A champion of inclusivity and diversity, Danielle founded Textured Waves – a women’s surf community challenging underrepresentation of women of color in the water – alongside her friends Chelsea Woody and Martina Duran. We’re so inspired by the work they are doing together and were thrilled to have an opportunity to talk to Danielle about their work and mission.
What inspired you to create Textured Waves?
We [Chelsea Woody, Martina Duran and Danielle Lyons Black] met online and bonded over our shared experiences and love of the ocean. We didn’t feel represented in surf media, so we decided to create a space for women of color to see themselves in the sea. We aim to normalize imagery of black and brown faces in aquatic spaces, with a mission to inspire more women of color to try surfing.
What do you enjoy most about working with your Co-Founders, Chelsea and Martina?
Working together allows us all a creative outlet outside of our careers. We feed off each other's energy and all bring something different to the table. Chelsea is a beautiful writer and visionary, Martina is a brilliant scientist and has a head for business and numbers. I feel honored to work alongside such strong women and it's always a joy to share waves with them.
As you’re all based in different cities across the country, how do you navigate working together remotely? Are there any unexpected benefits?
It's worked out well so far. Most folks are working remotely these days, so for us it's just an extension of that. We talk regularly, hold meetings and operate like most places of business. One of the benefits has been that we all live in iconic surf towns, so it's been fun to visit and surf each others' home breaks and create content together.
What first drew you to the ocean and to surfing?
I grew up as a water baby; both of my parents were involved in water sports and my father was an avid cliff diver. I spent much of my youth in the Pacific and Carribean oceans snorkeling, bodyboarding and playing in the waves. I idolized surf culture as a young girl but wasn’t introduced to surfing until my late teens when I caught my first waves on the big island of Hawaii with a friend's longboard. The sea has remained a source of connection, renewal and inspiration and has taught me many lessons in self acceptance as a black waterwoman.
Are there any mantras that particularly resonate with you?
"Be true to yourself."
What do you hope to see in the future of surfing?
More women and girls enjoying the waves!
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