Dorothy De Rooy (Vidgen) is a former professional surfer and champion who was born in Breda, Netherlands in 1948. When she was three years old, her family immigrated to Australia, and they eventually settled in Mona Vale, where her maternal grandparents were already living. Dorothy attended Mona Vale Public School before moving to Newport and attending Narrabeen Girls High School (formerly known as Narrabeen Ladies College).
Dorothy’s interest in surfing started when she was about 11 or 12 years old, and she borrowed a surfboard to catch her first wave at The Basin in Mona Vale. She quickly became passionate about the sport and started to compete in local competitions. Her first trophy was in 1960, when she was just 13 years old, and she won the NSW Championships in 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1966. She also won the ASA Championship in 1963 and came in second place in the NSW Championships in 1967.
1964 was a significant year for Dorothy as the World Championships came to Manly, and surfing was gaining popularity throughout Australia. It was also the year she won the NSW Open Class Women’s Surfboard Riding Championship for the third year in a row. Her style of surfing was known for its boldness and lack of daintiness, which set her apart from other competitors.
Outside of surfing, Dorothy’s mother owned the Copper Nook shop in Mona Vale for 25 years, and her father worked for a company that specialised in a unique application used for various purposes, including airport tarmacs and changing windows at Australia Square. Her family also owned tennis courts near Newport Primary School, and her father built units next to Alcatraz, intending to upgrade their little house.
Dorothy was the first in her family to visit relatives in the Netherlands and converse with her grandmother in Dutch, thanks to her parents’ effort to maintain the language at home. She considers the Netherlands her second home and continues to surf and enjoy life in Australia.