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'It's free. It's fun. It's fresh. It's freaky. It's fanatical. It's funky. It's flavorful. It's freakin' rad! Besides, we can't shop all day long, can we?" This is how Isabelle "Izzy" Tihanyi and her sister, Caroline "Coco" Tihanyi, answer the question, "Why Surf?"--also the title of the first chapter of their first book, Surf Diva: A Girl's Guide to Getting Good Waves.

Izzy and Coco opened Surf Diva, the first surfing school for women, in La Jolla in 1996. They are on a book-signing tour that has, in the past month, taken them to New York, Miami, and up the California coast. The surfing sisters will wrap up their tour by discussing and signing their book at Warwick's Bookstore in their hometown of La Jolla on Tuesday, March 8.

Nancy and Cathy Warwick are the fourth generation in their family to take over their great-grandfather's bookstore. Warwick's has an average of six to eight book signings a month. Upcoming signings include more local authors like gardening experts Pat Welsh on Tuesday, March 22. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer will be signing his book Taking Heat: The President, the Press, and My Years in the White House on Friday, March 18.

Izzy and Coco were taught to surf at an early age by their father. Izzy went on to become a competitive surfer and taught surfing while in college at UCSD. "If you wanted a lesson, it used to be very daunting," says Izzy. "You would most likely find yourself in a group of sand-throwing teenage boys or, worse, being taught by one."

In the first pages of their book the Tihanyis write: "This book...is more than a how-to guide for women's surfing. It's a look into a lifestyle and a milestone for women that until very recently was and, in many ways still is, as underground as they come." According to Izzy, women surfers doubled from 2001 to 2003 and, at present, 38% of surfers in the water are female.

According to surfdiva.com, weekend clinics are two-day courses for beginning and intermediate surfers and are offered every weekend: two hours each on Saturday and Sunday (except for weekends that fall on Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's Day). Clinics run from $130 per person for beginners and $95 for intermediate students and take place at La Jolla Shores.

The Tihanyis insist that anyone who can swim at least 200 yards and is not pregnant can jump on in. "Pregnant women do surf, but it's a hard sport to learn," said Izzy. "Unless you already know how to control the board, it's not a good idea...what if the board hits her in the stomach?"

Surfing can be dangerous, Izzy admits, "but will not leave you as sore as other sports like snowboarding." Izzy has been an avid snowboarder for ten years. "With surfing, you land in the water, not on land. You will feel your upper body might be tired and sore, but if you stretch and drink lots of water, you'll be fine."

The sisters insist that "Diva-ness is required at all times while reading this book." Suggestions for how to maintain "diva-ness" while reading include sipping a latte in a silk sarong while wearing "huge sunglasses and glitter sunscreen." In addition to surfboards and other gear, surf-diva lifestyle accessories such as candles, books, shoes (the kind not worn on the beach), and music are offered on their website.

The primary idea the Tihanyis wish to convey is found in their company's motto: "The best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun." -- Barbarella

Surf Diva: A Girl's Guide to Getting Good Waves Discussion and book-signing with authors Izzy and Coco Tihanyi Tuesday, March 8 7:30 p.m. Warwick's Bookstore 7812 Girard Avenue, La Jolla Cost: Free Info: 858-454-0347 or www.warwicks.com/events.html

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