The Rule Breakers: Danielle Black Lyons

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If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that inspiration can spark from anywhere. It’s the movers and shakers that bring ideas to life, introduce new opportunities and make a lasting impact in communities. In our Rule Breakers series, we’re spotlighting individuals who aren’t afraid to pursue their passion and create their own path. Read on to learn more about surfer, Danielle Black Lyons.
The sea is my daily source of connection, renewal and inspiration.”
When did you first discover a passion for surfing?
My passion began on the big island of Hawaii. I borrowed a friend's longboard and got hooked after seeing a sea turtle swimming under my board on my first wave. It's been the most rewarding sport I have ever been a part of.
The ocean can be viewed as a relaxing escape or a fear of the unknown. What obstacles have you faced when hitting the water and what approaches did you take to overcome it?
I grew up with a strong respect for the ocean and waterways. Swimming and aquatic sports have always been at the forefront of my life. Most family gatherings and weekend plans revolved around the ocean, rivers or lakes. I suppose I was conditioned to love the water due to my early exposure and all the joyful memories I have surrounding it. The sea is my daily source of connection, renewal and inspiration. I have surfed all over the world and definitely had my share of self-doubt when I paddled out to new breaks (whether it was heavy conditions or the crowd). My mantra in those situations is to be kind, follow etiquette and when it's time, take off steep and deep, and don't mess it up!
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Photo Credit: Megan Youngblood
As a co-founder of Textured Waves, how do you go about promoting diversity, inclusion and belonging in the surf community?
We use our platform to promote creative content of black and brown women of color surfers in an effort to normalize diversity in the water. Co-founders, Chelsea Woody, Martina Duran and myself are all spread out in proximity, but we share a bond of sisterhood through our connection and love of wave riding. In our individual regions, we are creating community through our shared passion for surfing. We want to encourage more women of color to find joy in aquatic spaces.
Covid-19 has affected all of our lives in many ways. What have you found to be silver linings of the pandemic?
I have actually felt more connected to my community than ever through digital pathways. We have held several roundtable discussions online, participated in podcasts, held digital and socially distant screenings of our new film "Sea Us Now" and co-organized the largest Paddle Out for Unity (that I am aware of), in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, in Encinitas, CA. Over 5,000 people were present in support of the peaceful paddle out. It was incredibly moving to see the community rally in support.
Keep up with Danielle on Instagram: @salty.sol
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