- Linda Benson
Age - 62
Hometown - Encinitas,
Sponsors - Hawaiian
Stance - Regular
– 9' / 8'6" / 7'10" / 5'10"
- all boards shaped by Donald
- 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,
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
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
Interview | 1
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