At eleven, I decided I was going to be a professional surfer. Until that point, I was going to be the first female Major League Baseball player. While, after two seasons in little league, I felt confident I was on my way to the pro’s, I was coming to see that the gender barrier was going to be a real challenge. I became increasingly doubtful that I possessed the perseverance needed to start such a revolution. I’d reached the double digits; I had to start thinking more realistically. With newfound maturity, I chose professional surfing.
My plans were launched after my dad signed me up for an all women’s longboard contest at Malibu. He was thrilled at the prospect of me surfing the notoriously crowded wave with just a couple other girls. I protested sincerely, as I’d only started standing up on a board a year earlier, but in his excitement he forgot to notice. I lost both heats convincingly but I did snag a couple of set waves during a really fine day at First Point.
Just call me Anne Marie Chadwick.
My brother (far left) in his super grom days.
The contest, and with it the possibility of others like it, had an affect on both of my parents. My dad, a devout surfboard shaper theorist, realized the contests could be his shot at introducing the mainstream surf world to his revolutionary board design. He felt sure his unique fin setup would take the world by storm if only he could get word out. My brother and I, indebted to him for being granted entrance into the world’s most coveted subculture, became Wojcik team-riders before we knew what hit us.
My mom, the California Girl, wanted to be sure our small collection of life experiences weren’t relegated to the derelict backroads of far northern California. This was a chance for us to see the world. Or at least Southern California.
And so my parents spent money they surely didn’t have on schlepping us up and down the state of California competing in a very amateur, family-friendly contest circuit. In the end, I think the people of southern California learned a lot more from us than we did from them. They learned that all surfboards do not look the same, that there’s really no limit to the number of boards that can be stacked atop a ’89 Buick town car, and that while house cats don’t prefer to travel in cars they will if you’re persistent enough.
It’s safe to say I did not become a professional surfer. While the thought of having a solid career plan does sound novel, appealing even, I can’t say the life of a professional athlete was ever for me. After listening to hundreds of inane and tedious interviews with surfing’s professionals, I am thankful that during my formative grammar years my brain was not spent, exclusively anyways, baking in the sun.