American Icon ‘Gidget’ to speak at Health Expo

How did Kathy of Malibu surfing fame come to get her nickname of Gidget?

Kathy Kohner-Zuckerman, a.k.a the real Gidget, never intended to become an American icon.  All the gutsy, persistent 15-year-old really wanted to do was to learn how to surf and meet boys during her bucolic summer days in Malibu, California during the 1950s.

The experiences from that tiny dream, however, led to not only the highly successful novel “Gidget” about her California beach experiences, but were later turned into a movie of the same name starring Sandra Dee and a TV series starring Sally Field.  Combined, they sparked the California surfing craze and catapulted the surf culture into mainstream American life.

“All of a sudden everybody wanted to come to California, be Gidget, fall in love with Moondoggie, and meet the big Kahoona,” said Kohner-Zuckerman, who will share her incredible true-life story during the upcoming Health & Wealth Expo at Cypress Place Senior Living in Ventura.

Widely recognized as a pioneering female surfer in a predominantly male sport, and an inspiration to generations of surfer girls worldwide, she was ranked seventh among the 25 Most Influential Surfers of all time in Surfer Magazine’s 40th anniversary issue.  “Gidget” is the nickname the surfers at the time gave her, combining the words “girl” and “midget”, due to her small stature, according to Kohner-Zuckerman.

“We are thrilled to have Kathy as our guest speaker,” said Steve Spira, executive director at Cypress Place.  “Her story is amazing and is truly an inspiration to anyone who hears it.”

In addition to her keynote presentation, Kohner-Zuckerman will be signing copies of the “Gidget” novel immediately after her presentation.  Copies will be available for purchase as well.

Along with the keynote presentation, this year’s Health & Wealth Expo at the senior community will include over 30 vendors offering everything from free blood pressure, mini stroke, and vein screenings, free balance and hearing tests, free wealth management consultations, to veteran benefit information.  A free healthy gourmet lunch will also be provided.

Raffle prizes will be given away throughout the event including one grand prize; a 50” HD flat screen TV.   Admission is free and the event is open to the public.  Free shuttle parking will also be available.

This year’s event will take place on Wednesday April 27, from 11a.m. to 2p.m. at Cypress Place Senior Living in Ventura.  Come meet the real Gidget and hear how this inspiring woman refuses to let life limit her even today as a 75 year old surfing senior.

Corporate sponsors for the event are Assisted Home Care & Hospice, Coastal View Healthcare Center, Mission Home Health, Victoria Care Center, Ventura Vein Center, and Glenwood Care Center.

Cypress Place Senior Living is located at 1200 Cypress Point Lane in Ventura.  For more information or to RSVP, please call 650-8000.  To learn more about Cypress Place Senior Living of Ventura, visit their web site at


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