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Liz enjoys sailing 'Swell' to weather in a good breeze. Here's a prime example of her having a great time at the helm.

what the waves were doing. Just then a big set loomed on the horizon. One of the visiting pros picked off the first wave, but there was a second bigger wave further out. Pablo and I looked to see who would snag it. To our utter disbelief, we saw that it was Shannon dropping down the

face! "That's Shannon!" I screamed when she made the drop. Pablo and I went into hysterical yelps and hoots, and waited on the shore where the board had washed in. When Snags made it to the beach, there were high-fives and big smiles. I was so proud of her! I'm not sure if Shannon really understood what she'd done. Not only would many girls who have surfed all their lives

have stayed on the beach that afternoon, but Shannon had gone out and caught one of the largest waves of the day. Amazing! Pablo was so impressed that he gave her the rhino chaser. Don't be surprised if someday you see Shannon's name on the roster for the K2 Big Wave Challenge. I'm sorry Alan and Vicki, but I swear I didn't have anything to do with it. Your daughter is a natural born charger. The swell picked up on April 28, my 26th birthday. I almost reluctantly trudged down the beach to the lifeguard tower that served as our base. I was tired of feeling like a gladiator in death-match surfing. I just wanted to do some turns. After a bit of internal pouting, I waited for what looked like a break between waves and stroked madly for the horizon. I made it outside to the crowd of flashy pros and a local with big cajones, and attempted to pull into a few of the mid-sized waves. I finally came to the realization that just because it was my birthday, I wasn't going to get the barrel that would allow me to offiãally retire my 'dodger' jersey. But just then, what seemed like a black wall rose up to my right. The mass of water shifted towards me, and everyone else was too deep. I was afraid, but I knew the wave had perfect shape, and that I had to go for it. I paddled hard down the face, and hopped to my feet. When I realized that I was going to make it, but still had nearly eight feet more to go down the face, I let out a yell so loud and guttural that everyone on the beach turned to see what it was all about. I'm not sure why I screamed — for joy, fear, and relief, I suppose. Although I was nowhere near being in the barrel, I still came back up the beach like a proud warrior. For the rest of the day, I was pointed out Puerto Escondido waves such as this one have excellent shape, but the lips are thick and they break hard. There's undertow, too. SHANNON SWITZER

SHANNON SWITZER

SHANNON SWITZER

IN LATITUDES

Profile for Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Latitude 38 August 2006  

The August 2006 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 August 2006  

The August 2006 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.