Tell me a bit about yourself, where you're from, and where you are currently living?
I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area originally, but I have lived in many places including, the redwoods of Humboldt County, Portland, Oregon, London, England. My husband is English and so is my son, we all hold dual citizenship. We currently live in the coastal town of Oceanside, California where I work as a closed caption transcriptionist for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Photo credit: Megan Youngblood @meganatsea
When and where did you start surfing?
I grew up bodyboarding so surfing was late, but a natural progression. I picked up my first board on a trip to the big island of Hawaii. I had always wanted to learn and was intrigued by the culture, I just didn't have any opportunities until that point. I think the timing was right and it was helpful to be in a low-pressure environment, just playfully trying out a friend's board. It helped that I already knew how to catch waves so I stood up on my first or second attempt. It was an immediate obsession after that!
Why did you start surfing?
I always wanted to learn. Being a water woman my whole life, it was the one sport I hadn't attempted and I admired it so much from a distance. It's intimidating initially, especially for a young, black woman. I didn't see other women like me doing that sport and therefore I didn't think it was attainable for me.
I got brave one day and tried and the rest is history.
Tell me about Textured Waves?
Textured Waves was created to propagate the culture and sport of women's surfing towards women of color and underrepresented demographics through representation, community, and sisterly camaraderie.
We are three African American surfer friends who formed this collective so young girls and women could see themselves reflected in the surf community. Something we longed for when we were growing up.
What's your mission and what message do you want to give?
We value integrity, inclusion, and advocating diversity in the water.
We want to encourage more women of color to embrace their natural state in the water. There is oftentimes fear and trauma associated with aquatic spaces for African American folks and we want to encourage and address those issues so we can reach out full potential as water women.
Did you ever face racism or sexism in the lineup?
Of course, I still get the occasional micro or macro comment from time to time, but it's not something I invite in. Some people want to dim your light thinking it will make their own shine brighter. They can't unless you let them.
Is there any association or program to encourage black people to get into surfing in your community?
There are several that we promote on our website texturedwaves.com/
Who inspires you the most?
I surround myself with many inspirational people. My husband Dominic, my son, my grandmother, my mom, my surf friends, my local community.
Do you feel you are also an inspiration for other women and black or brown people in the surf community?
I certainly strive to be. When you are a different hue than the majority of the people in your lineup, you stand out by default. I always try to be a good role model and am friendly to new faces in the lineup. I want surfing to feel less exclusive and more inviting to encourage the next generation to carve their own path.
Do you see a positive change in the surf, where women and black people are a minority?
There is certainly a shift with the current state of the world. I am hopeful that the tides have changed and more doors are opening up to us now.
What's your most memorable surf session?
Some of my best sessions have been in my own backyard on the tiny days, just laughing and sharing waves with friends.
Photo credit: @sandiegosurfphotos
Anything else you will like to share with us?
New film: "Sea us now" with the Seea + Textured Waves
Photo credit cover: Megan Youngblood @meganatsea
Thanks Danielle from your time, Aloha