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flor de cana
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JOYCE HOFFMAN
In 1964, SURFER added a women’s division to the poll, and Joyce Hoffman—stepdaughter of legendary early charger Walter Hoffman—held first place for three years. Fiercely driven, Joyce was incredibly successful as a competitor, winning the ’65 and ’66 World Championships. Comfortable in the heavy stuff, she was routinely a standout at Sunset, and was the first female to ride Pipe. Photo: Singletary

Joyce Hoffman: First Women’s SURFER Poll Winner

In 1964, a teenaged Hoffman set the competitive surf world on fire

Joyce Hoffman would have chewed you up and spit you out in a heat. As a teenager. Nothing personal you understand, but you see, you'd have been between her and her rightful place on top of the podium, and she would have driven through you like a Mac truck through a VW beetle.

A mere four years after Hoffman started surfing, she took home the first Women's Surfer Poll Award. At age 17. The surf world knew she was something special. The next year, she won the first of back-to-back world titles. She won the Makaha Invitational a few times. She was one of very few women who regularly mixed it up at proper-sized Sunset Beach in the '60s. She was the first documented woman to surf Pipe when she calmly paddled into a few in 1968.

Lots of these accomplishments were motivated by pure, unadulterated, uncut competitiveness. She surfed something like six hours every day, because it was fun, sure, but also to get better than you. She once told a major national magazine this about her competitive surfing career: "If I didn't think I was considered the best, I'd quit."

After the next big thing Margo Godfrey appeared on the pro surf scene and began to assert her dominance, Hoffman turned her attention to motorsports, where she fueled her competitive thirst by racing cars and motorcycles.

But in 1964, when Hoffman collected the first of four straight Women's Surfer Poll Awards, she was still just a sprightly teenager, still figuring out what surfing and the world was all about. Like Phil Edwards, the first ever male Surfer Poll winner, she was the perfect surfer to take home the inaugural trophy, and really, there was no other way. If there was an award to be won, she was going to win it.