I’ll just put it out there…There’s no sense in beating around the bush about it. My mom is a badass.
No, she doesn’t have tattoos, ride a Harley, or possess a black belt in any of the myriad of fighting arts.
Yes, she’s one of those “Ladies who lunch”. I’m pretty sure she’s never bitch-slapped anybody, even if they deserved it (including me).
And she is definitely afraid of bugs. And germs.
But my mom is an A-1 certified, pioneer and icon of Texas Surfing Badassery. Also, her name is Donna, not Bettie, but you’ll understand that a little later.
Not only was she one of the first women in the Corpus Christi, Texas surf scene, she was one of the first people to surf in Texas, period. A true pioneer of the sport. And THAT is badass.
In 1961, she vacationed with her friend Anna in Southern California. At the time, surfing was pretty much unheard of in the US, outside of California and Hawaii. While there, they bought surfboards and learned how to surf. We’re talking big boards—ten foot long balsa wood boards, not the short foam and fiberglass ones they use today in the smaller surf of the Texas coast.
Bringing their boards back to the North Padre Island surf made them instant surfing pioneers, as the surfing craze wouldn’t fully take a hold in the area for a few more years. As the totally BADASS surfing pioneer that she was, mom was a charter member of several surf clubs, including the Kanaka Surf Club, South Wind Surf Club, and the Copeland Surf Team. And she wasn’t just one of the first to surf, she was also one of the best. She won contests and brought home trophies taller than the short boards they use today. She appeared on the cover of surfing magazines at the time—a goofy foot “hanging ten” in her boy cut bikini. Those trophies and magazines are now on display at the Texas Surf Museum in downtown Corpus Christi.
As I got into high school and began to hear of my mom’s surfing past, images of Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High began to swirl in my head. Because by the time I was in high school, many (not all, but many) of the surfers had embraced a lifestyle that involved a lot of slacking, and more than a passing interest in Weed. No, not seaweed. They were the kids at school that hung out in the “stoner section”—boys with long hair and pooka shell necklaces. I’m not judgin’, I’m just sayin’. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, I guess….
I myself have never partaken.
I also had a surfboard….bequeathed to me by my high school boyfriend, Bill, when he moved to Maryland. Sadly, I am NOT a BADASS, and only managed to get on the thing successfully a handful of times. I was content to catch some rays on the shore, and paint my fingernails with Elizabeth.
But my mom quickly dispelled any visions I was having of her spending long days on the beach, wafting in a cloud of Purple Sticky Punch. You see, at the time the sport of surfing was taking hold, the surfers were the clean-cut kids. Like the other jocks in school, they were athletes, made good grades, were committed to their sport. At least that’s what Mom told me….Didn’t you ever see Gidget?
It didn’t take long for the sport to become an entire subculture, complete with its own fashion and language. Groups like the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean forever romanticized and immortalized surfing in song. Songs such as “Surfin’ Safari”, “Surf City”, “Wipe Out” and “Pipeline” helped whip up American youth into a froth about surfing. Entire cities exist today because of the surfing culture.
When my mom surfed, they still spoke English for the most part….Listening to a group of surfers talk today is very amusing, but could be downright confusing if you don’t know the lingo….Here is a small crash course, very brief and over-generalized, in case you find yourself scarfing grimace proportions with some hodads. Got that?
Surf Lingo For Dummies
A cute girl may be called: Bettie (see the title of this post), Beach Boney, Honey, Wahini, Gidget
What a surfer calls his friends: bro, brah, bruddha, bud, dude, his crew
Beginner and unskilled surfers: Hodad, Brodad, Melvin, Barney, Freddy, Grommet, Grom, Murf and more)
Thug surfers who think they own the beach: surf Nazis, fascists, goons
Wanna Be Fake Surfers: Philbins, Posers, Landlubbers, Landsharks,
Something that is cool or awesome: radical, rad, bitchin’, killer, boss, epic, gnarly, maxgnar, mondo
To vomit: hurl, blow chunks, bark the dog, call ralph, Technicolor yawn, uneat
Something that is not cool: Bogus, lame, gnarly, chuf
To eat: don the apron, scarf, grind, consume groceries
Bubbles—a girl that is a real air head, as in “that Betty is totally bubbles”
Cactus Juiced—depending on where you are, this can mean too hungover to surf, or unable to surf due to a bad inury
Charf—to tease, joke, be silly
Chips—used in place of the “s” word…”oh, chips, I’m gonna get wiped out on this wave”
Dead Presidents—paper money, referring to the pictures of the American Presidents on the bills; the source of the name for the band of Surfing bank robbers in the movie “Point Break”, who also wore presidential masks.
Goofy Foot/Screwfoot—someone who surfs with his/her right food leading; my Mom was one
Hang Ten—having all ten toes on the nose of the board
Hella-short derivative of “hell of a lot”
Hot Dog Budget—on the cheap; with little money; lacking in dead presidents
Hot Doggin’—someone who is showing off is said to be hot doggin’
Womanista—a female surfer who seems to want nothing more than beat men at everything
Okay, let’s make some grindage. Since hot dogs are such a summer staple, and since the name makes such regular appearance in surf lingo, I’ve created some hot dogs to pay homage to some of the American surf locales….
Makes 8 hot dogs
For the basic dog:
- 1 package of 8 all beef, bun -length wieners
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 hotdog buns
Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. With a sharp knife, cut diagonal slits 1” apart down both sides of each wiener. Drop 1 tablespoon of the butter into the skillet. Add wieners, and brown well on both sides, so that the wieners began to crust. Remove to a plate, and toast the insides of the buns in the skillet, adding more butter as needed. Top with your desired choice of toppings and serve.
Rincon, Puerto Rico was immortalized by the Beach Boys’ hit song “Surfin’ Safari”, when they sing
At huntington and malibu
They’re shooting the pier
At Rincon they’re walking the nose
Were going on safari to the islands this year
So if you’re coming get ready to go
In most of the Caribbean, sofrito is a sauce used to cook EVERYTHING. It’s a combination of tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic and spices, and is used as a base to cook soups, seafood, meat, vegetables—literally most of the local dishes. In most Caribbean nations, the sofrito is a red sauce, using tomatoes as a primary ingredient. In Puerto Rico, however, the sofrito is almost exclusively green, and is made with cilantro, garlic, onions, and peppers, and is referred to as “recaito”.
Here, I have cooked mango in the recaito, for a thoroughly tropical flavor.
Recaito Mango Relish
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 head garlic, peeled
- 2 green bell peppers, quartered and seeded
- 1 large onion, quartered
- ½ of a habanero pepper (optional)
- Juice of 2 lime
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 mangos, peeled and cubed
Place all ingredients except for the mango in a blender and pulse until almost smooth. Place in a medium saucepan with the mango, and heat over medium high heat. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, or until most of the liquids have evaporated and the mixture isn’t runny. Allow to cool a bit before serving.
Top each dog with relish, and a dash of pepper sauce, as desired.
Bob Hall Shootin’ The Pier Surf Dog
- 8 hot dogs as prepared above
- 2 cans Frito’s bean dip
- 1 cup crushed Frito’s
- 1 cup prepared guacamole
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Hot sauce, to taste
Spread each toasted bun with bean dip. Add wiener. Top with guacamole, cheese, crushed chips, and hot sauce.
Waimea Bay Wipeout Dog
The thing that Hawaii is best known for second to surfing? Their love of SPAM. Really. They eat some 16 cans of SPAM per person, per year. That’s mondo grindage, dudes. This dog relies on a relish of fried SPAM and pineapple in a teriyaki sauce.
8 hot dogs prepared as above
- Top each hot dog with warm Teriyaki and Pineapple Relish, and serve.
Teriyaki SPAM and Pineapple Relish
- 1 can Spam, diced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 15-18 oz can pineapple rings in juice
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
Place SPAM and butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Cook until SPAM is brown and crusty on all sides, stirring occasionally.
While SPAM cooks, strain the pineapple, but SAVE THE JUICE. Chop the rings into 1/3-1/2” pieces.
When SPAM is browned, add the pineapple, the reserved juice, sugar and soy sauce to the pan. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water. Slowly add to the simmering sauce, stirring rapidly. When sauce reaches a nice thick consistency, remove from heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes before using.