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Surf photos by Simone Reddingius, 1980s surfer girls

Simone Reddingius, surf photos of women and surf culture in the 1980s

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Kim Mearig photo by Simone Reddingius

Eighties Ladies: A Special 1980's Photo Feature by Simone Reddingius
JettyGirl Art, Photography & Culture

Simone Reddingius



"She's an awesome photographer. Great timing shooting surfing I always thought. I think because she was an accomplished surfer herself, she knew exactly what the surfers were setting up to do."

-Kim Mearig
1983 ASP World Champion




Having discovered surfing in 1980 or so, I had my share of childhood surfing heroes ...Cheyne Horan, Tom Curren, Martin Potter and Tom Carroll to name a few. Each wall of my room was decorated with photos of my favorite surfers ...all of them cut out from Surfer, Surfing and Breakout Magazines. Unlike most of my peers though, I was also fond of women's surfing. Across from my Cheyne Horan and Tom Curren walls and right to the left of my Cheryl Ladd poster was the Kim Mearig section of my room, buoyed by an autographed black and white 8x10 photo of Kim that I received at the old Huntington Surf Theatre.

Fast forward about three decades...

While perusing Facebook one afternoon, I came across the most incredible collection of early 80's surf photos by Simone Reddingius. Everyone was present...Cheyne, Pottz, both TC's and a whole bunch incredible women from one of the most unique and colorful eras in modern surfing. 4X ASP World Champ Frieda Zamba, 1983 ASP World Champ Kim Mearig, Jorja and Jolene Smith, Alisa Schwarzstein, Tricia Gill, Rell Sunn, Liz Benavidez, Jodie Cooper, 1990 ASP World Champ Pam Burridge, 1982 ASP World Champ Debbie Beacham and a host of 70's legends...all presented in glorious Kodachrome color.

This photo gallery represents a tiny portion of Simone's vast photo archive and she generously granted us permission to share these images with you. Enjoy this slice of women's surf history and when you have a few free moments, please visit Simone's flickr page: --Chris Grant

A few words from Simone's photo subjects...

Kim Mearig
"I traveled to quite a few WISA events with Simone in the early 80's. She's hilarious, and I don't think she knows it, or tries to be. She says these one liners with a straight face. Kind of a dry sense of humor. That's what I remember most about Simone, fun to hang out with. And she's an awesome photographer. Great timing shooting surfing I always thought. I think because she was an accomplished surfer herself, she knew exactly what the surfers were setting up to do."

Alisa Schwarzstein Cairns
"I used to surf with Simone at the WISA contests and also on some of my many trips up to Santa Barbara. She would often come down south with Kim Mearig who was my travel partner so I saw her fair bit. Simone was always super nice to surf and hang out with and then she got into surf photography and was basically the only woman surfer to get into shooting surf photos. I think Flame took her under his wing and helped her out and it was really cool when she starting getting published. Her Facebook photos bring back a lot of fun memories of surfing contests in the 80's.

About Simone Reddingius

Simone Reddingius was born in Curacao, West Indies and moved to California in 1964. She grew up in Temple City, CA. Her parents would take her camping along the beach and it was there that she dreamed of being a surfer. At her high school library was one copy of a surf magazine that she confiscated and kept close to her side. 

One day, Simone's mother came home with an old Wardy longboard that she bought at a yardsale for a dollar. It didn't have a fin, but Simone was stoked.

While on a camping trip in Carpinteria, Simone met lifeguard Denny Aaberg who taught her how to surf.

After graduating high school, Simone moved to Santa Barbara where she was really able to live her dream and become a full time surfer. Simone's older brother gave her his old camera, a Minolta SRT 101 with a telephoto lens. She was often torn between surfing first or taking pictures first. A job at a camera store allowed her to buy some new  equipment and get a nice Nikon camera, a motordrive and a Century 650mm lens. As she honed her skills, Simone submitted her work to Surfing and Surfer magazines and was published several times over the years.

Simone moved to Maui in 1993 and has been upgrading her film equipment to digital. Among the things she loves to photograph are the beautiful winter waves and breathtaking sunsets. She is also experimenting with an old Nikonos underwater film camera.

Her work can be viewed on her flickr website:


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Simone Reddingius





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