Sheldon steps up for Sea Hawks
The surf was a pumping six- to eight-feet at Knob Hill apartment in Redondo Beach. It wasn’t looking like Redondo, but more like the North Shore’s Off the Wall.
Ailidh Shelden dropped in on a six-foot wall at Knob Hill, dug in with her right hand and spanked the lip all the way down the line.
A week later the spunky, 5-foot-6 Sheldon with long, wavy, sun bleached brown hair, bleached hair and freckles on her cheeks came hobbling up to my front door on crutches with a knee-high orthopedic boot. Fellow Redondo High senior Ethan Pezzolo was walking next to her in case she fell and needed somebody to pick her back up.
I figured she broke her foot trying to land a big coaster. “I was playing basketball and landed wrong after stuffing the layup. I feel so stupid,” she said.
Shelden started surfing when she was eight. ET Surfboards had a surf camp at Torrance beach. Store manager Dan Del Castillo was the first to shove her into a wave on a big soft top. She put surfing on hiatus until she reached 11 and joined the Junior Lifeguards. Then she set her board aside again until her sophomore year. Now, she can’t stop.
Her first board was a BZ Soft Top. Now she rips on a 5-foot-6 Dan Cobley and loves running to the nose on her 8-foot-9 Matt Bettis longboard.
The aggressive regular footer is a consistent top-three finisher in the South Bay High School Surf League contests and has placed second several time’s in the Junior Women’s division of the South Bay Boardriders Contests.
Her home break is the South Side of the Manhattan Beach Pier, where she shares the waves with her best friend Chanelle Cautognao. Her favorite spot is Malibu on a 4-foot day. She said it’s perfect for her lip snaps. Sheldon likes surfing with Pezzolo, Jennifer Doyle, and Jessie Duston because they push her into going higher off the lip. She named pro surfers Sally Fitzigibbons and Kelia Moniz as her major surfing influences. She hasn’t been anywhere far away yet, but she is planning a trip to Hawaii this summer and is hoping to go with the Redondo High surf team to Costa Rica next winter. DZ