In surfing and life, never give up


by The Willis Brothers

Dedication is crucial to accomplishing any worthwhile goal in life. Forty years ago, Debbie Melville picked up her first surfboard. There were no surf schools at the time, and Debbie had no clue what she was doing, but she made her mind up that she would become a surfer.

She dedicated as much of her free time as possible to learning to surf. Little did she know at the time that her persistence and dedication would pay off. Debbie Melville Beecham would later become a surfing world champion.

In the beginning, Debbie did not even know on which side of the surfboard the wax went, let alone how to navigate the ocean currents and waves. The only way for her to learn was to stick with it and learn by trial and error. After a while, Debbie became a good surfer by anyone’s standards.

Soon she began competing and winning amateur surfing contests. She met shaping master Skip Frye, who reinforced to Debbie the need to dedicate herself to her goals.

Frye shaped her great surfboards and the waves were good -- the rest was up to Debbie. Putting more time into surfing than ever, she qualified for the world amateur surfing championship at Ocean Beach, where she placed third and gained valuable experience.

Inspired by her placing at the world surfing championships, Debbie decided she wanted to become a professional surfer. But there was no professional surfing tour for women at the time. To accomplish her vision, Debbie would become more dedicated to her dream than ever.

Surfing is about facing challenges, not running from them. Debbie solicited sponsors for surfing events, faced 15-foot shore-pounding waves in Japan, bravely rode giant Sunset Beach in Hawaii -- with broken ribs -- and faced challenge after challenge. Debbie withstood and overcame them all, until, finally, she realized her dream of becoming a world professional surfing champion.

Surfing is a microcosm of life. How a surfer approaches surfing is how that surfer will approach life. Today, 40-some-odd years after riding her first waves, Debbie Melville is Mrs. Debbie Melville Beecham and a proud mother of three. Though she still surfs almost daily, her priorities have changed. Instead of wanting to be the best surfer, she wants to be the best mom she can be. Find a cause you can believe in and dedicate yourself.

No matter how enormous the challenge, do not give up until it is overcome. Aloha.