. A demon attempts to punch her in the stomach, and his hand goes straight through, but is sliced to ribbons on the other side. She then moves to protect Anole as Magik decides she needs to take one of their souls to make a new Soulsword. When Magik goes to confront Pixie, Alani jumps to attack her, but Magik blasts her to the ground with her powers.
She participated in the final fight against Belasco, survived, and is now back at the school with the rest of the students.
In the aftermath of Quest for Magik, and overcome with stress, Loa successfully initiated a physical relationship with Elixir. It's been confirmed in X-Force that they're romantically involved as well.