Women's Longboard World Championship in Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach -- Summer Romero, a 22-year-old coed accomplished the feat Oct. 31, 2004, in Huntington Beach by winning the Toes on the Nose Women's World Longboard Championship.

Growing up in Lakeside, Summer Romero didn't get on a surfboard until she was 13. Now she's a world champion.

Romero somehow manages to juggle the demands of college with the beckoning of the sea, which draws her to the waves nearly every morning.

"I want a career separate from surfing because I know surfing won't pay the bills," she said.

Her dual quest for professionalism in health care and surfing sets her apart among her peers in the women's surfing scene.

Despite being a rising longboarding star, Romero hasn't won any lucrative sponsorships to ease her dual quest for professionalism in medicine and surfing.

Romero grew up in the inland community of Lakeside, where riding horses and off-road vehicles is the norm.

At age 13, a family friend took her surfing at Ocean Beach and pushed her into her first wave. "I stood up my first time like it was nothing, and I was instantly hooked," she recalled.

During her teenage years, she became a regular at Tourmaline Surf Park in Pacific Beach.

As Romero's skills progressed, she began to compete in local contests.
She was runner-up at the 2001 women's longboard world championships in Costa Rica. The next year she won the Roxy Wahini Classic at San Onofre.

"Nothing feels better than being 10 toes over the nose on a big wave," said Romero, who's considered one of the best female noseriders. "It feels amazing."

Bob Long, a Pacific Beach surf shop owner who sponsors Romero, said her noseriding prowess is reminiscent of David Nuuhiwa, who dominated the style in the late '60s and early '70s.

Romero said she achieved a breakthrough at age 18, when she surfed for a month in Australia with three expert longboarders from San Diego, Shawn Hughes and brothers Quintin and Will Macklin.

"I was trying to imitate what the guys were doing. I couldn't, but I kept trying," she recalled.

Romero has trained herself do both ballet-like footwork as well as progressive-school power moves.

"She's doing it on her own," said Long, who said he considers her his second daughter. "She doesn't have big clothing companies paying her way like the other well-known women surfers.

"She's doing it for the love of it."

While the 5-foot-4 Romero is outwardly shy, her true nature is feisty and competitive.

"It doesn't matter if all she's doing is playing darts. She plays to win," a friend confided.

"She likes to be the underdog and then swoop in," said Bagalso. "You put her in saltwater and she glows."

When asked about her secret passions, friends said she cannot resist either prime rib or Disney movies.