LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE (CBSLA.com) — Patti Paniccia never knew future technology would help her relive the past.

In 1976 on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, she was part of a new wave of women surfing professionally.

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“I was on the very first women’s pro tour,” she said. “Surfing is my life.”

She was one of only six women on that tour, but most of the photographs from that time were of men. Then one day she saw one picture that took her back in time.

“Oh, my God! That’s me!” she exclaimed. “I was pretty stoked.”

She recognizes the lightning bolt on her board, and her stance — arms out.

She even remembers the day.

“Somebody had written in there, oh, that’s Reno Abellira, who’s a pro surfer, a man! They never thought, you know, you could have a woman surfing waves that big back then,” Paniccia said. “But I said, ‘No, that’d be me.’ ”

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She first saw the photograph on a Facebook page called The Lost and Found Collection put up six years ago by a man on a mission.

Doug Walker is tracking down the photographers and the surfers they captured in such magnificent moments of time.

Walker saw the boxes of 30,000 negatives at the Rose Bowl flea market and bought them all.

“It’s my journey. I don’t know,” Walker said. “I want people to enjoy it.”

He’s making friends and meeting legends along the way.

“These women established what the sport is today for women,” Walker said. “And I think it’s really cool.”

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“I never would have thought I would be sitting down, what 40 years later, looking at this photo,” Paniccia said.