My Mom The BADASS Bettie

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.

My mom, kicking ass and taking names

My mom, kicking ass and taking names

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.

My mom...A girl and her board.

My mom…A girl and her board.

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. The devil’s lettuce. Maryjane. Maui Wowwie. Whacky tobaccy.

They were the kids at school that hung out in the “stoner section”—boys with long hair and pooka shell necklaces smelling like Hawain Tropics and skunky weed. I’m not judgin’, I’m just sayin’. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

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 Bunny, 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

Cavasos—sore losers

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….

Surf Dogs...Mondo Righteous Grindage

Surf Dogs…Mondo Righteous Grindage

Surf Dogs

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 Surf Dog

Rincon Surf Dog

Rincon Nose-Walker

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 Wipeout...with SPAM and Pineapple Teriyaki Relish

Waimea Wipeout…with SPAM and Pineapple Teriyaki Relish

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.

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Categories: Family, Food, humor, recipes, Texas, writing


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23 Comments on “My Mom The BADASS Bettie”

  1. Suzanne banfield
    2013/07/21 at 11:33 pm #

    I remember cruising Everhart with you listening to surf songs! Good times. And your mom is a rock star!

  2. 2013/07/22 at 1:23 am #

    How cool is that mom of yours! Respect 🙂

  3. Bill
    2013/07/22 at 1:42 am #


  4. Lance
    2013/07/22 at 1:43 am #

    Great article, but you missed “Sex Wax”. Never surf without it. 🙂

  5. 2013/07/22 at 2:39 am #

    If I may be so bold, I had Ball Park Angus dogs for the first (second and third) time last week on vacation. Generally speaking I’m a Kogel’s kind of guy (high-end dog, made and distributed nationally about seven miles from my home). They’re quality is top notch but those Ball Park’s were amazing. Great post.

    • 2013/07/22 at 8:39 am #

      I’ll have to try them….I’ve been using the Hebrew National because since they’re kosher, they can’t contain trash meat. I actually LOVE oscar meyer beef dogs.

  6. 2013/07/22 at 3:54 am #

    Great post! Your mother sounds amazing.

  7. 2013/07/22 at 5:11 am #

    Spam?! Off the hook sister

  8. 2013/07/22 at 6:43 am #

    Your mom is a badass. And so are you. (Hopefully someone won’t be renting out the surf museum for a party next time I’m in Corpus!)

  9. 2013/07/22 at 7:01 am #

    That is such an awesome story about you mom! Thank you for sharing! I enjoy your recipes!

  10. 2013/07/22 at 7:03 am #

    That is a wonderful story about your mom!

  11. 2013/07/22 at 8:45 am #

    Your mom is definitely a badass! Also, these recipes look amazing!!

  12. 2013/07/22 at 9:22 am #

    I love the stories you tell as well as the recipes! Keep ’em coming

  13. 2013/07/22 at 10:07 am #

    ahahahahaaa omg I loved this. Your mom IS a badass! I totally saw Gidget by the way and at 2 AM my best friend and I were watching and screaming at the TV “NO KAHUNA! DON’T KISS GIDGET YOU’RE LIKE 30! AND GIDGET-WHAT ABOUT MOONDOGGIIIIEEE??!” ahahahaaaa

  14. 2013/07/23 at 9:21 am #

    Makes me wish my mom had been a.
    Bad Ass surfer……great post! Great pic!

  15. 2013/08/02 at 12:18 pm #

    Sounds like your mom was quite the badass. I’d have liked to meet here. I spent a lot of time surfing Bob Hall (and JP and the Jetties) growing up (and still do when I get down there and there’s any surf). I never heard of a Bob Hall Shootin’ the Pier Surf Dog, although occasionally I would sweep out the store/hambruger place for a free burger or hot dog.

  16. 2015/04/01 at 8:09 pm #

    Rock on Donna! Your mom = Badass – one I aspire to. Nothing better than a hot dog too! Love those pix – just great!

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