DANA POINT, Calif. — This year 18 female surfers became the first to compete in the first full women’s World Tour event at Pipeline in Oahu, as part of the World Surf League’s Championship tour. But one surfer is credited with being the first woman to be documented charging the world-famous wave decades ago. Since that time, legendary surfer Joyce Hoffman has added many accolades to her surfing resume, including something that can be seen in Dana Point.

Hoffman was recently honored with a statue in Waterman’s Plaza in Dana Point, the first statue of a female surfer in the area. Hoffman grew up surfing the waves in front of her parent’s home along Beach Road in town. She won her very first surfing competition at Doheny State Beach, which is right across the street from where her statue now sits.

What You Need To Know

  • Joyce Hoffman is the first female surfer to have a statue in Waterman’s Plaza

  • Hoffman is also the first woman inducted into Surfing Walk of Fame

  • She won the Surfing Champion multiple times in the 1960s

  • Hoffman is still surfing in her 70s

“I’m very honored and very humbled,” Hoffman said.

The statue was modeled after a picture of her surfing at the 1966 Surfing World Championships in La Jolla Shores. A week after the ceremony celebrating the new statue, Hoffman said she was still in disbelief that there’s a statue of her in Dana Point. Organizers also believe Hoffman’s statue is the first to honor a female surfer in the country.

Hoffman has had many firsts in her life. The list is long and nearly impossible to name everything, but here are a few: she was the first woman to have her own signature surfboard, first woman to be inducted into the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame, and was the first female lifeguard in California. In 1965, she was named the LA Times Woman of the Year, the only surfer to ever receive this honor. During a recent statue unveiling ceremony in Dana Point earlier this year, Hoffman credited her accomplishments to timing.


“Sometimes we’re in the right spot at the right time,” she said.

She dominated the sport in the 1960s when Southern California and surf culture went together like a perfect swell, now only showing up all along shorelines, but also in show business.

The standing room only ceremony included young surfers such as Saylor Schuette. The 13-year-old said it’s pretty cool to see a female surfer honored.

“It makes me feel inspired to be, in that women can do things to,” Schuette said.

The multi-time surfing champion is still surfing and shredding to this day.

“It clears your mind,” she said. “Puts you in a good mind set. It’s makes the rest of the day perfect.”

“I’m just fortunate it’s one of the passions that you can do until you’re really old, not just as old as I am,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman is 76-years-old and has been surfing since she was 12. Before surfing, though, she was actually really into riding horses. But Hoffman said being a super competitive person, after winning her first surfing contest at 13-years-old, “I said, 'To heck with the horses and all this other stuff.  I’m just gonna focus on surfing.’”

And she’s never stopped paddling out, and cross training between surf sessions. Hoffman is a pioneer in the sport becoming one of the first, if not the first, woman to treat surfing like the sport that it is, rather than a lifestyle or leisurely sport.

In 1965, Hoffman reigned in the sport, winning the U.S. Championship in Huntington Beach and the World Championship in Peru. She was a two-time winner of the Makaha International (1964, 1966) and amassed two more U.S. Championships (1966, 1977).

Not only does she love surfing, she said it is a great workout too. Staying fit and active remains a priority in Hoffman’s life. When the surf is flat, Hoffman often hikes or does other activities to get her daily workouts in. But surfing has been a constant in her life. Even in what she called crummy conditions during a recent surf session in Carlsbad, Hoffman said she never forgets how blessed she is to continue to be able to surf.  


“I always say any day in the water is a good day, no matter what,” she said.

And no matter what, the legendary surfer will continue to catch rides for many days to come.

Hoffman said while her face may be on the statue in Waterman’s Plaza in Dana Point, it represents all the female surfers who came before her, and all the ones who will come after her.