Hidden Gems: Shining A Light On The Black Surfer Collective

Santa Monica’s Ink Well Beach (often referred to as Negro Beach at the time). Gabaldon is now commemorated with a day named in his honor, and on Nick Gabaldon Day (June 4th), Santa Monica hosts activities including screenings of films that honor him and surfers like him.

One film, in particular, has been instrumental in exploring the relationship between race and sports, and to dive a little deeper, the history of segregation at pools and beaches. This film, Whitewash, has inspired many black folks to get out on to the water and has also started a conversation about stepping outside of the boxes that were created for us and the boxes we’ve created for ourselves.

If you consider what is happening globally, you will see that black people do indeed surf. We are still very much the minority in this sport, but there are big names who are really making waves. Ayuvile Ndamase of South Africa first surfed when he was six years old and now, at the age of twenty-four has made a name for himself. Dealing with racism and stereotypes while also coping with his brother’s death after a shark attack, Ndamase uses surfing as a form of therapy.

He volunteers with the organization Surfers Not Street Children, which is based in Durban, South Africa; Tofo, Mozambique; and Devon, UK. This organization is a direct response to child homelessness and seeks to empower and redirect the homeless and at-risk youth. Many lives have been changed under this program.

It’s never been a matter of fear or skill, that has created such a gap in representation, but instead a matter of access. With programs in place to help open up the scope, it’s important to make strides to change our narrative, debunk the stereotypes and explore all that we’re capable of.

Jasmine Danielle is a Los Angeles based dancer and fitness trainer. She received her BFA in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has studied with FiTour, the National Federation of Personal Trainers, and the Equinox Group Fitness Training Institute.

Jasmine is currently a Group Fitness Instructor for Equinox, Everybody Los Angeles, and Sandbox Fitness. Her fitness modalities include, ballet, dance cardio, barre fitness, TRX, treadmill interval training, cardio kickboxing, jump rope, indoor cycling, and metabolic conditioning.