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The Champion Surfer Talks Travel, Family and Photography

Daize Shayne Goodwin grew up on Hawaii’s vaunted North Shore and became a two-time world champion surfer. Along the way she picked up a camera and documented the wild, ultra-exclusive nomadic tribe of wave chasers in which she found herself. In preparation for her exhibit of a selection from her OHANA series, taken behind the scenes on the North Shore in 1999, we talked to Goodwin and discovered she’s still looking West.

Surfer culture is extra tough, very boys club-y. What made you want to infiltrate that world rather than run the other way?

It was either go big or go home! I have always been a tomboy. I never thought about it as something I had to infiltrate. I was the runt of the bunch, and the only girl. They messed with me: they popped my tires, dropped in on me, and put soap on my board instead of wax. I guess it was an initiation. It is a very strong culture of respect. I knew I had to work extra hard to keep up with them.

Now you are very much on the inside, part of that family, of course, has the exclusivity culture of surfing changed at all?

The core is still the same, but now everyone is exposed to it. The bonds that held us together are as strong as they ever were. That’s why these photos are so special to me, because no one during that time was seeing them, but me.

What is the hardest thing about traveling the world with your family?

The hardest thing about traveling the world with a toddler and a newborn means no sleep and feeling like a zombie at times.  Try being stuck in a covered school bus with two kids and a husband for 6 straight days while it pours and hales outside in New Zealand—it turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the whole trip on our documentary, The Goodwin Project. But the only time you really slow yourself down is when you’re forced to… and that’s when the best memories are made.

What is your ideal vacation?

I like being home on Kauai, picking the fruit off the trees and working in the garden that feeds my family every night.

To learn more about Daize and her family, visit The Goodwin Project online.