Merrill, Linda

Stylish goofyfoot surfer from Southern California, California, and a world-title-winning tandem competitor. Merrill was born (1945) and raised in San Clemente, daughter of longtime California surfer Benny Merrill, and began surfing at age 12. As a solo surfer, she finished runner-up in the 1961 West Coast Championships, and was a finalist again in '62.

Merrill was noted for her smooth point-break-influenced style. "I loves Trestles," Merrill said in 1963. At the time, Trestles was still off limits to civilians, and surfers were often escorted off the beach. "Girls have it made there. The Marines can't touch you unless they have a woman officer along."

In 1963 Merrill, the 18-year-old Merrill teamed up with California surfing ironman Mike Doyle to win the tandem division of the West Coast Championships the Pacific Coast Tandem Championships, and the Makaha International. The following year, the pair won the United States Invitational, placed 2nd at the US Championships, and Merrill became the first woman featured on the cover of Surfer magazine. In 1965, Doyle and Merrill won the World Surfing Championships, held in Lima, Peru. Despite all the victories, Doyle said, "her attitude toward surfing and contests is one of relaxation. Linda feels that surfing is for enjoyment, and that contests are nothing to get shook up over."