Category Archives: aliso beach skim boarding

Dianas Lesson

DIANAS LESSON

Sometime in the Fall of 2015, I introduced myself to a couple of young girls in the parking lot of Aliso Beach. One of them turned out to be Diana Rosa Cordova, the only Mexican, Female, Professional Skim Boarder on the planet.  Little did I know, a month later or so, she would sit with me for several hours and take a barrage of questions, and pass along what I now call Diana’s Lesson.  As manager of the Aliso Beach

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Diana Rosa enters friend Samantha’s hoverboard picture for Aliso Beach website

website, I am constantly looking for cool stuff to include in the blog.  Her friend Samantha was riding one of those hover boards that are getting a lot of press for spontaneously bursting into flames, and I asked her if I could take a picture of her riding.  She was hesitant, and I get it.  It’s like, who is the creepy older guy that I don’t know requesting to take pictures?  Samantha was joined by a wide-eyed, vibrant personality that you couldn’t help gravitate towards.  After talking to them about the website and how I envisioned it playing a role in the community, I told Diana that I would like to do a write up about her for the site.  I have talked with several people in the community about doing stuff on the website, and because her enthusiasm for the website was so great, I knew that doing a nice piece for her was meant to be.  Diana joined the picture with Samantha on the hover board with a flare that is typical for someone with the love of life and people that I have discovered she has.

We met up last weekend, and although I knew it would be fun to talk with her, I had no idea that when we parted ways that I would have so many great angles for stories that shined brightly on this young and rising skim board star.  Initially, I thought the pieces would focus on skim boarding, but during our conversations, it became clear that this enterprising and personality full, young lady was a collection of really neat stories that I feel blessed to pass along.

Diana indicated that she didn’t grow up with a whole lot of money.  Her parents divorced when she and her brother were young, and so her mom had to make a go of it as a single parent.  The feeling I get is that it made her mom tough, resilient, driven and willing to work hard for everything she gave her children.  I am happy to say that despite her friendly demeanor and kindness, Diana Rosa exhibits many of the same qualities she described in her mom.  Her mom has to be proud of the woman she has become and the woman she has the opportunity to be.

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Education was a topic I was really curious about when we spoke.  I was impressed by her college education in aerospace part manufacturing.  I can count on one hand the number of people that I have rubbed elbows with that are in that field, and there is no question you have to be smart to enter into the field at the college level.  This gives her an opportunity to work in a field beyond skim boarding if she chooses, and she indicated that her experience in the manufacture of aerospace parts has her thinking and believing she will become involved in her own projects. Diana is strong in her belief in what she can do and about the amazing opportunities that are out there for her.  Look out world!  I sincerely believe that she will do great things.  While learning of this part of her education was fascinating, it was what her mom did with respect to her desire for her children to get a quality education that paved the way for Diana’s lesson.

Diana comes from humble beginnings.  Her mother could not afford the kind of education she wanted to give her kids when they were young.  It didn’t stop her from making a quality education happen for her children.  As Diana tells it, her mother walked into a Montessori School and told the administration that despite not being able to afford it, she absolutely believed her kids should be there.  The school took them in and Diana tells me that it changed her life.  It was there and at a young age that she learned English.  They were her formative years, and this education left an undeniable, positive impact on this child who now as a young woman has the world in the palm of her hands.  What her mom did was so valuable proving that if you want something bad enough, go after it.  It changed the course of history for Diana.

So there it was, August of 2015, and Diana was entered in the most prestigious skim boarding contest called the VIC as an amateur.  Some of the men’s professional skim boarders from South Laguna that come down for contests at her local skim breaks in Mexico, encouraged her to jump to the pro event.  She made the leap and placed 8 with no sponsors, no competitive track record in the US, and absolutely nothing to lose.  She was not intimidated and she gave her best effort.  It is hard to be anything but excited for someone that just goes for it.

Diana has a lot of friends in the skim board community, and they have helped her remain in South Laguna to continue practicing and getting better.  Aliso Beach is a pretty good beach among the other South Laguna skim spots to hone her skills.  Fortunately, the water stayed warm until the middle of December, so she was able to get by without a wet suit.  Just half way past the middle of the last month of the year, the cold water in Southern California started to bite a little harder.  Not to be deterred, Diana successfully negotiated a wet suit sponsor that is dedicated to the women’s market.  She understands that opportunities come with effort and believing in herself.  Diana’s lesson is that if you want help or you want something, ask for it!  This type of success and application of lessons taught to her by an amazingly driven mother are the way a parent hopes their children respond when it is their turn to take on the world without them.

I am proud to know Diana Rosa!  I am proud to call her a friend.  I happily root for her in everything that she does and everything she hopes to achieve.  The sky is the limit for her.  She can do whatever she wants to do and she will continue to amaze on her journey through life touching and inspiring people wherever she goes.  If you can’t smile in the presence of this beaming and blissful young lady, I would not know what to say to you.  She is everything that is good about people.  Diana is kind, thoughtful, respectful, genuine, empathetic, articulate, smart, funny, light-hearted and so much more.  You might call me one of her biggest fans, but I do know the kind of impact that kind of personality can have on all sorts of people.  It is not surprising at all that she has been embraced in the Laguna Beach skim community.

Thank you Diana for spending time with someone that you barely even knew. I appreciate your being open about all of the personal things that you really didn’t have to talk about.  That was a conversation I will probably remember forever and I enjoyed it.  Whether you stay here in the United States, travel the world or settle back down in Mexico, you can count me as a friend.  While this story is one of many that I will write about you related to our conversation, this certainly is not the end.  I wish you the best and will root for you in whatever you do!

Diana Rosa Facebook

Diana Rosa Victoria Skim Boards Profile

Victoria Skim Boards Instagram @victoriaskimboards

Diana Rosa Instagram @diana_cord

Diana Rosa Tattoo Sponsor Pure Tatts

Diana Rosa Wet Suit Sponsor GlideSoul

 

 

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Austin Keen

AUSTIN KEEN

Austin Keen

Austin Keen With Sombrero

Austin Keen may have the most well known dreadlocks in the wave riding community of Southern California.  When I first saw this skim boarder, I was sitting in the south corner of Aliso Beach trying to catch a wave or two with friends in between the skim boarders connecting the side waves to peaks at Aliso Beach.  There Austin was pumping his board and getting to solid peaks effortlessly with his dreadlocks bouncing along the way. It is hard to miss a guy like that. He is an elite talent and he makes skim boarding look easy.  Honestly, there is nothing easy about this sport. It takes athleticism, quickness, good judgment, balance, timing, core strength and surfing ability.  I was talking to a friend on the beach as we watched Austin take on some mean Aliso Beach shore break and when I mentioned to her how easy Austin made it look she said, “The good ones do”!  Indeed!

I don’t know a whole lot about Austin but what I do know speaks to the kind of person he is.  He possesses a good nature and is friendly.  Despite his taking skim boarding by storm as a transplant from the East Coast, there is nothing arrogant or pretentious about him.  Those who know him, including professional photographer Adeeb Howrani who is a close friend of mine, speak very highly of him. I believe that with a group of core skim boarders in Laguna Beach, Austin Keen is contributing nicely to inspiring a young up and coming generation of skim boarders that has the sport in a great place and with a bright future.

The waves yesterday were heavy at Aliso Beach.  I watched skimmers choose waves and then have trouble with their carves once they connected to the incoming peaks. It seemed like the distance that some had to travel to meet the incoming wave sucked the momentum out of the run making the ability to aggressively carve back into a wave to difficult. It was like they were dead in their tracks and not able to make the carve and back down the wave for a ride. Then there was Austin Keen sliding out to waves with style and fanning spray back as he carved back towards shore and dropped into the barrel.

Photographer Scotty Carter thought it would be a great idea for Austin Keen to take a run with a sombrero.  He looked like he was headed for a fiesta!  Don’t ask why but the Fast Times at Ridgemont High quote from Spiccoli comes to mind where he says to Mr. Hand, “Certainly there is nothing wrong with a little fiesta on our time”!  That is still funny to me today!  So Austin slapped the hat on over his dreads and waited patiently for a wave.  Given the lack of comfort with that hat he scanned the water for the right wave. He spotted a foamy inside one with nice size and went sprinting towards the incoming wall with board ready to drop. He slid out to the wave and whipped a nice carve off the top, ducked under a curtain of white water, came out briefly and then was swallowed with sombrero in a nice close out barrel.  I am not sure that will ever happen again but it was entertaining to watch. Maybe  the VIC Skim Board Championship but[probably won’t ever, have a sombrero wearing skim board contest.  Austin Keen has already thrown his hat in the ring!

 

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