ISA Adaptive Surf Competition in La Jolla adds women’s division
by BLAKE BUNCH
Published - 12/01/17 - 12:02 PM | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dani Burt lost her right leg above the knee in a motorcycle accident, but since has learned how to surf - progressing to capture the 2016 WSA adaptive surfing championship. She will look for another title at this weekend’s adaptive surf competition. / PHOTO BY PAT WEBER
Dani Burt lost her right leg above the knee in a motorcycle accident, but since has learned how to surf - progressing to capture the 2016 WSA adaptive surfing championship. She will look for another title at this weekend’s adaptive surf competition. / PHOTO BY PAT WEBER
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New Jersey native Dani Burt grew up skateboarding and bodyboarding, but always found a primal need to be in the ocean. Prior to her losing her right leg (above her knee) in a motorcycle accident, however, she had never been surfing. Now Burt, a doctor of physical therapy at Scripps Memorial Hospital, has been named the 2016 WSA US champion in adaptive surfing and looks to secure another title.

Between Nov. 29 and Dec. 3, she will be competing in the Stance Adaptive World Surfing Championship at La Jolla Shores. Presented by Vissla and the City of San Diego, this is the first year that Burt will be able to surf in a women’s-only division.

“I was in Hawaii about 10 or 11 years ago for the Duke’s Festival. This was after the accident, after watching a lot of the competitions, I knew I had to get back in the water,” said Burt. “Around this time, however, there weren’t any ‘surf legs,’ so I had to rig one up and some of my surfer friends took me out.”

While her background, developed balance and board knowledge helped push her forward, like most starting something from scratch, she had her doubts. It wasn’t until a chance meeting with legendary surfer and shaper Donald Takayama at his Oceanside shop that she dialed it in.

“It was truly inspiring, as he is someone who I definitely looked up to,” said Burt. “We were talking at the shop one day, and he was like ‘here, take a board.’ He was a huge influence on me. For the ISA contest, I have a 9-foot-long Takayama and a 7-foot-10-inch-long pintail mini in my quiver.”

Prior to this year’s contest, there weren’t enough women to comprise a women’s “para surfing” (adaptive surfing) division, so Burt competed in the mixed-gender division. Despite being the minority sex in her group, she went on to capture the 2016 title, as well as come in second this year.

In 2016, the event featured seven women from five countries across three divisions. The inclusion of a separate women’s division has played a key role in more than doubling women’s participation in this year’s contest.

 “The ISA is proud to be actively promoting and developing women’s surfing around the globe,” said ISA president Fernando Aguerre. “Creating an opportunity for women in the Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship is just another step in working towards complete gender equality, which is the ultimate goal.”
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