Braving the Waves

Although some people are afraid to brave the towering waves that California is famous for, Diamond Bar High School civics and economics teacher Cathy Lee surfs into these currents head on.

Having always loved the ocean, Lee decided to join an all-women’s surf club in Huntington Beach, Wahine Kai, and surfs every weekend.

“It’s just so exhilarating to catch that wave and you realize that you can do anything you put your mind to,” Lee said. “I just love that because I never thought that I would be able to do it[surf].”

Prior to surfing, Lee had boogie boarded and body surfed, but she wanted to explore more water activities.

After her first experience surfing in Maui, Lee decided to take lessons in California to improve her skills.

“One thing I realized about surfing is that it’s not an easy sport—it’s very fearful—so I’m still going through that phase where you just have go for it,” Lee said.

Although Lee started surfing about five years ago, she didn’t have a consistent schedule she followed. Lee said that she became more involved with the sport after joining Wahine Kai, attending the surf sessions that the club hosts. Through the club, Lee said that she has made friends with fellow surfers.

“Surfing has taught me to really focus on discipline, conquer my fears and commorderie between other friends of mine that surf,” Lee said. “I always thought it was me that was fearful, but I just realized that with other friends you can tackle on your fears together.”

Before surfing, Lee practices pop-ups, the technique of moving from the paddling position up to the surfing posture, which incorporate upper body strength and flexibility. Then, she slips on her wetsuit and grabs her surfboard before heading straight into the water.

“You have to be patient that you’re not going to be good just trying a few times,” Lee said. “You have to keep at it and you’ll get better and better and then your fears will become less and less.”

Lee wakes up around 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. to surf at least once every weekend and returns home around 10 a.m.

Lee said that her favorite spots to frequent are the beach at San Onofre in northern San Diego County and Blackies area in Newport Beach because of thier gentle waves. 

“Seeing the beauty of the ocean, I keep being reminded that I’m so blessed to be living in California where the weather is fabulous and surfing doesn’t cost too much either,” Lee said. “You just need a board, and a wetsuit and a beach pas