Patti Paniccia

Los Angeles, 2023

I surfed in the Smirnoff, at Sunset, against the men. Eddie Aikau, Sammy Hawk, Owl Chapman and Terry Fitzgerald were all in my heat.

Matt Warshaw interviewed Patti Paniccia by email in 2023. 

*   *   *

I’m the daughter of immigrants. My father was born in Italy and my mother was born shortly after her family arrived in the US. He was a cabinet maker and then later became a contractor. He grew up during the Depression and didn’t finish high school—or maybe even elementary school—but he was really smart and hardworking, and I respected him tremendously.

My background is so unlike any surfer I’ve eve...