Danielle Ciminero, a native of RI, is seeking to join the ranks of professional women's surfers. We asked her to tell us a little bit about herself, why she's trying to go pro and if there's any way we could help.
I grew up in Charlestown, Rhode Island and I left home to chase a dream. I wanted to be a surfer. The word 'professional' was nowhere on my agenda. I had fallen in love with the sea and wanted to spend the rest of my days riding waves. The other part of my dream was to better the world somehow. Though I had no idea how to do either of those things, I packed a small bag full of essentials, gave away the rest of my belongings and set off to find out.
Adventuring through Central America for nearly eight years has taught me lot about both riding waves and things I can do to better the world.
For wave riding, I discovered that I love the way that the pro's can flow and dance with waves. I found that learning maneuver's and how to draw different lines on the water makes surfing exciting for me.
For bettering the world, I realized that you don't have to get rich and give all of your money to charity to make a difference, as long as you give what you can. I found that taking surf trips is even a way to make a difference- the local communities can really benefit by the simple act of you showing up and staying for a couple weeks.
Still, I was looking for a bigger way to give back. I considered shaking my booty in front of a camera, but then I saw that a bunch of girls have that taken care of. So I kept thinking. What else can I do? Then it dawned on me that there are thousands of charities and organizations already doing something - and what they needed most was money.
I was already pursuing elite level surfing for my own enjoyment, why not start competing on the ASP and try to win the prize money for charity? I know, I know, its not as simple or easy as that. But it will be worth it.
Two years ago I started competing at the pro/am level to get practice and results so that I could step into the professional realm. I worked really hard, learned quite a bit and got good results- ranking in the top 4 of more than half of the events I competed in.
Contest surfing can be a bit hectic and cut throat, not quite as enjoyable as surfing a remote beach somewhere with a few friends, but there is something about the challenge of quieting the mind in a heated situation that I can appreciate. Plus, there is always time after each event to adventure off the beaten path and get to surf with chillers.
In 2014, I will compete on the ASP Women's Star and try to win the prize money for charity. In the next two years, it is my goal to qualify for the ASP Women's Tour, where the prize purse for each event is even greater (as is the wave quality!).
Giving my prize money to charity is only a small way to give back, but I am excited to start there and move forward. If you know a great organization in need of funding please send me a link.
I dreamt of riding waves from the moment I saw a logger cruise by me on a one foot wall of water one fine summer day in Rhode Island. That summer I rode my first white water waves and fell in love with the art of surfing.
Sadly, despite being the Ocean State, Rhode Island is not the surfing haven one might think. While we do get waves, and sometimes really good ones, it can be tough love for a girl of merely ten to pursue the hot action hobby of surfing. My parents did their best to help me along, but after that weekend of blissful white water rides, every time they could bring me to the beach it'd be flat - as the northeast usually is, especially in the summertime when minivans heading to the beach are abundant.
When I figured out how to check surf reports, I'd come running into the kitchen hollering "Now there are waves let's go!" Only to be smirked at and told "Honey, it's a blizzard out there, if you are drowning, who is going to save you? There are no lifeguards." I was bummed- of course some of the most consistent surf comes with wailing winds and whipping rain or snow or hail. I even tried to sneak out in a snow storm and ride my bike to the beach that winter, but black ice and white out conditions proved formidable adversaries and I was sent limping home with scraped knees and a broken heart. I passed many a school day dreaming about waves until the feeling of riding one was just a distant memory.
Once I finally had a license and access to a car, I began setting 330 am alarms to squeeze in a surf before school. Thanks to the Lake Atlantic, these early morning crusades usually wound up a surf check and a four mile run. Still, as the year dragged and I was able to get in the water a handful of times, I found that my passion for riding waves had transformed into a dream - to surf all day, every day. I decided to follow the dream and see where it lead me. So I worked through the summer and once I had enough money saved I booked a flight to Costa Rica - a place I was told you could surf good waves everyday in warm water.
A few years and passport stamps later, my dream has expanded. Chasing waves has taught me more than I ever imagined possible. I learned to live simply and to appreciate luxuries I once took for granted. I found the joy and satisfaction that comes with working hard and seeing something come to fruition. Being on the road has opened my eyes to the hardships endured by others and showed me ways I can make a difference in our world, both big and small, for people and the environment.
I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to transform my dream of riding waves into a way to give back. Surfing is a huge part of my life, but only a small piece of what I want to do with it. Stay tuned as the path unfolds…