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And let's face it, you stop worrying about how your bathing suit fits or if that yellow zinc oxide flatters your complexion when you're paddling like hell to elude a monster wave (OK, 4-feet-tall was monster to me) that's eager to drown your inconsequential self.

For me, surf camp also gave me a new identity: I now can call myself a "chick with stick" (slang for surfboard) and have since paddled out in waters that were rife with testosterone. But I stay out of the experts' way, I don't drop in or steal anyone's wave, and I only ride the little ones. The thing is, now I can tell that some of them aren't any better than me. They're just guys.

For more information about Las Olas surf camp, visit the web site (http://www.surflasolas.com). Besides surfing, more women-only sports instruction is cropping up everywhere -- from the slopes to the shore. If you don't see a program for your favorite activity, ask around. Here's a sampling.

  • Dirt-biking: Dirt Camp -- women-only camps in Moab, Utah; http://www.dirtcamp.com.
  • Rowing: Row As One -- women-only, elite-level instruction; http://www.tiac.net/users/rowasone.
  • Golfing: LPGA Golf Clinics for Women; http://www.jbcgolf.com.
  • Girl's soccer: Soccer Plus -- session for girls aged 10 and up and aged 15 and up in Connecticut; http://www.soccerpluscamps.com.
  • Fly-fishing: Mel Krieger International School of Fly Fishing -- women-only casting seminars; http://www.flyfishschool.com.
  • Girls basketball: Hoop Mountain -- for girls aged 12 to 17; http://www.hoopmountain.com. Also Nike Sports Camps; http://www.eSportsCamps.com.
  • Snowboarding: Many resorts offer women-only instruction. Ask your local resort or check out http://www.wesweat.com/snowboarding/training/resources.html.

Jennifer Howze is a freelance writer in New York City.

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