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Photo: LeRoy Grannis

RIP: Janet MacPherson – Malibu original

14 April 22

After a life under the sun very well lived, Malibu original Janet MacPherson gracefully kicked out on March 5 at the age of 84.

After graduating high school in San Francisco in 1955, her parents gave her and her sister a trip to Hawaii, where they rented an apartment in Waikiki for three months and she discovered surfing for the first time.

By the second half of the ‘50s she was a regular at Rincon before establishing her place in the Malibu lineup alongside friends like Flippy Hoffman and Renny Yater.

Buying her first board at a shop in Venice, “I could tell what they were thinking: ‘Oh, yeah, a woman,’” she told The Surfer’s Journal in 2014. “But they sold me the board, and off I went.”

“I traveled to Mexico, Hawaii. I was the first woman they had ever seen surfing in Peru. At Club Waikiki. Over the years I’ve been to the Seychelles, Reunion Island, South Africa, Africa, Indonesia, the Galapagos Islands. And I have skied all over Europe,” she continued.

A fixture at Malibu most of her life, she continued to surf and inspire into her 80s.

“To me, she embodies everything about female empowerment,” he son Sean MacPherson told the New York Times. “Doing what you want to do, how you want to do it, on your terms. She never once mentioned being a feminist. She didn’t have to — she just was.”


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