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Do You Love Me, Do You Surfer Girl?

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Sorry for this non-musical, but close to my heart story.

Female surfers ride a wave of interest

Thu Mar 17, 6:14 AM ET Entertainment - USATODAY.com

By Carol Memmott, USA TODAY

Cowabunga! Bookstores are catching a wave of books about surfing, all aimed at one of the fastest-growing demographics in the sport: girls.

Already in the pipeline: Surf Diva: A Girl's Guide to Getting Good Waves by Izzy Tihanyi and Coco Tihanyi (Harvest, $14). Diva is a how-to/lifestyle book filled with advice from seasoned surfers, surf writers and surf instructors. It includes tips on how to stay safe, protect the ocean and find the best equipment.

In 1996, the twin Tihanyi sisters started what they say is the world's first surfing school for women and girls, the Surf Diva Surf School in La Jolla, Calif. Their 50 instructors have taught thousands of girls and women ages 5 to 70 to surf.

"It used to be that you were a freak if you were a girl and surfed. Now it's really cool to be on a surfboard," says Izzy, whose father took her and Coco out on a surfboard when they were 3 years old. "Our motto is 'live the dream.' It doesn't matter if you're landlocked or not. Being a surf diva is an attitude - enjoying life, giving yourself challenges, having dreams and following those dreams."

"If you can handle what the ocean does to you," she says, "you're not going to care what the school bully throws your way."

Other similarly themed books in stores or coming soon:

?Surf's Up: The Girl's Guide to Surfing (Ballantine, $14.95) by veteran Australian surfer Louise Southerden.

?Surf like a Girl: The Surfer Girl's Ultimate Guide to Paddling Out, Catching a Wave, and Surfing with Aloha (Three Rivers Press, $11) by surfer/Los Angeles-based film executive Rebecca Heller.

?The Girl's Guide to Surfing (Chronicle, $14.95) by Andrea McCloud, who wrote her book while on an eight-month surf safari, due in April.

The books are about more than how to find a cute bikini that won't fall off when you "get worked" in the water - although they do address the issue.

There's technical advice on how to buy a board, what kind of wet suit to buy, where to go for the world's best surfing, how to catch a wave, and surfer etiquette.

Along the way, they touch on the history of surfing and its infusion into pop culture through such milestones as the 1959 movie Gidget starring Sandra Dee (news), the 1965 TV series Gidget, starring Sally Field (news), the 2002 film Blue Crush about a young woman's quest to win the Pipeline Masters, and MTV's 2003 reality series Surf Girls, in which 14 girls competed for pro status.

"Surfing is something you can share with your girlfriends, and that's what really makes it fun," says Izzy.

Bottom line: "Don't let the boys have all the fun."


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