Dayla Soul Crew / ItAintPretty

A seldom seen sight, though hopefully getting more common, is this image of a paddle-out of surfing women in California. This is a great example of how women need to work hard, just to create the same environments and communities that men in action sports has taken for granted for a long time.

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.”

It Aint Pretty, USA

It Ain't Pretty is a film about women who surf in San Francisco's Ocean Beach. Over the next year we plan to follow and document these Bay Area women. We want to explore what drives their passion. We will be talking with a variety of women with a range of surfing ability and skills, from the passionate beginner to the professional big wave surfer and find what it is that draws all of these women to surf these unforgiving waters.
Surfing in the Bay Area is not the sunny, bikini-babe lifestyle that is portrayed in the media. It is cold, foggy, heavy and in the Red Triangle, the natural habitat for great white sharks. On any given day a female surfer headed out to surf Ocean Beach will usually find that she is the only woman in sight. It Ain't Pretty will be exploring how these factors affect each woman.
We are not limiting what type of surfer to follow; it is not about your ability or the board you ride, it's about your dedication. So, please, shortboarders, longboarders, boogie boarders, body surfers, young, mature, small wave surfers and big wave surfers, join us!
Our plan is to film interviews with each of the women involved. In these interviews we want to get an honest portrayal of each woman's life and experiences as a surfer. We want to celebrate our strengths and also share our challenges.  We are really interested in what makes being a woman surfer in the Bay Area a unique experience. And, of course, we will be getting lots of great surf footage too.
This project is in its infancy, but already a small community of women has been created as a result. Each of us only knew a handful of other women who surfed Ocean Beach and now that number is growing, and will continue to grow. We are sharing stories and supporting each other and pushing each other in the water.