SAN DIEGO - Meredith Rose says she learned how to swim before she could walk, and the Del Mar resident has parlayed her love of water into three Bodysurfing World Championships. Her winning ways continued over the weekend at an event in Coronado.
"When you slide down that face and you get that open face and than you get into that ultimate spot, is in that barrel, and you have that amazing moment of silence and beauty and energy where the wave just curls over you and you're all by yourself," said Rose.
Those moments caused Rose to ditch her surfboard for a hand plane. A bit of late bloomer, it wasn't until she turned 40 that she began taking the sport seriously.
"Almost like a dolphin," she said. "You're really riding the wave with the wave as oppose to on top of it or pushing water around with your board. The wave is taking you for a ride and you're riding with it, harnessing that energy."
In August 2017, she won her third world title at the World Bodysurfing Championships in Oceanside. A tough competitor, she says the hardest part was learning to be fearless.
"It was getting that mental fortitude to just commit to that wave, knowing it's big, knowing it's probably going to throw you into that barrel and you're probably going to have a tremendous wipeout in the end if you don't slip out the back," Rose said. "So it's just taking that risk and getting over that hump of not backing out."
On top of her accomplishments in the water, Rose was Dana Hills High School valedictorian. She went on to study cognitive science at the University of California San Diego and continues to be one of the few women in engineering.
"Currently my title is consulting systems engineer," said Rose. "Also people call it a network engineer so I consult with large companies on how to set up their network infrastructure for their data centers and campus environments."
Rose says she works with STEM mentoring to encourage more women to pursue engineering, a field she says is dominated by men.
"I work a lot with Cisco equipment and they have a very major conference every year, over 20,000 people and there's less than one percent of women in the engineering component of that conference."
Whether it be engineering or bodysurfing, Rose encourages others to challenge themselves, both mentally and physically.
"I don't think you have to be someone who can swim like an olympic swimmer," she said. "You just have to be able to see when the waves are coming, when is the right time to take off, what's the right time to make that commitment and the right time to get out and that's something you can learn with experience and there's lots of people willing to help you learn that."
Rose bodysurfs every weekend with the Del Mar Bodysurfing Club, an organization open to everyone at all skill levels.