Surf Over to Surf Diva

If everybody had an ocean across the USA/
Then everybody'd be surfin' like California/
All over La Jolla at Wiamea Bay/
Everybody's gone surfin- Surfin' USA/

I pushed hard on the large button of my ghetto blaster as it clunked the cassette tape on to my beach motif bed comforter. It was the year 1983 and I was decked out in the hand-sewn, self-designed shirt and jams imprinted with palm trees and surfboards. Funny, now that I think about it but I had used the same fabric for the bedding and my clothes. So it was hard to know where I began and where the bed ended. Wow! Was I tacky or what? Talented but tacky!

Being a natural born artist and dreamer, my creations expressed my deep longing to live anywhere, just anywhere in the world but Small Town, USA. Landlocked forever with not a wave of water in sight. As far from the ocean as you could possibly get in a small, no, minute; scratch that, molecular town with a population of 800 and decreasing. Known for its chicken farms, chicken processing plants, and the prized dog food plant.

No, I'm not knocking my hometown; it's just that I had bigger aspirations. Reading books and writing in journals took me to faraway places with so many adventures but reality kept me landlocked. I wasn't happy with just the idea of graduating from high school, marrying a local boy, and raising children and chickens. I wanted so much more out of life.

Growing up in a small town and on a farm taught me many valuable skills and provided wonderful childhood memories and I wouldn't trade these for the world. But as the Beach Boys crooned out to Bar-bar-bar-bar-bar-Barbara Ann, I gazed up at the fake palm trees hanging overhead and dreamed once again of being a surfer girl in the California sun.

Now twenty-one years later, I'm totally stoked about heading out to southern California to catch a wave and soon I'll be sittin' on top of the world, as the lyrics of another song go!

Surfer's Pipeline"
Dude, the water's soooo totally hot today!" Some bushy, bushy blonde hairdo-ed surfer tells me as if I were a local or something. It's 6:30 in the morning and he's already finished surfing. What? Do people just get up and hit the waves before they go to work? Do they even go to work?

The morning is bitterly chilly and everyone is huddled in warm-ups over swimsuits, sipping hot coffee from the local's favorite before hitting-the-water hangout. I wrap my hands completely around my cup of Mexican Baja Java or something of that sort to keep my fingers warm.

The sun makes its break from the clouds and it's hotter than blazes! San Diego likes to tease. Each morning it looks like there will be a downpour like you've never seen and that the whole day will be ruined. But as usual, the sun makes its debut and viola! instant year 'round paradise! However, a word of warning for you. Once again, San Diego likes to tease its visitors. Don't let the hot sun fool you for it doesn't warm the Pacific Ocean. Trust me, I found out the hard way! On a previous trip, after traveling for hours to get to the coastline, I mad-dashed it and plunged in headfirst only to face the cruel reality that the water temperature was only in the '60s and not the '80s of the Atlantic and Caribbean that I'm used to.

Our driver Don from Beach Limo pulls up in his shiny-as-glass car right on time. They say not to judge a book by its cover and this is definitely true with Don. He looks like one of the lead characters in the movie, "The Godfather", but is as gentle as a teddy bear with a great sense of humor. My daughter Candy plays with the car's controls as Don patiently drives us to the shores of La Jolla.

Surf Diva is located a short walk from the beach. We hear the commotion of construction workers as they race to beat the deadline of Surf Diva's new expansion to the 2,000 square foot location just below their current boutique.

Diva 'Tude

Surf Diva boasts a line of WAY COOL! functional, and stylish, surf gear and wear. Rash guards, halter and boybeater tanks, board shorts, dresses, makeup, beach bags, bath and body products, photo albums — Phew! — just a tip of the iceberg in the line of items made to match the bright and beautiful Surf Diva surfboards.

"Izzy" and "Coco" love and live the California Dreamin' lifestyle that the world embraces. They believe that anyone can live this dream whether you surf like a diva or dress like one!

Surfing students from all over kept asking for clothing with the Surf Diva logo so with Coco's background in Branch Management for different clothing licensees and her extensive experience in sales and business development, she went straight to the drawing board to design what the students were craving. Her ideas are brewed up by looking at people and trying to pinpoint the next hot trend. Her staff and students yell out what they want too so she captures their inspiration in her designs.

What is a Surf Diva? Well, to be a diva you must have an undying passion to get in or near the water, possess a killer sense of style, and have the ability to have the most fun because GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN! Surf Diva's line embodies this spirit of the fun beach lifestyle while incorporating the female essence. But the best part about being a Surf Diva is that it doesn't matter where you live, how old you are, etc. What does matter is that you have the DIVA 'TUDE!

Surf for their gear by clicking the surfboard above

Surf Diva
2160 Avenida de la Playa
La Jolla, CA 92037
Ph: 858/454-8273
Fax: 858/454-8505 or

"Hey, check out that rash guard! I want that halter and board shorts."

Look at that boy beater tank. Man, its way cool!" Mother and daughter are now fighting like teenagers over who gets what. Surf Diva gear and wear are designed by Coco, who is co-owner (along with her twin sister Izzy) of Surf Diva, the World's First Surf School for females.

Candy and I wanted a school that had experience in working with females and Surf Diva has been doing so since 1966. Because surfing is such an intimidating sport, especially to those who don't live near an ocean, we wanted to be taught by women and girls who remember what it's like to be brand new. We also opt for the private lesson so that we could ask our dumb questions — in private.

Many of our "dumb" unasked questions were answered as the instructors cover the basics of surfing. Safety is the number one tenet kept in the back of your mind. Know when to hold or throw your board. Know who has top priority of the wave (the person closest to the breaking wave). Know what to do in rips. (Rips are waves that go straight out to sea.) Be sure to paddle parallel to the beach until you are safe.

But a lot of this we wouldn't face for we were learning in shallow water. However, it's always good to be in the know, you know? And most of all, they tell us, have fun. Surfing is all about having fun!

We're on the beee-uuuu-teee-fuuul velvet beach now and I think I've fallen into a Beach Boys song — everything they ever sang about is now alive and kicking here in this state. I'm shivering in my wetsuit with its "heat reflective lining between the rubber and inside jersey, made especially for surfing the cold waters of the Pacific". For a normal person, this would be plenty of protection and would keep him or her warm even in the water but I, for one, have never claimed to be normal. I decide that it's too miserably cold and instead of risking hypothermia, I'll just take pictures and notes.

We practice popping up. Popping up is what you do when you've caught a wave and you go from the paddling position, lying on the board, to the upright standing position. This was easy enough. On sand, anyway.

The swells are powerful and
coming in long lines.

"Are you sure you don't wanna go?" asks Candy who suddenly turns into the wahine of the century.

No, I've got a lot of recording to do. You go ahead and I'll get some great shots." I lied through my chattering teeth.

Both instructors go out with her. One takes her by the han, leading her straight into the surf, staying close to the beach. Most beginners go out too far, they tell me, and struggle because they are fighting the waves, the board, and trying to stay above water. It's easier to learn where you can still touch the ground and when you use the foam boards made for beginners, not the cool-looking fiberglass ones. Looking cool is not top priority when first learning.

They face the waves coming in and almost immediately a little set approaches. This wasn't what I imagined in my surfer girl dreams but it was a very ride-able curl peeling down the way. Candy throws herself on the board, feet lined up at the end, just slightly apart like she was instructed and started pumping her arms with all her might.

Paddle! Paddle! Paddle!" I'm hooting and cheering her on. "There ya go! All right. Now pop up! Pop up!" My heart is thumping!

She didn't pop up. She popped down. Cupping her mouth with both hands, Candy explodes out of the water with much laughter. You could tell from the instructors' faces that they were just as excited as she was!

Surf Diva is the
inspiration for the
surf movie . . .

"Mommy, you've gotta try it! It's so much fun. C'mon!" Candy was totally stoked!

Is it cold?"

It's frreeeezing but you forget about it. C'mon!"

Naah, you go ahead. I'll just keep taking some great shots."

She continues on. After several tries and much paddling, paddling, paddling, Candy is able to pop up on and ride the wave all the way in on her knees and gracefully comes to a stand still on the beach. Knowing how competitive I am, she gives it her best sales pitch. "If you're afraid, I'll go with you. I'll hold your hand."

Okay, that does it! I'm NOT afraid, you heathen child. I'm just cold! I told her men tally but maybe I was a little afraid. Regardless. The athlete in me just wouldn't rest until I could prove to her that I wasn't afraid.

Give me that board!" I demanded and barged into the water, ready to hit it hard for all it's worth. Man, it's bitter, frigid Arctic-blasted cold out here, I thought to myself.

The perfect wave found me. I didn't find it. I threw myself on the board and oh, what speed! What fun!

Dive on In"Paddle! Paddle! Paddle!" Candy and the instructors cheer me on and I could see all three jumping up and down on the beach.

Suddenly, I do a perfect pop up, completely surprising myself. I'm up on my feet with one rather very bent knee but I'm up and I'm riding all the way in. I've caught a wave and I'm sittin' on top of the world!

andy throws her arms around me. "How did you do that, Mommy? How did you get up on your first try? I tried and tried but you just got right up? How did you do it?"

I wipe my eyes and nose and lick the salty water that was dripping down my face, smile, and say: "I told you, I'm not afraid to surf. I was just cold!"

Surf Diva's professional
means surfing success

Regardless of your age and experience (or lack of) and if you dream of being a Surf Diva, be sure to join Izzy, Coco, and their 27-plus certified, experienced staff, and all well-versed in the subject of oceanography. Every Surf Diva instructor is just as passionate about surfing — not only as a sport and a hobby but as a lifestyle. Surf Diva founder Izzy started surfing when she was a wee eight years old.

River Running Water ShoesFrom competitive coaching to lessons for the beginner, Surf Diva offers it all. Since 1966, Surf Diva has built a solid reputation of professional, educated, and passionate surfing instructors. Their team boasts individuals with sideline careers such as firefighters, paramedics, nurses, teachers, lawyers and snowboarders. They offer private lessons, a classes, special events, surf camps (to Mexico even!), competitive coaching, you name it! There are exceptional events for Girls Scouts, boarding schools, corporate and team events. Guys are welcome in some classes too! There's just so much to list. You gotta check out their website at, watch a video, listen to music, and to see it all for yourself!

Watch a surf video? - naaah, you gotta just get in the water.

Feature and photos by Lena Hunt Mabra, Kansas City Correspondent.

Surf Diva: A Girl's Guide to Getting Good Waves

Surf Diva: A Girl's Guide to Getting Good Waves

Read the book from the girls that show the boys how the girls surf.

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