SALT GYPSY. I LIKE THAT. WHAT IS IT?

2012-08-29


this name, salt gypsy. from the beginning it had make us curious and yearningly. we chatted with danielle clayton, the lady behind this great website around alternative surfwear and female surfers who make cool shit. we quickly found out she is one of them. 

hey danny, how's your summer so far?
really good thanks… I'm kind of in an endless summer! we are in the middle of the rainy season here in the Maldives but so far we haven't seen much rain at all. it's still been blue skies and pumping waves so can't complain.

please tell us about your website "salt gypsy".
the inspiration for salt gypsy came from my talented friend, kelly, who created a line of bikinis for surfing, KALi, but as a small brand, initially struggled to sell into retailers in New Zealand. I felt frustrated at the lack of channels available to reach her target audience so decided to see if we could build a community around that idea: source good-looking and functional surfwear product created by independent designers like kelly, and bring it to the attention of female surfers internationally. basically, we want to provide alternative surfwear, promote style in the lineup, and support other female surfers who are making cool shit.
I also wanted to champion the everyday female surfer out there charging in the surf and living interesting stories. with all due respect to the very talented, professional female surf athletes out there, I felt there was a need to present a different image of strong, healthy, all-shapes-and-sizes-and hair colour-surfers to what is currently a hypersexualised female surfer stereotype (to read more on this issue, check out Cori Schumacher`s excellent article). I want to inspire a different, non-competitive side to the female surf lifestyle: surfing pumping and serious waves with a smile, surf travel, community work, creating, and just doing life your own way. 



has something remarkable happened since you run the website?
yes! creating my own line of surf leggings, making connections with some very cool female chargers and businesswomen, and having people contact me from all over the world with positive feedback about the site and products they've seen because of it. it's made me aware that I'm not alone in wanting to hear other girls' inspiring stories or find alternative surfwear products. I've become a sales rep for one of my favourite brands creating some very unique product - The Seea  and the other remarkable thing is seeing how social media can create a business in today's world. awesome!

we love the "how to" category and already thought about different fabrics for sewing our own surfbag. you like to do your stuff by yourself. that brings us to your leggings. we totally felt in love with them.
that's rad – surfboard covers are so easy to make! here are some more for inspiration. send me some pics when it's made! my home country, New Zealand, has a strong history and tradition of DIY. We kiwis grow up learning and being encouraged to do things ourselves so it is a part of our cultural fabric. not happy with something? do it yourself! which is how Kelly came to create her bikini collection and how I came to offer salt gypsy surf leggings – stoked you like them! they came about when I needed a pair of lycra leggings for working over here in the Maldives but couldn't find any under $100. I had some made up and voila – salt gypsy bespoke surf leggings were born. we are taking orders for delivery in october. choose your lycra from our facebook page. they're good for when you're spending a lot of time in the sun and want respite from UV damage. 


you feature a lot of bikinis and wetsuits on your website. how important is style concerning performance for you?
great question, I would have to say they are becoming equally important as stylish surfwear is catching up to performance and technical product. for too long we've had a market dominated by logo-driven, mainstream, big brands and black black black! the way I see it, we are at the dawn of a new era in female surfwear where style and individualism in the lineup is now possible. manufacturing and production quality of more fashion-forward styles are only going to keep improving. it's an exciting time for both brands and consumers.

besides "salt gypsy" you are living a dream. you work on a surf boat. how did you find your way to the boat? 
I do believe in living your dreams and this has formed the ethos for making decisions in my life – we only get one and it goes by pretty quick so make it good! In 2010, I met a couple who worked as surf guides on a resort in the Maldives. they helped me get a job and a month after meeting them, I was working on the same island taking people surfing and snorkelling. serendipity at its best! I met my boyfriend literally in the lineup one day, had a wee romance and here we are, nearly two years and two surf seasons later working together on a surfari boat. we host ten day surf charters and take our guests surfing (yes – we surf too!), take photos of them surfing and make sure they are in the best waves everyday. we also put together a trip slideshow, liase with the local boat crew, organise boat movements and do all social media updates. pretty full on when its months on end but you get to surf everyday. and you know, a few years ago I used to visualise being on a surf boat in the tropics with the love of my life, and well ladies – I'm living proof that visualisation works!


if we would go on a boat trip with you what would be waiting for us?
turquoise blue water so warm and clear you sometimes work up a sweat when you're surfing, small islands dotted around that you travel past to surf, and good waves throughout the year but particularly big pumping swells from june to august. the reef here is a little more user-friendly than most indonesian reefs but still there are some heavy breaks in the Maldives. you will be challenged! also waiting for you would be a bar that can overlook any surf break in the Maldives, dawn yoga on the top deck, sunset cocktails on the top deck, anchor rope climbs, dive bombs off the top deck, visits to local islands, Maldivian curries, pinky-purple-red sunsets, lunchtime beers, surfing with Manta Rays and dolphins, fish fish and more fish!


what does surfing means to you?
I started surfing at 15 years of age (more than half my life now argh!) and its been central to my lifestyle and life decisions ever since. when I was 23 years old, my family discovered we have a congenital heart arrhythmia that can cause sudden death (long QT syndrome). When our cardiologist sternly told me to "never surf again," I was devastated but promptly decided that life is too short to live in fear. I minimise my risk-taking as much as I can but I'm not going to stop something that gives me so much peace and strength, physically and emotionally, for the random possibility I might have an "event" (cardiac arrest). And hell, it's just fun!

what are your interests besides surfing?
pretty eclectic – I studied sculpture at university, lived in Japan for two and half years (snowboarding over there was unreal!), worked as a sales rep for billabong in NZ which I loved, going to see live music – festivals in summer are the best! making things out of old, unused materials (especially textiles and window glass), learning about other people's stories through conversations, learning languages, reading and studying (entreprenuerism is my current favourite topic!), turning the stereo up loud and dancing around the lounge like an idiot with my best mate (she's a doctor in NZ but this will never stop!), baking banana cakes, going to dress up house parties, the list is endless...

and how do you spend your winter?
mmmm… haven't really had a winter in three years but you would normally find me huddled next a warm fire or heater, dressed in as many layers of clothing as possible, eating a homemade soup and drinking red wine. unless I'm in the snow I'm not a huge fan of winter (where I come from, Auckland, New Zealand, it rains a lot).


are you somebody that gets homesick or do you have itchy feet all the time?
I miss my family and friends terribly and think of all the things I'm missing out on while I live overseas. but as soon as I'm back home, I always want to leave again – I'm a conflict of interests!

what do you believe in?
do what you love, keep smiling and be kind – to yourself and others. and it's ok to eat lots of chocolate!

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