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Local woman makes a career out of her love for surfing

OCEANSIDE — In 1962, Brian Wilson extolled a simple life he shared with his girlfriend in the Beach Boys hit, “Surfer Girl.” 
“We could ride the surf together, while our love would grow,” he sang. “In my Woody I would take you everywhere I go.”
But in the real world, what happens to a surfer girl when she becomes a woman? If she plays her cards right, she can grow up to become someone like Julie Cox.
At 28, Cox has crafted an enviable lifestyle as a professional long boarder, surf coach, massage therapist, painter, model, writer, photographer and entrepreneur. She’s also operations manager of the California Surf Museum.
Cox was 8 when she whetted her appetite for longboarding as a junior lifeguard at Leo Carillo State Beach in Malibu. She wasn’t shy about accepting invitations from Agoura Hills neighbors when they’d invite her to join them for a day of surfing.  
“When I got my driver’s license at 16, and met three girlfriends who surfed, that really took it up a notch,” she said. “That was big — knowing girls who surfed well.”
While a competitive longboarder at UC Santa Cruz, working on a degree in environmental studies, Cox landed a sponsorship with Roxy that continues today.
After graduation in 2002, she began pursuing opportunities that complemented her love of surfing.
First, she became a certified massage therapist. “As an athlete I love receiving massages and enjoy giving them to my friends,” she said. “It is mellow, healing, loving and suits my personality. I hope to do it for my whole life.”
In 2006, Cox collaborated with Jed Noll Surfboards to design a line of surfboards tailored to the body type and surf style of modern surfer girls.
In 2008 she relocated to North County.
“Girlfriends from high school surfed down here and I really liked it,” she said. “Also, my surfboard shaper and Roxy are here.”
Cox had just bought a house in Oceanside when she saw an ad on Craigslist for an operations manager at the California Surf Museum. She was hired at an exciting time in the museum’s history when it was preparing to relocate to a state-of-the-art facility at 312 Pier View Way.
Despite a busy schedule she found time to continue to expand her entrepreneurial offerings by designing sterling silver “Love & Protection” charms for women, inspired by the St. Christopher’s medal popular with many male surfers.
This year Cox, who continues to compete, will be traveling to the Noosa Festival of Surfing in Australia in March, the Women’s World Longboard Championship in Biarritz, France, in July and the Malibu Surfing Association Classic in September.
She’s also helping other women live a dream of becoming surfer girls by teaching at a women’s surf camp again at Las Olas (The Waves) in Puerto Vallarta.
“There are so many women who have always wanted to surf,” she said. “It’s a nurturing environment that gives them that opportunity.”
Cox gives to the community locally as a surfing ambassador for Keep- A-Breast Foundation, a nonprofit in Carlsbad that educates young women about prevention, early detection and support for breast cancer.
“My mom is a breast cancer survivor,” she said. “A lot of surfer girls are involved in Keep-A-Breast. We make breast castings (for fundraisers), have bonfires, go to clubs — whatever girlfriends usually do.”
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1 comment

Kathleen Barnato January 12, 2010 at 7:24 am

A joyful and inspiring story! The girls at Las Olas are lucky to have you as an inspirational leader. I learned to surf there for my 49th birthday and have traveled to Costa Rica, Hawaii and Mexico in search of warm water; I live in Santa Barbara a gorgeous place but a bit cold for me. Brrr

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