|Two-time longboard champ Daize Shayne
Saturday July 11, 2009
Wouldn't you love to be a world champion surfer and a singer with your first CD coming out?! Two-time longboard champ Daize Shayne can tell you how exciting it is. This 28-year-old has accomplished a lot while staying, in her own words, "a tomboy at heart." Daize gave Coolgrrrls some advice on what it takes to "Live Your Dreams".
What's your deepest love, music or surfing?
I love them both so much. I can't do one without the other. But I know that in order to be really good at one, I have to kind of put one on the back burner. So, for so long, it's been music's that has been on the back burner and I've been surfing and doing that full-time, but now I'm kind of switching it up. You can only go so far in surfing, as far as competitively, and I've done it for a long time and got really good and was successful, thank my lucky stars. Music's just the same thing to me, I wanna see how far I can take it.
How old were you when you started singing?
I was a teenager when I started singing and playing guitar, the same time I started surfing. My first band was called Sons of Tosh and it was all reggae music. I was singing Peter Tosh because I had a low voice. It was so funny, everyone was like, what is going on? It was all black guys and I was this little white girl singing Peter Tosh songs.
Tell us a couple of things about your CD that people don't know.
Well, it didn't take very long to make, which is amazing. Ken [Tamplin, manager/producer] is so fast, it's unbelievable. It's been a year since we started working, and it's like record time. It's just my heart, you know, it's just an open book. There's one song called "So Addicting" and it's just the truth, it's about how the opposite sex is always tempting, and a lot of people will be like "Don't say that, you can't say that!" but I'm as real as it gets, and so I just want to be completely real with people. I work with inner-city kids at my church, and a lot of people in the church are having problems with what my music says, but if they really listen to it, they'll understand that I'm just being real with people.
What do you do with the kids?
I just mentor them and hang out with them and talk them through problems. They've had really, really rough lives. Basically, they have a church service for them, it's a cool place for kids to go nowadays, and I just took it a step farther and I have girls that I talk to every week. I've talked them out of some pretty crazy stuff. It's good because I didn't have anyone like that when I was younger, I just had influences that were doing bad stuff, so I followed them instead of doing what I should have done. But I didn't know any better, and now it's cool to be able to be that kind of influence for someone else.
My favorite songs on your CD are "Swallow me whole" and "Live your dreams". Tell us about the inspiration for those two.
Swallow me whole" is pretty much about my life living in L.A. and kind of dabbling in the dark side of it, and realizing what it does to you. It totally swallows you whole. That's just the way it is. "Live Your Dreams" was a song we wrote about my childhood, and growing up. If you listen to the words, it's exactly how it was for me. It was fun, but people were like "you're not going to be able to do that" and I was like, "No way, I'm doing it!"
Who are some of your favorite female singers?
My favorites, honestly, are Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday and I love Lauryn Hill, too. Gwen Stefani is really good. I like that girl from Blackeyed Peas, she has a great voice. But a lot of the jazz greats are the ones that influenced me. But I love all kinds of music. I love Metallica and Bob Marley, and AC/DC is one of my favorites. There's not a lot of really cool rock chicks that I like. Classic rock is our background, but Alanis Morrisette's probably the only one that I like her voice, as far as rock. I like all guys, like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and stuff like that.
Of all the songs in the world, what's one you wish you had written?
Oh my gosh, there are so many. What's that one from George Michael? (sings) "Cause you've gotta have faith, have faith, have faith." I love that song. Back in Black from AC/DC. There's so many, we could sit here all day.
A lot of surfers play music or are in bands. What's the connection?
For me, surfing is my meditation in the water and music is kind of like the same thing on land. It sets me free. You can express yourself without anyone telling you, "You're doing this wrong, you've gotta do this." You don't really have a coach. Same thing with music, you just do what you want. You can let the bridge go for ten minutes, or you can keep it short, or you can cut it out, or whatever.
How many days a week do you surf and how about when you started?
When I started it was every day, probably twice a day. I mean, I was going to school, so it was in the morning and then after school until dark. But I'd stay out for hours. I mean, I was so determined. And that'll really help, the longer you stay out, if you don't just go out for little periods of time. Now, because of the music, I go out maybe once or twice a week. But last weekend, I surfed twice a day, so it just depends what my week's like. But the more you do it, the better -- like anything: practice doesn't make perfect, but it definitely helps.
What's the lure or appeal of surfing?
For everybody, it's different. For me, what the lure was, was just doing what nobody else was doing, cause there were no girls doing it when I started and I just wanted to do it. And seeing guys in the barrel, I was like, "I want to do that"! And honestly, there's a lot of hot surfer guys. I was like, "I'm in the water with them, that's pretty cool!" I mean, I have to admit, that was definitely one of the perks!
What's the scariest experience you had in the ocean?
Once there was this place, it was really breaking far out, and I thought it was a lot smaller than it was, but as you'll see if you start surfing, it's bigger once you get out there than it looks from the beach. I paddled out there and it was gigantic. It was me and one or two other guys. I was on a shortboard and I needed a longer gun kind-of-board. I was paddling out and I see these gigantic waves coming in. It just looks like mountains coming in. So I started paddling for the horizon, paddling and paddling, and I make it over the first one and then the next one, you know, they get bigger and bigger as the sets start coming it, so I duck under the first one and barely make it underneath, and then the second, the third one, I'm paddling, and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, it's gonna break, " and I duck-dove and got sucked over backwards. That's something you'll find out -- you have to relax when you're getting pounded. I'm kind of getting freaked out, so I kind of tried to see where I was and I'm upside-down and the reef was right here. So I turned around and pushed up but the wave was so big that it was all whitewash; I just got spun around and spun around and literally had (gasps) that much breath before the next one hit me, and then I blacked out. I don't know how long it was, but I woke up on my board and the sea was completely calm. It was really weird, it was like a total God thing. Everyone was paddling up to me, and they were like "Oh my gosh, your board was tombstoning, which means that I was on the bottom of it with the leash getting pulled down. I totally should have died. I blacked out, I don't even know how I got on top of my board.
And no one could get there in time to help?
Not only no one could get there in time, but if there's waves coming in, what are they going to do? It could be more dangerous if they come in there because something could happen to them.
How do you get past the fear of the dangerous part of the sport?
Just by doing it. I'm definitely more afraid of big waves now because of that situation, so that's one thing I stay away from, is big waves. A lot of my friends are really into it, but once you get that close to death, you're like, 'maybe I won't do such gigantic waves'. Know your limits.
People say surfing's a spiritual experience. Why is that?
Probably because you're out alone, in the water, with dolphins coming in. You're sitting on the tranquil sea … there's the sunset. You can't really sit there and go, "Oh, yeah, there's definitely no God out here," because it's just so beautiful.
Why did you pick longboards?
Shortboarding is a year-round tour and it's literally living out of your bag for eight months of the year. And I also won the World Championship the first time just by accident. I borrowed a board and it was like, 'oh, I'm going to go out and have fun'. I didn't realize how serious it was. And then I fell in love with it, because you can dance on a longboard. You can longboard when it's small and have so much fun, when, if you had a shortboard, you'd be really annoyed.
How do you separate the competition aspect from keeping your friendship with other girl surfers?
That's a good question (laughs). We kind of stay away from each other, actually, and then we'll surf together but it's always like this weird underlying thing. Like, you'll be really nice, but you can tell that they have issues, or that I have issues with them … whatever, it's hard to kind of jump over that hurdle. And then once you get in the water, and you're in a competition, it's like, forget it, you don't even talk to them. It's crazy!
In Sanoe Lake's book, Surfer Girl, it looks like everyone is really good friends.
Well, I don't ever surf against Sanoe. She's like my sister, we've known each other forever. But I can guarantee you that if we were surfing in a competition together, I would be like, "I'm not going to be your friend for the next twenty minutes, whatever I do!" Both of us are so competitive, and most pro surfers have to be really competitive. So you can still be friends, but if you're in the water and you're competing … especially with longboard girls, I don't really hang out with any of them. And they're all really nice girls and they're awesome, it's just, we have different paths that we're taking.
As champion, you're a role model for a lot of girls. Who are your role models in life?
Role models, as far as surfing goes, would be Lisa Anderson. She was awesome. She's a total inspiration. Tom Curren, Kelly Slater. I mean, everyone that's good, you want to be like them. And then, one of my best friends, Keala Kennelly, she's amazing, we're really tight and she inspires me every day. She's so fearless and just has so much courage and does what she wants and doesn't care what people think about her.
How did you celebrate after winning the World Championship [in 1999 and 2004]?
The first time, that's when I was kind of partying, I was in that phase. I probably did stuff that I shouldn't have done, I don't even remember, it was just one of those nights! But last time, it was so cool because I was so focused. I mean, I was doing yoga every morning at 5:30. I really wanted to win! When I won, it was so crazy. It was the most amazing thing. We danced all night and when I came back, I went to a spa and just relaxed and thanked God. It was really cool to be able to do that.
A surf instructor told me that surfing has the slowest learning curve of any sport. She said not to get frustrated and give up, because in the beginning, the ocean isn't your friend. When does this change?
That makes sense, that totally makes sense. I never really thought of that. When does the ocean become your friend? When, instead of trying to go against it, you just go with it. Once you start standing up and getting better and going down the line, instead of trying to keep up with it, all of a sudden, you're one with it. I surfed for a really long time, and now I can go out and see a wave and know exactly where I need to be, and not even paddle to go into the wave. But that takes years of kind of just going with it, instead of going against it. You'll see, you'll see what I mean. Once you start getting it, you'll be like, "Oh, ok, I get it now." It'll take a while, though.
How much of surfing success is down to genetics and how much is down to discipline?
I probably think that 98% of it is discipline. You have to get up and you have to do it. But not only discipline with that, it's the discipline of knowing what you do wrong on the waves and really being aware, and not being like, "OK, I'm just going to go out and see what happens" every day. It's like, "OK, yesterday I did that mistake, today I'm not going to do that mistake, and if I do, then on the next wave, I'm going to try not to do that". That's huge. And then, I don't know if so much of it's genetics. I mean, I'm sure that with my situation, my dad was really athletic, and my mom's a really good dancer, so I took dance forever. I think that really helped, growing up and taking dance and doing sports, and being in the water boogie-boarding. I'm sure that had a little bit to do with it, but not much, I mean, I have friends that surf really well whose parents had nothing to do with it.
So any advice for girls or women starting out in surfing?
Keep doing it and follow your heart and don't get discouraged, because you're going to have a hard time in the beginning.
Catch her in concert or get the latest news from www.daizeshayne.com.