Kathy Kohner is surfing’s cultural icon. Before Sally Field and Sandre Dee turned the iconic California surfer girl into a TV and movie celebrity, the real “Gidget” made surfing synonymous with California culture.
Kohner spent much of her childhood on the beaches of Malibu, where she started surfing at the age of 15.
Her father turned her journal documenting her surfing adventures into a best-selling novel, “Gidget: The Little Girl With Big Ideas,” which sold more than 500,000 copies and was translated into Japanese, Spanish, and Yiddish, among other languages.
Both the fictional and real "Gidget," as much as The Beach Boys or anyone else, helped put surfing on the map.