The Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro is proud and excited to announce the addition of an Adaptive Surfing Heat where some absolutely amazing young women will shred the waves on Sunday, July 28 in between the Semifinals and Finals of the WSL women’s surf competition. Here is a look at the 6 incredible and talented female surfers who inspire us all!
Darian Bailey Haynes
Darian Haynes suffered a Brachial Plexus injury at birth due to a botched delivery. During her young life most sports were out of reach for her and something she had nearly given up on until her military family moved to Oahu in 2010. She discovered surfing with the help of an adaptive surfing program, and after a few years was able to start competing in local competitions. That eventually grew into State, National, and World Competitions and she now is on tour competing in Adaptive contests all over the world. One of her favorite parts of that is bringing adaptive surfing to young people who have never had the opportunity to surf before, especially young women. She has spent most of her career so far competing against men due to not enough women in the sport yet. Her dream is to be a Paralympic surfer, hopefully in 2024.
Faith Lennox started surfing when she was 5 years old after being inspired by Bethany Hamilton, a fellow amputee. She began competing when her family moved to Maui from California in 2015. At her very first surf competition: Ian Walsh’s Menehune Mayhem, Faith won a Kazuma Surfboard for Sportsmanship, and she fell even more in love with competitive surfing. In 2018, she became a Kazuma Surfboards Team rider and joined the Hawaii Adaptive Surf Team.
At 10 years old, Faith competed in her first adaptive surf competition on Oahu where she placed third in the Women’s standing division and in 2019, she came back to the Hawaii Adaptive Surfing Championships and took First Place.
Faith continues to surf in both adaptive and non-adaptive competitions, advancing in her non adaptive heats while cheering on her peers; and winning her adaptive comps, inspiring everyone! In 2019, Faith joined the Stoke For Life Junior Adaptive Surf Team, was a mentor at the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Jr Seau Adaptive Surf Camp, and was featured in the California Surf Museum!
Faith sustained a crush injury to her left forearm called compartment syndrome at birth. Despite the doctors’ attempts to save her hand with multiple surgeries, amputation became the only option at 9 months old when the bones of her forearm had broken and would not heal due to the lack of circulation, but she’s never let it slow her down. Faith is a force to be wreckoned with: a ball of ferocious energy, determination, and tenacity with an amazing zest for life, a crazy love for adventure, a caring heart, and a contagious smile,
Faith aspires to be a professional surfer one day and a Paralympian if surfing becomes a Paralympic sport.
I am a 16 year old congenital bilateral above the elbow amputee from Pennsylvania. I have grown up not knowing anything different with my arms. I was forced to learn to do things differently than other people and have had my challenges along the way but have pushed hard to be the best. I’ve always been an active athlete playing many sports growing up; soccer, basketball, field hockey, cheering, horseback riding, and rifle. In high school I chose my sports and played competitive soccer and shot on our rifle team. The Fall of 2017 was the first time that I ever surfed. I attended the Bethany Hamilton Beautifully Flawed Retreat in Del Mar. I loved catching waves with her and when I left, I didn’t know if I would ever surf again. Last summer I was invited to my first CAF surf clinic and participated at the Bro Am Festival at Moonlight Beach and got to surf with Rob Machado. I knew by the end of that week, I found my true passion and wanted to pursue surfing, but wasn’t sure how it would happen being so far from the ocean. When I returned home, Alana Nichols, an adaptive surfer, helped me find a coach in New Jersey, I got my own board, and then I drove 2 1/2 hours one way to get in the water. I worked hard training in the gym and water over the next several months. I attended the Beautifully Retreat again and was able to have some special time in the water with Bethany, allowing me to connect with her on a deeper level. She encouraged me to never stop pursing my dreams. In the fall I was asked by Dani Burt, another adaptive surfer, to be a member of Team USA. I competed with the USA Adaptive Surf Team in December at the ISA World Championships where we took gold! In April of 2019 I moved to San Diego with the plan of staying here for 6 months with my mom. Since moving here, I have competed with the WSA and recently took 3rd place at the USA Nationals, securing my spot on Team USA once again. I will compete at the US Open in September and the World Championships in October/November (specific dates TBD). I want to continue to pursue my passion for surfing with the goal of competing at the Paralympics. We are hopeful that surfing will be on the list of events in 2028. I, of course, want to continue living in San Diego because it is the perfect location to train; I just have to convince my parents. 🙂
Dr. Dani Burt, PT, DPT is a World Adaptive Surfing Champion, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and above knee amputee.
In 2004, Dani was in a motorcycle crash that put her in a coma for 45 days. The toughest time in her life was when she woke up from her coma. She felt hopeless, lost, confused, hurt. She thought her life was over. Today, she works as a Doctor of Physical Therapy at Sharp Memorial Hospital, the same hospital where she was a patient. She chose that career path because she wants to be there for patients after they go through the darkest moments in their life to show them what is possible.
Dani Burt is also the first known female above knee amputee surfer in the world and one of the first to design a prosthetic surf leg. She has been competing against men and women competitors since 2010. In 2016, she was crowned the U.S. Adaptive Surfing Champion, defeating male competitors. In 2017, Dani competed in an all women’s division for the first time in the history of adaptive surfing. She was crowned the first ever women’s World Adaptive Surfing Champion at the ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championships. Last year, Dani took on the role as Co-Captain of Team USA and assisted the team in winning gold.
The achievement Dani has been most proud of was advocating for gender equality in adaptive surfing. In 2018, she was able to encourage ISA to rectify it’s rules and regulations to exclude gender discrimination. She succeeded in changing the course of history.
Captain Sarah Bettencourt (USMC, Retired) was training as a helicopter pilot when a rare neurological disorder affected the use of her hands. Remaining in the US Marine Corps as an Adjutant, Sarah continued to serve until her disability worsened to where she could no longer walk, forcing her to medically retire in 2012. Her symptoms affected any part of her body causing weakness, loss of coordination, or loss of use in those areas, which remained for a day or for the rest of her life.
With her constantly changing and sometimes very serious symptoms, Sarah struggled to find her place back in society until she was introduced to adaptive sports. At her first event, Sarah realized by adapting equipment and technique, she could accomplish anything! She then founded San Diego Ducks Sled Hockey, an adaptive ice hockey club, for others to learn this same lesson through a team sport. Sarah played on the US Women’s Sled Hockey Team for several years when she was introduced to adaptive surfing at the Challenged Athlete Foundation’s clinic before the 2017 ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championships. Growing up as a recreational surfer in Ocean City, MD, Sarah was drawn to the water and found a place on the 2018 US Adaptive Surf Team in the AS-4 Prone division, taking second in the world. Sarah now lives a full and happy life with her husband and 2 sons, serving others through adaptive sports and representing her nation in sled hockey and surfing.
Quinn Waitley is a spunky, fun-loving 24 year old, who grew up in Coronado, California. She is known as a fearless competitor and friend, often seen cruising in her power chair on the way to Crossfit or the beach. She is an identical quadruplet and one of seven Waitley girls who love athletics and are all within 8 years of age.
With her older sisters competing Nationally in soccer and other sports, Quinn was inspired with her sisters to get into sports at a young age. At the age of 5 she starting playing wheelchair rugby and basketball and just about anything with a ball.
She started skating competitively in WCMX and at 14 and later found her biggest passion through surfing and began competing in contests at the age of 20. At 21 Quinn saw the ISA World Championships in La Jolla and made it her number one goal to make the US National Team and represent her Country. Just one year later, Quinn became the first Women’s AS5 surfer to represent the US and she won a Silver Medal in the 2017 ISA World Championships, ranking her 2nd in the world.
One of her favorite competitions is the US Open of adaptive surf in Oceanside where she gets to surf in her hometown of San Diego. Last year she placed 4th place in the Men’s Division as the top women finisher. Quinn also loves surfing in Hawaii and has been the top female finisher each of the last 3 years. Her favorite aspect of surfing is being able to escape from her chair to the exhilarating feeling of catching a wave and the thrill of going as fast as she can down the line. Quinn loves encouraging others to surf and leads a non-profit named Team Quinn, that takes people surfing who may rarely or never get to surf.