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Girls Now Integral to Surfing

High schools: They are tough competitors, not merely spectators.


When Bill Garland started the surf club at Huntington Beach High in 1967, the only girls involved were those who watched the guys have all the fun.

"Back then, I didn't even think about the fact no girls joined the club," Garland said. "Girls weren't exactly rushing to pick up the surfboard. It was a different time, not like today. I think it's great that girls are taking up the sport."

Andy Verdone, Huntington Beach's current coach, said seven girls are enrolled in his class.

"I have one girl, Alison Arvizu, who is the most intense [girl] surfer I've ever had," Verdone said. "I thought no one would ever take the place of Nea Post, who was also intense, but Alison, she's a competitor."

Last year, Arvizu finished third at the National Scholastic Surfing Assn. individual championships. This year, as a senior, she is determined to do better.

"I can't tell you how much I want to win," said Arvizu, who will attend Iowa State on a tennis scholarship this fall. "I have been working hard and I want to finish my high school career with a win."

Post, who attended Huntington Beach from 1986 to 1990, won three NSSA titles, in the explorer, open and high school divisions. She was also a U.S. Surfing Federation national high school champion in 1988.

Post turned professional at 18 but was never able to crack the top 10, calling it quits a couple years ago. She has recently married and is graduating from UC Irvine with a degree in chemistry. She is applying to medical school.

"I started surfing with the Huntington Beach team when I was in seventh grade," Post said. "There wasn't a surf team for girls at my junior high, so Verdone let me surf with his team. I think there were about 10 girls, but some of them weren't really into it. They would come to practice, then not show up [for meets]."

Post says the sport has a lot to offer girls.

"I loved competing," she said. "There's something about it that makes you want to do your best. I think it helped also in my academic life, which is also very competitive."

San Clemente Coach Bill Hartman said he has a record 17 girls enrolled in his class this year.

"The girls that come out for surfing are very determined," he said. "They want to learn. It's not fun and games for them. They're here at 6:30 in the morning and it doesn't matter what the conditions are like."

Edison Coach Zoran Forgiarini said although the boys' skill levels are generally better, the girls are eager to improve.

"As far as the level of skill, that's just because many of these guys have been doing it for so long," Forgiarini said. "But it's changing. And this last season, I had a record number [eight] of girls who came out for the team."

Post agreed the girls have a ways to go to catch up with the boys.

"It has nothing to do with sexism. The boys are better than the girls because they have been doing it a lot longer," she said. "They also seem to have qualities about the way they surf that girls don't have. Guys are aggressive on the waves. It's just a fact."

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