Del Mar, California may be best known for its racetrack, but the Del Mar BodySurfing Club (DMBC) hosts its own blue-ribbon winner in the form of a world champion bodysurfer, Meredith Rose. When “Mer” glides through the water like a mermaid, jaws drop in awe and admiration of her talent. It’s no surprise that she took first place (for the 3rd time) at the World Body Surfing Championships (2018) in Oceanside, California.
Meredith grew up near the beach in Southern California and learned to swim before she could walk, yet she might be considered a late-blooming bodysurfer. She took up body boarding in the ocean at the age of 6 but didn’t start board surfing until age 30. And it wasn’t until she turned 40 that she started bodysurfing with a hand plane, gradually, leaving her surfboard behind. Within the next 6 years, she won her age division in two world bodysurfing championships held in Oceanside, California (2015 and 2017).
Academic achievements accompanied Meredith’s ocean pursuits. She was Dana Hills High School’s valedictorian (class of ’88) and considered herself a classic nerd. She did not participate in any other sports and played the clarinet in the marching band. She went on to the University of California, San Diego majoring in Cognitive Science — artificial intelligence (AI) and computer programming.
Upon graduation, Meredith discovered she was 20 years ahead of her time as jobs were scarce in her chosen field. She finally landed a position in systems engineering and sought out various industry certifications. In 1999, she achieved Cisco Systems Inc.’s highest level, the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), which very few women had then or have now. She currently works as a Consulting Systems Engineer, advising large companies on how to architect their networks for redundancy, high-performance, and security — in a 99 percent male-dominated field.
Similarly in the water, she demonstrates her cutting edge. In the middle of a contest, on a whim she dove under a wave as though she was going out for the next one. She then somehow caught the wave she was diving under by doing a swimmer’s flip turn (without the advantage of being able to push off a wall). Needless to say, she won.
While a keen competitor, Meredith also knows how to have fun. At a casual DMBC event, she and a friend paddled out in oversized inner tubes that the big waves handily toppled. Not to be defeated, she stood up on the edge of the inner tube, dove into a giant crushing wave just before it broke, then aligned herself perfectly onto the shoulder of the wave, nonchalantly riding into shore.
Meredith is also very much a team player, and her team is the DMBC. She is remarkable, fearless, and an inspiration to the DMBC men and women alike — encouraging, generous, and notably kind to everyone. Highly skilled or just beginning, strong or weak, brave or fearful, she supports all of them at whatever level they can handle and enjoy — figuring the powerful ocean provides enough challenges for them.
Water devotee that she is, Mer is very concerned about over-fishing and endangered ocean creatures. She is currently submitting for the longest wave ridden by a bodysurfer to the Guinness World Records. If you dare to tag along in the water with her as she rides waves, click here.
Originally published at medium.com