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linda benson cardiff noseride, surf photography by chris grant, jettygirlsurf photography by chris grant

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linda benson, jettygirl for september 2006 linda benson surf photo gallery linda benson surf video clips

Name - Linda Benson
Age - 62
Hometown - Encinitas, CA
Sponsors - Hawaiian Pro Designs
Stance - Regular
Surfboards/Shapers – 9' / 8'6" / 7'10" / 5'10" - all boards shaped by Donald Takayama
Career Highlights - 1959 World Champion, US Champion 1959/1960/1961/1964/1968, 1992 Inductee Surfing's International Hall of Fame, 1994 Inductee Surf Walk of Fame, first woman to surf Waimea Bay.

Linda Benson Story & Interview conducted by Prue Jeffries in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California

linda benson surf video clipLinda Benson is the first lady of surfing. I say this, not so much because of her impressive list of titles, a World amongst them. I do not say this because of her fearless accomplishment of being the first woman to surf Waimea (and being only fifteen years old at the time). Linda, The Pioneer, The Champion, The Warrior—they are all part of Linda’s diminutive frame. That frame that not only houses a heart of a lion, but one of gold too. Linda is the first lady of surfing because of her selfless compulsion to further the cause for the generations after her. She is a leader and torchbearer. Linda has pioneered, once again; in being the most crucial person to navigate the start of a women's world longboarding tour. I had the very special honor of interviewing Linda and truly learning some history as well as true insight into the spirit of an individual whose main motivation is service to the world.

Prue Jeffries: When and where was the first time you stood on a surfboard?
Linda Benson: The first time was at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. My brother surfed with his friends and I used to retrieve their boards. Finally, one of them let me try it and I was hooked...like we all get. (smiles)

PJ: What did your parents think about you, when you first started surfing?
LB: Well, what many people in this community did, was to go to Moonlight Beach in the summer. My shoes came off in June and didn't come back on until September, unless I had too dress up for something. We had an awesome paradise down there—completely different. We had lifeguards, so I went down and rode the surf mats. Then, when I wanted to get into surfing, I talked to my parents and they really were not sure. I was down (at the beach) with a bunch of guys and they were older and my parents...well, they were not sure. Then, I am surfing on this big heavy thing. So they went down and talked to the lifeguard, he said, “No, she is pretty good”. So then I could be down at the beach from 10 am to 6 pm as long as the lifeguards were on duty and that was exactly when I was down there. I loved the beach, I felt like it just called my spirit. I mean, I didn't have a choice. I didn't want a choice. That is where I wanted to be, wanted to be at the beach.

So then when I kind of started surfing in the winter, my parents weren't sure about that...at Swami's with a bunch of guys from La Jolla that were known to be rowdy. But the guys from around here had a couple of other women and took really great care of us. My parents, sure, they worried a little bit. I thanked them, when I remembered too, for having the trust in me to let me do that and to let me be down there. I mean just being able to do that, I feel was so lucky. Just to have that, to go to the beach as a kid, was pretty special. So I thanked my parents quite a bit. (grin)

PJ: When you were at school did you draw waves?
LB: Yeah, we doodled and we ditched. In winter we surfed Swami's. We wouldn't have the wherewithal to get to other places. Then of course the Vice Principal would come down with binoculars and stand at the top of the stairs and bust us as we came up the stairs. We didn't do it too often, but same as today. If it is October and there's a bit of a Santa Ana, a great swell, the temptation was too much. We were 'outa there.

PJ: The last few years you've been responsible for launching events like the Women's World Longboard Championships and now the Linda Benson Pro coming up later this month. With the growing popularity of these events, do you think there’s the possibility of a full-fledged women's longboarding tour in the future?
LB: Yes. Well, I think the longboarding tour is starting already. I think with Roxy coming on board, this is their goal. I know it is Randy Hild's, VP of Quiksilver's goal. Really, considering it is just starting, it is starting off with a bang. Biarritz (The Women’s World Longboard Championship) was a huge success. They ( Roxy) just made everything extra specially good and they are doing the same with Cardiff. They do have plans for a pro tour, for the women longboarders and it will just be revealed as it unfolds. It is definitely really starting and it is a wonderful time for women longboarders.


Linda Benson Interview | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |        


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