CANNON BEACH - In the immortal words of the Beach Boys, "Let's go surfin' now, everybody's learning how."
Well, maybe not everybody when it comes to the North Coast, but a group of 28 women had an opportunity to learn from the best last week in Cannon Beach.
Eleven-time U.S. Women's Surfing Champion Kim Hamrock hosted her third annual all-women's surf clinic, which took place under mostly sunny skies on Indian Beach for three days last week.
"It's soooo cold, but I figured if these women are hard-core enough to come out here and surf all the time, we can come up and freeze our butts off for a week," said Hamrock, the 2002 World Longboard Champion and a licensed instructor from Newport Beach, Calif.
GARY HENLEY - The Daily Astorian
Julie Nelson of Seaside, left, and Margeaux Hamrock, right, come ashore after a surfing lesson with 10-year-old Emily Thompson of Seattle.Mark Mekenas, owner of Cannon Beach Surf, brought Hamrock's surfing clinic to the North Coast three years ago.
"It took Mark eight months to get me to come up here the first year," said Hamrock, who conducted her Cannon Beach clinic in June for a change of pace.
"One year we did this in August and another year in July, so I thought it would be nice to come up in June," she said. "Then they can practice their skills all summer long, and not just at the end of summer, where they only have another month before it starts getting cold."
Indian Beach is Hamrock's favorite spot to surf in Oregon.
"This is the perfect beginner's spot," she said. "The waves can get very big up here. You don't get a lot of big surf in southern California. The average surf here is like the big surf there."
According to Hamrock, each one of her clinics held in Cannon Beach has grown in number of surfers.
"There's not nearly as many surfers as in California, but it's really impressive to see how many women surfers there are up here," she said.
"They've got to be more motivated. It's easy to grab a board and go out in your bathing suit in the nice warm water, but the water here is very, very cold, there's some real big fish, and the currents here are quite extreme.
"I couldn't imagine anyone up here going out without a wetsuit," said Hamrock, who goes by the name "Danger Woman."
At this year's clinic, surfers ranged in age from 10 to 59, with surfers coming from as far away as New Mexico and Boise, Idaho, just for the surfing class.
Some are beginners, some are surfing at advanced levels and want to learn more.
"We have forms that they fill out, and that lets us know what level they're at," Hamrock said. "How many years or months they've surfed, their ages ... generally they're all beginners."
This year's group was separated into age division, with different instructors working with each group.
GARY HENLEY - The Daily Astorian
Former U.S. Surfing Champion Kim Hamrock, right, offers a bit of advice before one of her pupils heads out into the water during last week's clinic near Cannon Beach."We have Sherri Crummer (54, current U.S. Women's Longboard Champion) - she works with some of the older girls; Marelle Yehuda (20, competes for the UC-San Diego club sports surf team) works with the surfers in the 20-to-30 age range; and we also have my 15-year-old daughter Margeaux and Julie Nelson (16) who's been training with us to give lessons. They're working with the 19-and-under group."
Margeaux Hamrock started surfing when she was "negative-nine months," said her mother. "She's been on a board ever since she could stand up."
Margeaux will appear later this year on the ABC Family Channel show called "Switched," about two teenagers who switch lives with each other for a week.
"(Margeaux) has a special surfing style - a really classic style," Kim said. "If she wasn't my daughter I'd be jealous. She's been instructing with me up here since she was 12. It really helps other little kids when they can see what she does. It motivates them."
Nelson - the same Julie Nelson who plays goalkeeper for the Seaside High School girls soccer team - learned to surf three years ago under soccer teammate and local surfing legend Micah Cerelli.
"She taught me how to surf - she's incredible," Nelson said. "We've been best friends since we were five, and we always surf together. We were up at Short Sands the other day."
Nelson works at Cannon Beach Surf, and that's how she came to be an instructor in Hamrock's clinic.
"I met Margeaux and Kim the first year, and we've just kept in touch since then," she said. "They had an instructor's camp Monday and Tuesday, and now they have me out here helping. It's amazing how many surfers they have out here this year."
Meanwhile, Hamrock specializes in private lessons in Newport Beach, teaching anyone from five to 65.
"I'm trying to retire (from competitive surfing)," said Hamrock, who will bring her clinic back to Cannon Beach next year. "But it's really good money. You can go and enter a contest and win thousands of dollars.
"I just pick and choose a few events. I'll surf any event at Malibu. I'll pay them to surf there.
"But my passion is teaching," she said. "I love it. The most important part of surfing is being able to share the knowledge and information that I've gained over the years, and pass it on to the next generation.
"I'm really amazed at the number of women surfers now. The progress has been really phenomenal, especially in the last five years. It's come a long ways, and it will just keep on growing."
For more information on women's surfing, check Hamrock's Web site (www.dangerwoman.com) or Crummer's Web site (www.seasister.com).