Tuesday, August 21, 2012

HISTORY: Phyllis Dameron

HISTORY: Phyllis Dameron

  Back in the late 1970's, women's bodyboarding pioneer Phyllis Dameron was the first person, man or woman, to charge Waimea Bay on a bodyboard (North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii).  There is not a lot of information about Phyllis Dameron readily available these days...a couple of sentences on Wikipedia, a short video clip in the 'Style Masters' surfing DVD, and this short clip from the Encyclopedia of Surfing Facebook page:


  Hopefully, more information about the early history of bodyboarding including such pioneers as Phyllis will become more accessible in the near future.  For now, this little piece of bodyboarding history can serve as a starting point.  If this has stoked your curiosity, even just a little, by all means I encourage you to dig deeper and find out more!  As much as I like to think I know a decent amount regarding the history of our sport, even I am still constantly learning more and finding little pieces of the puzzle that make up bodyboarding's storied past.  Happy history hunting!


  1. She's still bodyboarding in Hawaii to this day!

  2. Fearless Phyllis Dameron by Carol Phillips
    Bodyboarding July 1991

    Phyllis moved to Honolulu while an infant. She learned to ride waves on a rubber mat at Makapuu, before boogie boards were invented, and went on to challenge the North Shore and become the first woman to tackle Sunset on a bodyboard (1978), not long after Jack Lindholm started making history at Pipe.

    Her father who she credits as being instrumental and supportive in the earlier years, often assembled Morey Boogie kits for her, and together they experimented with design elements, such as putting weights in her board to help her get down the face of giant, windswept waves. She also cut holes in the deck of her boards to enable her to hold better.

    A true soul surfer, never entering contest or reeling in a sponsor, Phyllis surfs for the pure joy of experiencing the raw power and beauty of one of nature’s greatest gifts. She was among the first to bodyboard Waimea Bay and can still be seen catching air, dropping into the 20ft+ monsters that the bay serves up a few times a year.

    I first met Phyllis in 1984 on the west peak of Sunset. It was about an 8 foot day and I was scared out of my mind. I remember her telling me to “go for it”-her personal credo.

    With hair down to her waist and a figure that shows the benefits of over 15 years of kicking her way through huge surf, Phyllis broke all the stereotypes of the typical surfer girl. Just watching her ride Waimea gave me the courage I needed to take off.