For me, jumping in the ocean to surf or swim is my form of meditation and the panacea I need to cope with the stresses of life. I notice if I haven't been in the ocean, or even dipped my toes into a tideline, for more than a couple of weeks, I'm prone to feeling tense and out of sorts.
The ocean makes me feel strong: physically, emotionally, mentally. It makes me feel alive and I've had a few memorable spiritual moments where I've really felt connected to something much bigger than myself and this world.
Considering I've crafted my life and business around proximity to pumping waves in various countries over the last 20 years, community and the sea is 100% intertwined. It's how I've built this women's surf company! From the original SG blog from 2012, I've been able to connect with talented women doing really interesting things with their lives and that connection continues today. One of the most special things has been the friendships I've made with other oceanwomen and now sharing the journey into motherhood together, raising grommets of our own. It's been so comforting talking to my girlfriends and sharing in the challenges.
It was also awesome to have our Sea Bones retail space in Byron for a few years as I was able to meet so many women in person who had either followed us on social media or purchased from us online. Thank you to all the legends that popped into store!
I stand on the shoulders of all the women who came before me and the most significant of those women is my mum, Adele. I am the change she wished to see in the world and she is one of the strongest, bravest, intelligent women I know. As a young solo mum in the early 80s, she instilled in me from a very early age (3 years old to be exact!) that "girls can do anything." Growing up, I bore witness to her being a working single mum: taking me, her baby, to a job interview at the bank in 1981 and having the bank manager "dangle you on his knee while he interviewed me." She got the job and over the course of the next 15 or so years, worked her way up to senior positions.
As a 10 year old, I warmed towels at her first homebirth and saw one of my brothers enter the world. Then as a 16 year old, I held her hand at her second homebirth, welcoming my new baby sister to the world with the announcement, "Marin's here!" Several years later, we were studying at the same university, at the same time. Mum completed her nursing degree with a toddler, 2 school-age boys, and me, her eldest. She's a legend.
So the change I wish to see in the world is the continued effort of women like my mum towards equal opportunity for women and girls. I want to see the 2% of women entrepreneurs who make $1 million and over in revenue grow to 50%. And I want to be in that 50% because money provides opportunity and women, generally-speaking, share opportunities & wealth within their communities. It's a ripple effect. One of the ways I am living this change is through the very fact of independently owning and self-funding this women's surf company: through disrupting the status quo of what it is to be a surf brand, through championing everyday oceanwomen, and through working with other talented women in our fledgling indie women's surf industry over the last 9 years.
Living in the Maldives and Indonesia for several years was literally living the dreams of my 20-something year old self! I used to go to sleep in my twenties visualising being on a boat in the tropics with the love of my life. Let me tell you ladies - that shit works! I met my fiance while surfing in a Maldivian lineup - he worked on a charter boat! We spent the next two years working on that same boat.
Some of the accomplishments I'm really proud of is that this business has beaten the odds (most fail within the first 3 years, we're at year 9); I've provided employment for female surfers across two businesses (something I wish had existed as a younger surfer); outside of NZ and AU I've lived in Japan, Indonesia and the Maldives and navigated many cultural challenges and learned new languages; I've built a business from $0 and two pairs of surf leggings. I have a degree in Sculpture!
I'm Danny, a New Zealander currently based in Byron Bay and the founder of Salt Gypsy and Salt Maven Consulting. I first launched customisable surf leggings in 2012 while working on a surf charter boat in the Maldives. We offer a range of bespoke, limited edition surfwear ranges made in Australia from regenerated nylon fabrics, and more recently, launched a dedicated women's surfboard range in partnership with Global Surf Industries. Salt Gypsy champions everyday oceanwomen to feel confident and stylish in the lineup.
I am personally committed to nurturing the growth and sustainability of oceanwomen in business and local surf community groups, and I believe in using business as a tool to disrupt and drive change towards environmental and social stewardship. I am on the board of the Aotearoa Women's Surfing Association (AWSA) and a member of the Surf & Boardsport Industry Association (SBIA) Digital Committee in Australia.