Wave Woman: A look into the inspiring life of one of the first female competitive surfers
1) For those who haven’t read the book, tell us a little about it and yourself.
Wave Woman is about a woman named Betty Pembroke who grew up in Salt Lake City, the granddaughter of Mormon pioneers recruited by Brigham Young. From a young age she was a competitive athlete. After her father lost his fortune in the 1929 stock market crash she followed her parents to Santa Monica where she entered the rough water swims doing so well she was recruited to train at the Los Angeles Athletic Club for the 1936 Olympics. Meanwhile she took up flying lessons and crashed a glider which ended her Olympic dreams. After eloping with my father and enduring a twenty-two year marriage she broke out and moved to Hawaii. She took up surfing at age forty-one when I was sixteen and we surfed together. Betty took second place in the first big surfing contest-The Makaha International and was on the first Hawaiian surfing team invited to Lima Peru where she won first place. After I won Makaha in 1957 we were invited to Lima to interest the women in surfing.
2) When you wrote the book, what was the motivation behind telling Betty and your story, what did you hope to impart to the reader?
My mother lived a creative, inspirational and adventurous life. She believed anything exciting was worth trying at least once. She looked within for her strength and answers, believed in herself, and thought it was never too late to follow a dream. In later life she told her granddaughter that half the fun in life was getting out of any mistakes you make along the way. Betty had a philosophical outlook on aging-when one door closed she would open another.
In later life she told her granddaughter that half the fun in life was getting out of any mistakes you make along the way.
3) What advice would Betty give to other women worried about taking a leap, ie. a big move, starting surfing? What advice would you give?
Betty was a firm believer that women needed a career or profession in order to be independent if need be. She was a woman of few words and big on action. Find your strength within and believe in yourself and follow your dreams
4) What is the definition of stoke for you? High excitement, passion and joy for a sport and/or life.
We had a lot of stoke during our surfing days and I think that continued into life projects.
5) How did you and Betty overcome surfing setbacks, such as scary events or tragedies?
We figured they were just part of the sport and we never let them stop us from what we wanted to do.
6) What is it about the ocean that draws you in? What was it for Betty?
We were lucky enough to surf in Hawaii where the water is warm and clear with a comfortable air temperature in the beautiful tropics. It was a time when only a few of us surfed so there were plenty of waves for everyone. It was a chance to experience nature at it’s best. Surfing made us strong physically and intern mentally. We loved the challenge of improving our surfing skills and catching a bigger better wave.
7) Where is your favorite break now? Where is your favorite place to travel for surf?
My favorite break was Makaha because that is where I grew up surfing. Unfortunately I do not surf now.
8) Hawaii has changed a lot since you lived there, in what ways has it stayed the same?
Hawaii is a magical place with the music, the dance, the flowers and the Hawaiian culture. Development is very sad, but cannot steal the real essence.
Buy it now on Amazon: Wave Woman: The Life and Struggles of a Surfing Pioneer