Phyllis Dameron: the fearless bodyboarder that ruled the 1970s in Hawaii

She liked to bounce over people in triple overhead surf, and she paddled out when most of the guys stayed on the beach.

Meet Phyllis Dameron, the fearless bodyboarder who ignited the North Shore of Oahu in the decade bodyboarding was born.

In the 1970s, when Oahu's Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach were pumping 20-foot-plus macking surf, there was always a female bodyboarder getting ready for the big ones.

And all she needed was her bikini and a boogie board.

Phyllis Dameron is a name that might not be familiar to readers, but she was the first woman to ride Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach on a bodyboard in 1978.

Dameron was born to Greek and German parents in Pasadena, California, and moved to Honolulu when she was still a kid.

At the age of three, she learned to ride waves on a rubber mat at Sandy Beach and Makapuu.

That was before Tom Morey introduced bodyboards to the world in July 1971.

Her athletic 5'9'' body was the result of a healthy diet and constant exercise. Phyllis loved tennis, racquetball, roller skating, bodysurfing, and dancing, too.

According to some sources, she customized her boards by cutting holes in the deck and adding wrist rope so that she could hold them better.

Phyllis Dameron: she customized her own bodyboards

A Fearless Wave Rider

Phyllis Dameron was a free surfer. She was never sponsored and never entered bodyboarding contests.

Her position on the bodyboard was unorthodox, but she was one of the most fearless boogie boarders in the history of the sport.

Dameron was always absolutely focused on her ride.

So focused that she wouldn't even notice she was dropping in on other surfers and putting their lives in jeopardy.

"I can't do that belly spin, off-the-lip stuff at Sunset because I've got to deal with surfboards," Phyllis Dameron once said.

"If you just stay in the wave on a bodyboard, you're too slow. It's just that simple. You've got to skip. Not so much bounce, really, as skip."

"You really get some mountainous chop at places like Sunset and Waimea, and you have to make that work for you. If you're skipping like a stone, you can land anywhere."

"And guys get intimidated by that. I'll go right over them, in the air if I have to, and it makes them nervous to see me flying around like that. The bigger the wave, the more you want to be airborne."

When asked why she loved bodyboarding in big wave conditions, she promptly answered: "The real excitement is in the bounce!"

Phyllis Dameron's craziest bodyboarding rides were included in the surf movie "Stylemasters."

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