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Overview (3)

Born in Encinitas, California, USA
Birth NameLinda Rae Benson
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Champion pioneering female surfer Linda Rae Benson was born on May 24, 1944 in Encinitas, California. Her father was a former drummer for Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra. Benson started surfing at age eleven and at age fifteen was the first woman to surf the legendary big waves at Waimea Bay in Hawaii. After mastering such basic surfing techniques as hanging five, walking the board, and performing multiple spins, Linda made her competitive debut in the 1959 West Coast Surfing Championship and won said contest. Benson went on to win the Makaha International contest in Hawaii a few weeks later. Linda's other notable contest wins include the United States Invitational in 1964, the West Coast Championship in both 1960 and 1961, and the United States Championship in both 1964 and 1968. Moreover, Benson not only was a runner-up in the 1964 World Championship and was the top female vote-getter in a 1965 reader's poll for Surfing Illustrated magazine, but also was the first female surfer to grace the cover of a surfing magazine after she was featured on the cover of a 1963 issue of Surf Guide.

Surfboard shaper Don Hansen built and sold a Linda Benson signature skateboard in the mid-1960's. In addition, Linda was Annette Funicello's surfing double for several "Beach Party" movies as well as Deborah Walley's surfing double for two "Gidget" films. Benson quit competitive surfing in 1969 and subsequently dropped out of surfing altogether. After several years spent struggling with alcoholism, Linda managed to surmount her drinking problems in 1977 and began to surf again in 1979. From 1966 to 2003 Benson worked as a flight attendant for United Airlines. She was inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame in 1997.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: woodyanders

Personal Quotes (2)

[on surfing the big waves at Waimea Bay in Hawaii] I don't remember fear. I just wanted to do what the guys did. I didn't think twice about it.
[on what surfing means to her] For me, it's self-expression -- it's how I express myself. Someone once said, years ago, that it's like we use the waves as our canvas and the board as our pen. This is our art. I've always believed and felt that. Surfing is a true inner art form of expression. Each wave is different and each one a different painting. I have been really lucky. I've gotten a lot of gifts through the years because of surfing, for which I'm very grateful of.

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