"Some of my best sessions have been in my own backyard on the tiny days, just laughing and sharing waves with friends. Those are the sessions that bring me the most joy."
Tell us a little about yourself
I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area originally, but I have lived in many places including, the redwoods of Humboldt county, Portland, Oregon and 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
How did you get into surfing? Any big moment AHA when realized that this is your passion?
I grew up body boarding so surfing was a late, but natural progression. I picked up my first board on a trip to the big island of Hawaii in college. I had always wanted to learn and was intrigued by the culture, so the timing was right and it was helpful to be in a low pressure environment, just playfully trying out a friends board. It helped that I already knew how to catch waves so I stood up on my first or second attempt and shared that first wave with a sea turtle riding the wave beneath me. It was an immediate obsession after that.
Most memorable surfing experience? Good or bad.
Some of my best sessions have been in my own backyard on the tiny days, just laughing and sharing waves with friends. Those are the sessions that bring me the most joy. The most memorable are probably the ones that make my heart flutter. A really big south swell blew in a few years ago and I dropped into a wave that was double overhead on my 9' Takayama. The wave came right to me with no one else in position, it was absolutely meant for me. I was the furthest outside which meant everyone's eyes were on me so I felt pressure not to fuck it up. I took a deep breath and made the drop, carving a beautiful bottom turn. I remember glancing at my right looking at the wave face standing up twice as tall as me but still holding space for me. I was flying and sea spray was in my face. I took a high line to attempt to float off the lip, but the combination of my speed and offshores spit me out the top. I could hear my girlfriend's screaming, cheering for me and the guy sat next to me, with eyes bugged out said, "I didn't think you would go, that was a beast." I was physically shaking from the adrenaline rush. It was not my longest wave but it certainly reminded me I was alive and that I would likely never pursue a big wave career, haha! I'm not sure my heart could take it.
How have you overcome fear / limiting beliefs when trying something new or when you encountered your first big wave?
Breath work is an important part of my practice. When I get scared or nervous dropping into a wave I always take a big breath and set my intention while I am paddling. Having a loose plan sets me up for a better ride. Which way is the wave breaking, left or right? Are there any hazards in my path? Is this wave going to be a nose riding opportunity or do I want to be in trim and carve? This practice of self talk helps me slow down and focus on what I'm doing in the moment so I can enjoy the ride.
What was the inspiration behind Textured Waves (LOVE this community by the way)
Textured Waves was created to propagate the culture and sport of womens surfing towards women of color and underrepresented demographics through representation, community and sisterly camaraderie.
We are three African American surfer friends located in different parts of the States (Chelsea Woody, Santa Cruz, Martina Duran, Honolulu, myself in San Diego) 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.
You're a woman of many superpowers so what does a day in Danielle's life look like?
My day begins with helping my son get ready for school. I check the surf report while we get ready and pack up my car in between getting him breakfast.
I surf for a few hours, typically solo or with surf friends. When I come home, I help my son with schoolwork. My husband and I both work remotely, so sometimes this is already done. My workday runs from 11-5pm, and I'm usually captioning or working on Textured Waves business.
I typically sketch while I'm working. My job involves a lot of talking so keeping my hands busy with drawing helps me keep pace with captioning and makes the time pass quickly.
In the evenings we go on family walks or sunset swims at the beach. The water is getting colder, so I anticipate our swims will be slowing down.
Then it's dinner and a movie. I go to bed early and am known for passing out mid movie!
Who have been your personal inspirations?
I admire many different people in and out of the surf world.
I've worked closely with some amazing organizations like Changing Tides Foundation, Earth Technologies, Encinitas 4 Equality, Kindhumans, Kateboards, The Gnar Gnar Honeys and Un Mar de Colores as well as my own collectives; Textured Waves and 1 Planet One People. I really admire folks who look beyond themselves and give back to their local communities. Surrounding myself with positive, creative, likeminded humans has made me a better version of myself. It's also opened up so many opportunities for new friendships and collaboration.
Stay up to date on Danielle's adventures:
"Sea us now" with the Seea
"Textured Waves" with The Gnar Gnar Honeys