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on a profile title below to read some inspirational
stories about Las Olas alumnae. If you are an alumnae,
here to send us your story. We'd be happy to
edit and post an account of your Las Olas experience.
Growing up in Southern California, Carol Dalton
surfed up to the time she started art school in Santa
Barbara. Wanting to focus on her education, she found
that she couldn't maintain both the lifestyle of an
artist and a surfer. So surfing was put on hold.
Carol met her husband Lowell, also an artist, while
in school. When the couple graduated, they found Santa
Barbara to be a little too complacent, so they settled
on the edge of the Bay Area where they opened a frame
shop. Immersing herself in her business and the local
art scene, it seemed her surfing days were long gone.
As Carol began establishing her place as an accomplished
fine artist, her future appeared fairly predictable.
However, a swell of challenges were now forming on
In 2000, Carol had just finished renovating her new
studio, when she was crushed by dire news from her
doctor. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her
choices were few. She elected to try a battery of
treatments including surgery, but her focus was to
get back in her studio as soon as she was able to
walk. Carol painted throughout chemotherapy, knowing
that just being in her studio would make her stronger.
She did a whole body of work during that period. “It
was helpful for my recovery to come here, to just
commune with my studio,” she said. “The
work I did then looked heavy-duty, raw. Now it’s
getting more lighter, healthier looking.”
battle raged on, but she fought to beat it with mind
and soul. She wasn't about to surrender. She fine
tuned her diet and exercised as much as she could
bear. Finally, her sheer will was showing signs of
Two years later, Carol had a benchmark check up. If
she were cancer free now, she'd be statistically past
the point of remission. Clinically, she'd have her
life back. The results came in negative for cancer.
Willpower and the unwavering aid of family, friends
and some good doctors landed her on the survivors'
For sometime, Bev Sanders had been suggesting
Carol go surfing with her at Las Olas. Interest sparked,
Carol decided to first test the waters in Santa Barbara.
She hadn't surfed in 30 years, but it came right back.
Feeling strong, healthy, and fortunate, she signed
up for Las Olas in January. In Mexico, still nervous
that she didn't have the skills she once had, Carol
sat attentively through the classroom lessons, then
paddled out for her moment of truth. Sitting on the
shoulder, she checked the scene, picked her wave,
and paddled in like it was yesterday. The photo of
her first bottom turn proves she never lost it.
story of Carol’s surfing ability quickly made
it’s way through the Las Olas news network.
“Carol ripped in Mexico!” was the standard
headline. She was humbled, “I surfed like it
had only been two weeks, not 30 years since surfing
last. I had the coordination; I was just a little
stiffer, but I felt like I was 16 years old.”
Bev agreed, “We've been hosting women surfers
for over five years and I've never seen any guests
surf like Carol. And to think, she hadn't surfed in
three decades! She's amazing!”
Back home Carol's work showed signs of renewal.
Her paintings are often earthy and dry in color and
texture, conjuring essence of desert, sand, rock,
and dry branches. Her newest work draws from ocean
and sky, employing a cool palette and adding playful
botanicals, inspired by her recent trip to Las Olas.
Alumni will immediately recognize the influence of
the Mexican surf village.
Carol uses her perspective to help viewers make the
connection with the natural world, calling her paintings
environmental pieces. “My work will always be
about my environment.”
Carol has proven that she can beat cancer,
work as an artist, and still surf along the way. “I've
learned that it’s important to do things you
love now. I was naive to think I had to make a choice,
so don’t wait to enjoy things.” Carol
feels fortunate to have learned this lesson in time.
Some 30 years ago, Carol traded her love to surf for
her love to paint. She admits, she would not be where
she is today without sacrifice and self-discipline.
So after a successful show recently, one may have
guessed she'd buy more paints and canvas.
She bought a wetsuit and a new surfboard.