Dayla Soul / Bianca Valenti

Women in big wave surfing are breaking down many stereotypes. Images like this one, shows that women can be really rad athletes, taking on huge challenges, painting the images of females owning traits like physical and mental strength, independence, courage and bravery.

Dayla Soul, USA

Originally from Hanalei, Kauai in Hawaii, Dayla moved to California about 10 years ago. A licensed tile setter by trade, Dayla has worked in construction
for over 20 years she owns her own tile company remodeling people’s homes. The occupation was chosen because it gave Dayla the freedom to surf whenever she
wanted. Dayla now has her hopes set on becoming a full time Filmmaker, currently directing her first film on women’s surfing, called It Aint Pretty.

“I have grown up surfing and have it in my blood. I wanted to make a film on women’s surfing because I don’t see a lot of films out there talking about how women are portrayed in women’s board sports in the media. Much less about women and Big Waves. So I set out 2 years ago and it’s been an amazing journey of friendships, incredible footage and watching a movement happen. 
While filming the movie we had a couple of big paddle outs, where 60 women suited up and surfed together in a very local spot. Thought it would be a good way to get the project out there and create a community. Also we filmed the women who surf Mavericks on some of the biggest days on record.”
When and why did you get in to photography?
“I had to learn photography very quickly while in the process of filming. I still consider myself a novice, but the images can always speak for themselves.”
What made you get in to action, extreme or adventure sports?
“I used to surf a lot so I thought it would be easy enough to break out the camera and film all the action. Now it turns out I barely have time to surf
anymore because every time it’s good, I am filming the girls. Rest assure, when I go into editing to finish the film, I’ll be out there too!”


What’s your worst/best/most intense moment related to action sports?
“Best moment would be in Mexico getting long right hand barrel after barrel. Hands down Barra Barra is my favorite surf destination!”
What/Who is you favorite initiative, project, professional, leader, athlete or brand in the action sports sphere?
“Cori Schumacher, because she has not only sacrificed so much for what she believes in, but she is taking action and is at the heart of this movement. She’s also a three- time women’s longboard champion.
My subject Bianca Valenti would qualify as my biggest inspiration, because of her pure human awesomeness. She is also the first ever Official women’s
Big wave World champion, so there’s that!”


What do you think of the lack of role models for girls and women in male dominated areas?
“I’m not sure how it all started, but I know generation after generation of women trying to beat down the door of equality. I say we just build our own doors to walk through, and create our own media outlets to highlight what we well deserve. How do we know that “sex sells” when it is the only marketing tool that is being used? Have we tried anything else?”
How do you see women evolving in the action sports scene?
“This is why I’m filming a movie about this topic- I think we have enough women right now in the world to shift the whole paradigm. We just have to organize and get all of us together to take action, because that’s where our power is.”
What are your hopes for the future of the industry?
“I hope to see more diversity and opportunities for women in board sports, or athletes in general. There’s nothing wrong with showing sexy in ads, but we can focus on ability while doing it. ”


What is the number one preconception or prejudice people have about you?
“That I look like a boy. In San Francisco it is pretty common, however I still get adverse looks and surprise when they find out I’m a woman. I don’t mind it at all, except when men start over treating me like a dude.  Then it’s not cool.”

Do you have a feature or body part that you have been self-conscious about? Do you think low self-esteem in girls and stereotypes in media are
“I’m a little self-conscious about having some tummy rolls. Especially around all these fit surfers. For myself I find some acceptance with it. For younger girls however, the unattainable images out there absolutely make them self-conscious. I see it in my 14 year old step daughter all the time.”


Is there a difference in how women and men are portrayed in the action sports industry?
“Women are fluffy little sex bunnies, and men are brutal warriors and titans.”


What would you say to people who want to get in to action sports, but think they might not fit in?
“Always follow your heart and never let what you think others say about you, stop you from doing what you love.”

Bianca Valenti, USA

Best known today as a professional big wave surfer, Californian Bianca Valenti enjoys riding both longboards, shortboards, fun boards, and body surfing. Bianca is a water woman, and surfing is clearly Bianca's passion and the essence of her existence. 
In late March, 2014, Bianca became the first female Big Wave World Tour Champion, and 2015 will mark the first year that women will be allowed to compete in Jeff Clark's infamous Mavericks event. This is a huge step in the right direction for women in action sports everywhere.
According to Bianca; Food and Wine, Skateboarding, Snowboarding, Environmental Action/Awareness, Freedom Fighting and Fun concludes the list of what she enjoys doing:
 “I fell in love with surfing when I was 7 years old.  I have always felt a very strong passion and connection to the ocean and mother nature.   I like to describe myself as a high energy personable and friendly surf addict with a passion for food, wine, and the environment.  I am a part time professional surfer.  I am full time professional fun.  I am a surf coach, event manager, and in charge of an organic olive oil company?I like to keep my professional life fun, diverse, and exciting, just like surfing.  When I'm not working I enjoy volunteering my time with local environmental groups like 5gyres, Sustainable Surf, and It's About Sea Life.
I look up to anyone who is lives life in passion in pursuit of dreams constantly challenging themselves and keeping a smile on their face through the journey!”