Dr. Dani Burt
San Diego, California
Years Surfing: 10 years
Fave Board: 7’10 Bing Pintail Mini
What/who got you started surfing? After my motorcycle crash I was able to get back to skateboarding and learned how to snowboard. The one thing I was missing was the ocean. The ocean has always been home for me. The water has always been able to wash away all the negative thoughts and pressure that was going on in my life at that time. It gave me a chance to clear my head and feel free. I needed that more than ever after I lost my leg. But at the time, there was no prosthetic leg to surf with so I had to create one with my prosthetist, Michael Stull. It took some trial and error but we eventually dialed it in. The rest is history.
Where do you see women’s surfing in the future, say 10 years out? I see complete equality. I see women just having to focus on being a competitor and not having to fight for equality in a male dominated industry. I see equal men and equal women in every line up.
Most memorable surf moment? First time I ever went surfing. Donald Takayama let me borrow a 9’0 Slater from his shop. I took it to Tourmaline in PB. I didn’t have a prosthetic surf leg at this time so I hopped into the water with the board. It was sunset, water was glassy with 2-3ft peelers. Caught the first wave I’ve ever caught in my life on a surfboard that day. I had an overwhelming feeling of relief. I knew I was home again.
How has your surfing life in the water affected the rest of your life on land? How has it not? 🙂 The ocean has this huge draw to it. Any surfer will tell you this and try to explain it but I believe that it’s unexplainable. That is one of the reasons I’m so in love with it. Physically, though, it has huge benefits for me being an amputee. It’s made me stronger, improved my balance and endurance exponentially. This is so important because research has shown that an above knee amputee exerts up to 70% more energy than someone who is able bodied. That’s huge! It’s allowed me to handle a full time, physical career. It gave me a quality of life that I am beyond grateful for. I lost my leg but I gained surfing. Even trade.