Sherrie Washburn (left) and LaVonne Reiter are the founding members of Board Certified Babes, a group of women ranging in age from their 50s to their 80s. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene
Rancho Santa Fe

‘Babes’ still catching waves

CARLSBAD — Two boogie boarders catch the wave they’ve been waiting for and grip their boards as they ricochet to shore. 

Yes, the water sport is a common sight at Carlsbad State Beach, but these two boogie boarders may not be — the two boarders are women in their seventies and co-founders of Board Certified Babes.

LaVonne Reiter and Sherrie Washburn started boogie boarding in their free time back time in 2002, and one year later it became a club. The club members are all women ranging from their fifties and into their eighties.

Reiter and Washburn, both Carlsbad residents, met through mutual friends. Washburn calls meeting Reiter a perfect match simply because she was so daring and helped get Washburn back into the ocean again.

“When I was 50, I was out there, riding on a wave with a bunch of super dudes and I was thinking that I was crazy and I am not doing this anymore,” Washburn said. “There was this high wave and as it was cresting, I got scared and told myself that this wasn’t for me anymore. I have grandkids and I quit.”

About ten years later, that mindset changed when Washburn and Reiter went for a walk. In between strides, Washburn told her how she used to love to boogie board.

Reiter wanted to know why she stopped; Washburn answered that she was too old.

“LaVonne told me that was all in my head and dragged me down to the beach,” she said. “Every day that summer we went boogie boarding, took our cribbage boards, our lunch and we spent the day down there.”

Washburn lives within a stone’s throw of the beach — a perfect meeting place to collect their gear and then make a beeline to the waves.

Reiter is no stranger to water, either.

“I’ve always been a water person,” Reiter said. “I taught myself how to swim in the Mississippi River.”

At one point, Reiter was a synchronized swimmer with the Minnesota Aqua Follies and then a swim teacher. Even throughout her other professional careers, water has always played a part in her life.

Reiter said their duo boogie boarding trips down to the beach changed the following year when everyone started to learn how much fun they were having.

Board Certified Babes is in full swing between the months of July and September. The ladies get together two days a week, in the late afternoons.

“Sometimes we stay and watch the sunset,” Washburn said. She continued, “That’s heaven on Earth.”

Reiter said their club is all about having fun and staying young. For Washburn, she describes it as a very special bond.

Yet, the one thing they all have in common is how the inner child bursts out of their skin once they get into the water.

Sherrie said when the waves are breaking perfectly they don’t want to get out. “We always say, ‘OK, just one more wave,’ but that ends up being 30 more,” she said.

Both ladies agreed that they often get kudos from surfers.

One day, a surfer approached Washburn.

“He told me, ‘Dude, you were really shredding them there,’” said Washburn, adding how she’ll never forget those words.

For each woman, different thoughts float through their minds when they’re in the water.

Reiter describes hers as a form of meditation because it’s so peaceful and serene.

“And boogie boarding keeps us young, healthy and active,” said Reiter, noting how it’s a great workout. “We just love it.”

For more information about Board Certified Babes email the club at or visit them on their Facebook page.