Category Archives: Pros

Interview with Filmmaker Dayla Soul

Headshot Dayla Soul Director IAP 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!

Check out It Ain’t Pretty on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Comcast.

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Not Pretty Enough to Sponsor?

Sometimes we are sorely disappointed in the surf industry. BBC News Magazine shares a short documentary of bad-ass Brazilian surfer, Silvana Lima. Although she is Brazil’s number one surfer, she had trouble obtaining sponsorship because she didn’t have “model” looks. Attention should be paid to surfers with significant talent rather than basing sponsorship dollars on a pretty face.

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Bruna

Brazilian pro-surfer Bruna Schmitz is featured in this beautiful short film by Tyler Haft. “At the age of 9, Bruna discovered a passion for the ocean and surfing, which lead to a future of travel and opportunities beyond the village borders. With these opportunities came difficult sacrifices of leaving family members behind for over a decade to venture out alone and pursue her dreams.”

 

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Pauline Ado Tells it Like it Is

I have been thinking a lot about this lately. I am tired of seeing young twenty-somethings with perfect bodies in tiny bikinis advertise for women’s surfing. This is not to take away from being beautiful, or young, and most of these girls are killer surfers, but I would just like some equal representation. I also wonder who they are marketing to, certainly not real surfer girls. As a fourty-ish athletic, but not perfect bodied surfer, I am not interested in bikini bottoms that ride up my butt, triangle tops that fall off when I wipe out, or  wetsuits that don’t keep you warm. Let’s let the surfing do the talking and maybe bring some realism to women’s surfing apparel. Thank you Pauline Ado for starting the conversation.

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Here’s to breaking glassy waves gals!

It has been a long road but thanks to surfers like Lisa Andersen and Layne Beachley and many before. Going all the way back to surfing queens in Hawaii-paving the way, on today’s pro-circuit women and girls are seeing better or more equal prize money. This Swatch/Hurley Pro at Trestles 2015 the women will win equal prize money to their male counterparts for surfing the same waves. Woot Woot! Thank you for listening ASP! Read article here.

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by | September 11, 2015 · 3:59 am

Save Lolita

Peggy Oki whale

We at Surf Like a Girl love all things about the ocean, especially its natural inhabitants. Our good friend Peggy Oki’s Origami Whales Project has put out the call for help to urge Miami Seaquarium to gracefully retire Lolita, an orca whale who has been held in captivity for almost 45 years. Marine mammal experts have proposed a retirement plan in which Lolita would be transferred to a coastal sea pen, and, once she re-learns the skills necessary for survival, rejoin her family in the wild. Even if it is determined that Lolita is unable to recover from the years spent alone in a tank, she deserves to live as natural a life as possible. It is so easy to help. Just click here and fill out the sample letter or create one of your own.

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You Can’t Handle the Cuteness!

We continue to celebrate mothers with this adorable video of Daize Shayne Goodwin and her son catching a giggle-filled wave at Waikiki.

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