When other girls my age were trying out for cheerleading, I was trying to become a surfer - hanging with the surfer boys at Gilgo Beach and at a spot we called the Azores on Long Island. I didn't want to date them, I wanted to be them.

Well, clearly, I never got to be them, and despite the fact that I didn't want to date them, I married one of them after all.

As a new bride, my ex and I went to Hawaii, where he dreamed of finding, yes, the perfect wave. The perfect wave to him was a tsunami while mine was something more like a bad day in Long Beach (I knew we were mismatched!).

I wiped out so badly, that I vowed that if I made it back to shore alive and at least intact, I'd never get on a board again. I knew then what I'd always suspected: Horrors! I just didn't have the surfing gene.

And now there's Boarding House: North Shore, reality honcho Mark Burnett's (search) newest (and best) reality show about real, real surfers.

Six world-class surfers live together in a house in Oahu, Hawaii while they compete in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (search), a three-part competition that is well, the triple crown of surfing.

For once, there's a show where the female athletes are sensational. They aren't out there to kiss up to guys and behave like sex objects (well, not in the first show anyway). They're professional surfers who are among the best athletes in the world. And they compete in a sport that is really a man's game because it takes more than incredible skill -- it takes brawn, and er, bravery.

The competitors are Sunny Garcia (search), a 33-year old Hawaiian legend in surfing with a hair-trigger temper; Holly Beck (search), a 22-year-old college grad and founder of the female surfer's union, established to help women surfers achieve equality on the circuit; Danny Fuller (search), 21, a Hawaiian, who's already in world competition; and Veronica Kay (search), the most famous young female surfer, who is a model/spokesperson for Roxy clothes -- and has made enough money in the water to send her mom to college.

There's also Damien Hobgood, 23, who along with his brother is a world-ranked surfer; Chelsea Georgeson, a 19-year old Aussie, who began dominating in competition straight out of high school, and is favored to win among some of the house members; and, finally, Myles Padaca, 32, another champ who's into extreme surfing and has come to defend his last year's Triple Crown win.

The first show isn't too much about the interactions of the housemates - which is fine with me - and very much about the sport, with the most fantastic surfers on the world's most dangerous waves.

I loved every minute of it, and if I hadn't made that vow about never getting up on a board again, I swear, I swear, I cudda been a contendah. Or maybe that's bartendah.

Boarding House: North Shore
Tomorrow at 8 p.m.

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