Whether it is surfing, scrambling, hiking or camping, Outdoor Hero Dani Robertson is deeply passionate about adventure. Growing up on the Isle of Anglesey, Dani was spoiled for choice with mountains and wild beaches on her doorstep, stoking a life-long love for the outdoors. Particularly surfing, she is interested in getting more women involved in the outdoors, and co-founded Surf Senioritas with that in mind.
Read on to find out more.
In 2011, on an icy December morning at Rest Bay (Porthcawl, South Wales), after a fun and bitterly cold surf, a friendship was formed. Dani, had stumbled across Carys and Sarah on a surf forum; realising they surfed the same breaks, and only ever surfed solo, they arranged to meet up.
Over hot chocolate that morning, Surf Senioritas - now the UK’s biggest women only surf community - was born, and spread with an aim “to help women of all ages to forge new friendships, arrange surf meets, and most importantly to support and inspire each other in and out of the water”.
Since that first post surf pick-me-up in 2011, the community has grown exponentially to include not only every corner of the UK, but also internationally – helping to support women of all ages and abilities to get their surf legs.
To find out more about Surf Senioritas and how you can get involved, click here.
Getting Into Surfing
Before starting Surf Senioritas, and becoming an inspiration for female surfers all over the world, Dani watched from the beach as surfers caught the waves near her childhood home in a small village in Anglesey, never having the confidence to paddle out herself.
“I was terrible at team sports as I suffer from dyspraxia, which means my hand eye coordination is terrible and I often fall over, can’t hit a ball with a bat and can’t catch! I remember always worrying that I was going to mess up and have everyone laugh at me. I found that I actually enjoyed sport when there wasn’t the pressure to perform or be the best, which is why surfing was so appealing to me. You can go alone or with a group, depending on how you feel but ultimately, you’re only up against yourself and the waves. I loved it from the start as I was able to learn at my own pace and have fun along the way. My first ever wave was my proudest sporting achievement.”
Surfing offers a great workout for body and mind, with substantial benefits for your core, stamina, back and shoulders, as well as relieving stress and improving mental well-being. You can find local surf clubs and communities to join by going online for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – or check out Surf Senioritas, and similar groups who are making the sport more accessible for everyone.”
“For those not familiar with the latest craze to invade the sun-drenched Pacific coast of Southern California, here is a definition of “Surfing,” A water sport in which the participant stands on a floating slab of wood resembling an ironing board in both size and shape, and attempts to remain perpendicular while being hurled toward the shore at a rather frightening rate of speed on the crest of a huge wave. (Especially recommended for teen-agers and all others without the slightest regard for either life or limb.)” – Anonymous sleeve notes on the Beach Boys album Surfin Safari.
The history of surfing is long and winding, and involves some legendary tales of how this once highly traditional Polynesian past time became a culture all of its own. From the breaks of Hawaii to the shores of southern California; through a trio of princesses, ambassadors and more iconic pop bands and films than it is possible to name, surfing became more than a sport – it became a lifestyle.
See below for three of our essential surfing accessories, or check out the full range right now by clicking here.
Ideal for drying off and changing under after a long day on (or in) the water, even if it's raining; this super-absorbent hooded poncho towel has a weatherproof outer fabric to keep you dry, and anti-microbial terry towel inner to help you dry off before the journey home.
A classic, durable waterproof dry bag with a robust roll-top closure for keeping all of your gear protected while you're out on the water. Available in seven sizes and three colours for handy organisation, with separate, specific versions for your first aid kits and toilet roll - for emergencies.
For shorter adventures, try our lightweight, waterproof day pack with the same robust roll-top closure we use on our dry bags. With loads of room for your gear, and a durable waterproof outer, it's perfect for keeping your stuff dry while you're island hopping.
Our Squad Cymru
In addition to being one of our Outdoor Heroes, Dani is also an ambassador for Our Squad Cymru – a Sport Wales initiative “aimed at inspiring, empowering and encouraging more women and girls in Wales to get active and give sport a go.”
Our Squad works alongside initiatives such as This Girl Can to help encourage more women to engage in sport. Research carried out by Sport England suggests that “fewer women than men play sport regularly – two million fewer 14-40 year olds in total. Despite this, 75 per cent say they want to be more active. Further research into what's stopping women turning their ambitions into reality found that a fear of judgement – on appearance, ability or how they chose to spend time on themselves – puts women of all ages off exercising.”
It’s through these initiatives, communities such as Surf Senioritas, as well as simply having inspirational role models like Dani out there doing sport that has seen such a positive spike in the number of women taking up a new sport.
You can find out more about Our Squad Cymru, and the amazing work Dani is doing with them here; or find a community near you online now.
International Women's Day
On the 8th of March we celebrated International Women’s Day by looking to our Outdoor Hero team to help inspire women everywhere to get out and enjoy the outdoors.
From Kanza Ahmed pushing her limits on Kilimanjaro and the environmental work of Lizzie Carr to the everyday work done by Heather Lewis, Emmie Moody, Georgina Jackson, Charlotte Gilbert and Jade Worsley, we have been fortunate to work with some truly inspiring women from the outdoors community.
However, when it comes to encouraging more women to get outside and being active in the world around us, Dani tops our list. Through her work as an ambassador for Our Squad Cymru, and creating Surf Senioritas, she has helped to support women all over the country.
“We started Surf Senioritas as a support network to encourage and unify women who want to explore the outdoors but don’t feel brave enough to do it. When women support other women, we can achieve things we didn’t know we were capable of.”
Read more about International Women’s Day here.