Linda Benson was a pixieish 15-year-old when she became the world female surfing champion in 1959. Today her school, SurfHer (760/749-5997; www.surfher.net; $125 for a four-hour clinic), in Encinitas, California, a half-hour north of San Diego, is one of several new surf programs making waves. It offers small classes and private lessons to wannabes ages six and up (boys welcome; even sexagenarians have enrolled). This pro attributes the wave-riding boom to everything from the long-board renaissance (they're easier to ride than short boards) to the explosion of cool girls' gear. Benson, who became a flight attendant after winning five U.S. championships and a stint in the movies, says she's surfing better than ever.
—Jeannette De Wyze
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