Whole LOTA Love

Gina Monetti

My dad took me surfing when I was three. My mom took us to the beach whenever she had a chance. I grew up watching the old surfer movies. I wanted to ride those really big waves like on the movies. I never ended up riding the big waves. They scare me. But I did win the 1986 US Surfing Nationals for Bodyboarding. I went to my first bodyboarding contest right after I got married and won first prize. I thought, “Oh, this is fun.” So, I got a better board and got better at it. For the next year, every contest I competed in, I won. It was great! That year I won the Morey Boogie Nationals for Women Amateurs. The next year in 1986, I won the US Nationals. I got sponsored. They helped pay for me to go to Hawaii and travel to other places to compete. I competed for almost 12 years. I was West Coast champion 5 times and US Champion twice. It was really special. Mostly I did it because it was fun. It was an excuse to go to the beach all day long--all weekend long--and hang out with my friends. They were going to take bodyboarding out of the US Surfing Federation, but I fought hard to keep the sport. There were some newspaper articles about our protest. We won! Several years later, I started a woman’s bodyboarding club. In that time, I had my daughter and she became our mascot. I then began writing for Bodyboarding Magazine and became the Senior Editor for Bodyboarder International Magazine. When my daughter was 5 and she started on the swim team, I stopped competing. I was busy with her swim meets and my friends weren’t bodyboarding anymore. Then I got breast cancer. That was 9 years ago. When I was going through chemo I felt miserable. To put the wetsuit on was exhausting. But the second I got in the water, I felt completely normal. I don’t know if it was the negative ions--science has shown that these oxygen rich ions have a positive effect on the human body--but the ocean made me feel really good. The ocean is a gift. God put it there. It’s Jesus, Family, Surfing and OTA.