Sandy Ordille

Sandy Ordille began surfing in 1960 at five years old along the beaches of South Jersey on a molded styrofoam board her mom purchased at the local “Five and Dime Store”. Throughout her long surfing career, she showed her formidable talent through many ESA Championship campaigns during the late 60s, 70s and early 80s. Always one of the most talented and aggressive stylists in the water, Ordille, a contemporary of South Jersey female greats like East Coast Surfing Hall of Famers Barbie Belyea (Class of 2012) and Linda Davoli (Class of 2002),  she turned professional in 1977 and participated in the inaugural years of The IPS Women’s Pro Tour.  

In 1977, Ordille traveled to South Africa, where she placed 3rd in The Gunston 500 in Durban. After the event she embarked on a life changing surf road trip to Jeffreys Bay organized by IPS Pro Tour Director Randy Rarick, which included all the top pros from Hawaii. The group scored perfect J-Bay for over a week and formed many lifelong friendships. The next stop on the inaugural IPS Pro Tour was Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the “Waimea 5,000,” in which she placed third and made the cover of The Rio Times daily newspaper. 

For a half dozen years, Ordille traveled the world participating on the IPS and ASP Tour on a shoestring budget, surfing with and against the world’s very best, earning high placings in many pro events such as The Mazda Invitational at Solana Beach, California in 1980, where she placed third behind newcomer and eventual 4x World Champion Frieda Zamba and Hawaiian legend Rell Sunn. In that time, Ordille settled in La Jolla, California with her mom and soon became a member of the legendary WindanSea Surf Club when it was revitalized in 1981.  Drawn to the quality and consistency of Hawaiin surf, Ordille later lived and worked on Kauai for 20 years surfing during the day and working conventions at the 5-star hotels at night. Ordille returned to San Diego in 2012, where she remains today, staying active as a volunteer for surf museums, archiving the early years of women’s pro surfing and participating in events that promote women in surfing.

Yet time hasn’t faded her love for home — every once in a while, especially in the Fall, Ordille can’t help but check the Ocean City wave report and think about one of her fondest memories: It was in the Summer of 1968 when she graduated from surfing on a molded white styrofoam board her mom had purchased.  Ordille gathered up some courage and asked to borrowed her big brother Pete’s custom 9’6” Hobie. She paddled out beyond the rock jetty in perfect Ocean City surf and caught one all the way to the beach. That was the one that hooked her for life. Sandy Ordille was inducted into the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame in 2016.

Photos by Bill Barnfield, John Cocozza and courtesy of Sandy Ordille