Want to know what it is like to be a surfer girl? This pretty much sums it up.
Want to know what it is like to be a surfer girl? This pretty much sums it up.
I recently watched It Ain’t Pretty, a documentary about the women who surf the heavy, and often well-overhead, waves at Ocean Beach, San Francisco. I loved the sisterhood of the surfers portrayed in the film and the ultimate message of the film: women overcoming challenges and sexism that are rampant in the surf industry. The film focuses in on Bianca Valenti’s journey from childhood phenom to big-wave charger. Seeing images of authentic women getting out there and ripping is inspiring. After watching the film, I had to reach out to filmmaker Dayla Soul to ask her a few questions.
What inspired you to make this film?
I have been a surfer my whole life. I grew up on the north shore of Kauai where I learned to surf. Now living near Ocean Beach in San Francisco I have been surfing here for 20 years. I noticed other women surfing here would go out when it was fairly big. I would see them drop in to solid 15 footers. One particular women I would see actually getting barreled on big days turned out to be Bianca Valenti. I kind of wondered if there were any female surfing films of women that surfed here in Norcal. After doing a little research I only found one that was about Sarah Gerhardt and how she was the first women to surf Mavericks. The film was called One Winter Story directed by Elizabeth Pepin Silva and Sally Lundburg. That was pretty much it on women in Big Waves films that I found. I was perplexed because there are a lot of films on women surfing but they are usually in warm water surfing small waves in bikinis set to soft girl genre music. So one day after getting out of the water I was like, why don’t I make a short feature on couple of the girls surfing here and rent out our local theater? Long story short, it just spiraled into a much bigger story and project. I thought of the title before I even started filming. I was tired of seeing the same bikini images in surfing, and I wanted the title to represent that it is not always pretty. Sometimes it’s gnarly cold water in wetsuits!
What do you think is the most important message in the film?
My goal was to put out real footage on everyday dedicated surfers. Not necessarily professionals but super courageous women that surf everyday. To create images of women doing something that inspires others. Especially the youth. To use surfing as a metaphor in life to go out and get it!
What were the challenges in making this film?
Money was and still is a big challenge in filmmaking. I ran a Kickstarter early on that enabled me to buy good camera equipment. However, much of the film was paid for out of pocket. It was difficult juggling jobs while paying for the film. I’m happy that it is out there and finished. I’m not sure if I will make any money back, but I feel proud of the accomplishment and love that there is now a film that represents us in Norcal.
What is your relationship with surfing and the ocean?
I am married to the sea ! At times we battle, but we love each other. Surfing is everything to me!
What does it mean to you to “surf like a girl”?
A girl that surfs. Redefining what it is to be a women in the water is owning who we have always been. Taking back the view of being misrepresented in the world. Nothing has changed with us except peoples perspectives on what they think a girl can do. However it doesn’t mean we haven’t been doing those things all along.
Okay, tell us about your name?
My mom was a hippie and gave us interesting names. My brothers name is Corderoy. So that kinda how I walked away with this name. I was happy to find out about the band De La Soul in my 20’s. That kinda made me feel cool.
Any last thoughts?
The main thing I want people to get from the film is that anything is possible if you put your mind and “Soul” to it. Including holding the media accountable for images that misrepresent 90% of female surfing and give young girls a false standard to try and live up to.
Thank you, Dayla, for showing us what women’s surfing is all about–not string bikinis in crystal clear waves, but bad-ass women in full-suits, gloves, and hoods going out into macking, icy waves and totally charging!
Tides is Jonathan White’s romantic look at the motion of the sea. As surfers, we can all relate to the love, power, and majesty of the ocean that White explores in depth in his new book. As a writer, sailor, educator, and marine conservationist, White takes us around the globe from France to China to Panama to the Arctic and back again exploring tidal changes and the effects they have on the land and people. One particular chapter is about Mavericks, the big wave spot off the California coast that responds in its own finicky way to the tides and swells. Despite the abundance of scientific information, Tides becomes a surprisingly fascinating and highly readable book because of White’s deep love for the ocean.
Buy it now on Amazon.
Have you always wanted to learn to surf? Would you like to take your surfing to the next level? Join Heather Alley and myself for a one week intensive. Space is limited and we are really looking forward to this trip! For more info and to reserve your spot click here.
Dale Hope’s love letter to the aloha shirt can be found in the updated and revised edition of The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands released by Patagonia. 385 pages are filled with stories and imagery of the beautiful patterns and celebrated history of the iconic shirt. Surf legend Gerry Lopez introduces the book with his own connections to the aloha shirt and offers us a bit of the history. Lopez writes, “Dale’s meticulously researched book will reveal not only a rich history, but will also serve to stimulate the reader’s own ongoing immersion into the spirit of aloha.” The book takes us further by highlighting the pattern makers and tailors who pave the road for this fashion trend. With literally hundred of images, historic documents, and black-and-white photographs, not only do we learn about the aloha shirt but the history of the Hawaiian islands as well.
For example, did you know:
Dale Hope writes in the Prologue: “This history of such a marvelous cultural icon, so evocative of the spirit of its home, is woven with the mystery and allure of Hawai’i and the stories of those who have lived there.”
This book is a treasure for anyone who loves Hawaii and the lifestyle and fashion that come from such an enchanted place. Purchase your copy here.
I just got back from a restful, healing trip to the island of Kauai…a favorite place to enjoy perfect blue skies,
warm water, and breathe in toxic chemicals…Wait…what? Sorry to say that last line is true!
That’s because so many people are duped when it comes to using sunscreen, that they are literally spraying the air with cancer-causing chemicals in an attempt to “protect” their skin.
Here’s what I mean…and why it’s important to you.
Spray sunscreens have become all the rage for some reason (marketing and advertising at its “best”)–which which for the life of me I cannot understand.
Now if you are cringing as you read this because you, too, have been duped into thinking that you are doing something good for yourself–don’t take it personally!
Of course you can put whatever you want to on your skin–just please don’t expose me and other innocent people to the harmful fall out.
Here’s why I personally stay as far away from spray sunscreens as possible.
First of all, when you spray on sunscreen at the beach or pool, most of the product doesn’t even land on your skin. Instead, it is carried off by the wind (to land on me!) and worse–to be breathed in by innocent bystanders.
Why is it so bad to inhale spray sunscreens?
Well, some of you might be old enough to remember when aerosol sprays were banned because they were “destroying the ozone layer”. (Sort of like vintage global warming.)
These days, the sunscreen sprays are far more harmful because they are loaded with cancer-causing chemicals that, when sprayed, create a carcinogenic mist that carries these toxic chemicals right into your lungs, to then be directly absorbed by your blood stream, putting you at risk for lung disease/cancer, liver disease/cancer and other horrid illnesses and conditions.
Sunscreen sprays are are especially harmful to children, whose immune systems are still developing. That means these innocent children are breathing in toxic chemicals that their delicate lungs and liver cannot filter out.
And people wonder why there is such an increase in illness, disease and issues with early puberty, later infertility etc…
The fact that these spray sunscreens contain cancer-causing chemicals is not my opinion — it is fact.
Read the facts for yourself at http://www.ewg.org
Now grab your sunscreen (yes, even that expensive one you thought was “natural”) and compare it to this list of toxic ingredients.
KEY: Look under the list of “Active Ingredients” — this means the ingredients are active, doing something to change the skin or chemicals in your body.
Oxybenzone: Increases production of free radicals; increases the incidence and frequency of skin tumors
Homosalate: causes severe acne, skin irritation, skin allergies and inflammation
Avobenzone: unstable in sunlight; breaks down into chemicals which damage DNA
Octisalate: pushes more chemicals into skin for greater toxicity
Octocrylene: Increases production of free radicals that damage DNA damage and contributes to the increased incidence of malignant melanomas = CANCER
BHT: contributes to skin tumors and cancer growth
Diethylhexyl 2 6 Naphthalate: causes testicular atrophy
Parabens, including Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylrparaben, Ethlyparaben: these mimic estrogen production; cause problems with ovaries, testicles, infertility, reproductive issues, thyroid problems.
Octinoxate or Parsol 1789: mimics estrogen in the body, hinders thyroid function
Methoxycinnamate: implicated in cardiovascular disease; make skin more sensitive to the sun, causes allergies; toxic to liver and reproductive organs.
Retinyl palmitate: A type of Vitamin A, when used with sun exposure, this causes more skin tumors to grow, and to grow faster
For now, ditch the spray and do yourself, the environment, and others around you a huge favor!
Living Swell creator Peggy Hall has positively inspired thousands of people just like you to experience an ocean of bright shiny health and happiness by simplifying the ins and outs of what it takes to be naturally healthy and radiant. Peggy is the featured health expert for the ABC Radio Network and is creator of the best-selling Yoga for Surfers instructional DVD series, and the pioneer of the global surf + yoga movement.