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Riding the waves of success

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It’s a tough question. People are "surfing" after their first lesson, on their first wave.

But to really consider yourself a surfer, Hudnall says it takes commitment and time.

"Every day for two years," she said, as a matter of fact.

It wasn’t until she was 18-years-old that Hudnall could put some serious time into her sport. Having moved back to Tofino from California after high school, she began to surf every day.

"And that’s when it all came together, when I actually got a nice ride on the green and learned to turn and duck dive," she said.

But things really began to click in 1998 when the Surf Divas, an American women’s surf club in La Jolla, California came to Tofino for a weekend clinic.

"Boom!" she said it hit her.

"That’s exactly what I wanted to do."

Surf Sister was born.

"I made it work in Canada."

From its early beginnings out of Hudnall’s backyard shed, Surf Sister has now expanded to a new shop, next to Live to Surf, with 15 surfboards and 20 wetsuits.

The lessons include those little tidbits of information Hudnall has picked up in her 15 years riding waves.

Andrea McGowan and Catherine Temple were the instructors on hand last weekend, handing out those tidbits to eager students.

McGowan, a Toronto native has been surfing for years and on beaches around the world, from the water under the Burlington Bridge in Hamilton to the New Zealand coast.

Temple was formerly Catherine Bruhwiler, who was part of the surfer girl gang growing up in Tofino with Hudnall.

She comes from surfing stock. Her brothers, Sepp and Raph, are the top male surfers in the country at the moment and Temple has held her own on the female surf scene, many times in first place.

Their lesson began on the sand with basic surfing etiquette, followed by the common mistakes to avoid.

People always want to go straight from their bellies to their knees before standing – a very hard habit to break, they warned.

People generally grab the sides of the board to hoist themselves to their feet but putting your hands flat on the board by your chest is easier.

People always stand up too early and they should wait until the wave shoots them out.

And they also suggested holding your hands over your head and face after falling from the surfboard, to protect yourself against the fin on the back of the board.