With summer approaching, brush up on your local surfing history!

Mary Monks, AKA Mondos Mary (or Mary Mondos, depending on who you ask), was born in Fillmore in 1919 and was one of the early women surfers in Ventura County. She is featured in the Museum’s historical journal “In the Curl: The Evolution of Surfing in Ventura County”, which was so popular that it is no longer in print. Mary Monks surfed for the first time in Hawai’i in 1953 and surfed for the first time in Ventura County in 1955. Her first boards were three balsa boards from Velzy and Jacobs, which she purchased for $150 dollars. The other surfers made fun of her stance, she said, because “I would put my hands down flat on the board and then raise my fannie.” Picture: Mary Monks, AKA Mondos Mary, at surfing at Mondos Beach circa 1950s. Museum Library and Archives, PN33021.

Dig deeper with this California Historical Society blog (see link below) celebrating surfing pioneer George Freeth. Freeth was California’s first professional lifeguard and he pioneered surf breaks from San Diego to Ventura. 


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