Back in 2012, about 3 years before launching Seafoam, I decided to move from Belgium to Wales, bringing me from a pretty much landlocked situation to the beautiful Welsh coast. It was while trying to find fellow surf women in the area that I came across the 'Surf Senioritas' group.
The women-empowering surf group was set up here in Wales in 2011 by Dani, Carys and Sarah and has an online community that is growing internationally. It offers a place where women can find surf mates, support, share ideas or ask for some honest advice. I would like to introduce you all to Dani, the current 'lady-boss', by sharing a few Q&A's.
First of all... Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started surfing?
I'm Dani and I started surfing around the age of 19/20 - I was a late starter! I grew up watching surfers on Anglesey but had to wait until the magic of a student loan before I could buy my own boards and suit.
Could you tell us a little more about Surf Senioritas?
Surf Senioritas is a really helpful and useful online community for women in surfing. We want to encourage as many women as possible to tackle their fears head on and get in the sea, not only with surfing but also more generally, women don't access the great outdoors as much as men which is something we are trying to change. You can come to the group to find surfers in your area or a companion for other activities!
What inspired you to start Surf Senioritas?
I was sick of surfing alone (or with very unhelpful boys who would leave me to drown). Surfing can be intimidating. We've all sat in our cars looking out at the sea thinking 'I've made a mistake, I can't do this'. If you're with a friendly face it's easier to overcome that initial nervousness and get out there! That's what we've tried to further with the creation of our academies. Michelle Moyse (in Devon) and Leanne Bird (South Wales) are regularly at their local beaches and ready to get girls out into the sea!
What achievements (surf senioritas/personal) are you most proud of?
I am very proud of what we've become. We are a safe space for women to talk about things they want to achieve with no fear of asking a 'stupid question'. We are all super supportive! I'm also amazingly proud of our academy instructors who are working so hard all the time to make our beaches more inclusive places for women everywhere. It always makes me so happy when I see two women making a connection and a salty friendship that will hopefully lead to many adventures.
Did setting up the group come with any challenges/disappointments?
Yes! Loads! We have had so many set backs and disappointments. We have tried things like hoodies that didn't go well for example. Sometimes people ask us to provide things but then no one attends which can be heart breaking! But there are no successes without failures. We will always have the time old challenge where some men (maybe some women?) see us as a 'sexist group'. As women we have had to overcome a lot historically to get where we are today and yes, although things are improving, we are still systematically at the bottom of the chain when it comes to things like sport. That's the attitude we need to change. Giving women a safe space to achieve is just balancing the playing field.
Have you made any special surfing memories?
So many! On our surf senioritour last year we hit Saunton in Devon. I met lots of the local ladies and we even got to surf with dolphins! That was so special. I also have been a volunteer and a coordinator for the wave project for around 3 years. Seeing the faces of young people catching waves for the first time is unforgettable and makes your heart soar like nothing else.
You are passionate about getting women into surfing, do you have any advice for beginners or fellow surf women?
I would say stop thinking 'I can't do that' or 'I'm not good enough' because none of us are! None of us were amazing the minute we bought a board. Each one of us has battled nerves and panic and all sorts to get out there and we deserve to be in the water as much as anyone else. Don't be afraid. Find a seniorita and get going out regularly. We've all been the kook with a leash wrapped around our legs and seaweed across our face in the white water, it's all part of the journey!
If you could choose any surf destination in the world, where would you go?
Costa Rica looks absolutely incredible but I think I'd have to go for Hawaii. Where better than the home of surfing?
Last but not least, what is/are your favourite(s) from the Seafoam website?
Now there's a question! I love pretty much everything but more importantly I love the ethical and body positive messages from Seafoam. If I had to pick one (or two) I love the two piece sets from Salt Gypsy at the moment, they're so classic. I also love eco brand Odina's Leilani leggings! It's a good job Seniroitas get a discount
Also looking for a great women's surfing community?
Join Surf Senioritas on Facebook or give them a follow on Instagram.