Adventure, Surfing

An Interview with Kelly Says Surf

It was whilst perusing the SurfGirl Facebook page that I came across a competition which caught my eye.  Little did I know that this would introduce me to the wonderful world of ‘Kelly Says Surf’.  As soon as I began watching one of their episodes I was hooked.  I also entered said competition but forgot to provide two videos, sadly victory wasn’t mine.


A little freeze frame of my clip

Finally here were two funny, interesting and above all passionate surfers, surfing no matter what.  What could be more inspiring than seeing these ladies frothing on any wave, big or small, smooth or dumpy and doing it with all with a smile, comedy and an excellent soundtrack. 

As a passionate ‘surfer’ myself I love reading surf related paraphernalia yet what grips me with these girls is that they are showing another side of surfing.  Its less about glossy images and more the real side of surfing; cold mornings, wetsuits, wipeouts and laughter. 


Hannah and Dannie and the surf competition

So I am delighted to say Hannah and Dannie have agreed to do an interview with me.  Without further ado here is what they had to say!

Ladies, where do you see Kelly Says Surf going in the future?

Hannah: At the moment we still have a lot of ideas (mostly stupid) and people are still interested in watching them so I guess until we run out of ideas or when people tell us to stop! Also we had 2 goals, one was to reach 1000 views on our video and the other was to meet Kelly Slater….

Dannie: To infinity, and beyond!! To be honest, we’ve already come so much further than I think either of us had expected, that whatever happens next and wherever KS ends up going we’ll be stoked!

Well I for one can’t wait to see these ideas!  I’m interested to know what makes you happy?

Dannie: Surfing, sunshine and spending time with my friends and family. Everything else can fit around that :).

Hannah: Surfing, eating and above all: friends. Some things in life you just cant do alone and that doesn’t mean you’re weak it actually something amazing to share good and bad times with friends. I love playing music as well, a few beers and a guitar/singing session (this is best to do alone!).

I couldn’t agree more, sharing waves with friends is an unbeatable feeling.  What was the best wave you ever caught?

Dannie: Oo, I’m not sure about this one! I loved our trip to Tenerife, because there were just so many amazing waves. I find it so hard to remember my waves, even when I’m just out the water..too much seawater between my ears, I think!

Hannah: I always say every wave was the best wave ever!! Actually, the other day week when I was in Cadiz , I got this shoulder high lefthander that just went on forever, I think I did about 6 or 7 turns and each time I was going higher and more vertical, working on a fins out turn. Also Tenerife always delivers the goods!

Ok you’ve cemented the fact I need to go to Tenerife next!  Who’s your surf inspiration asides from the legend that is Kelly Slater?

Hannah: Mine has to be Lakey Peterson. I love underdogs and stories of girls that have not grown up into surfer families but started surfing later in life and worked hard at it and are pushing the boundaries. Every competition you can see she’s still learning and not always sure of herself (something I can relate to!) but her free surfing is next level! Also Steph Gilmore, Lisa Anderson, Carissa Moore and Dane Reynolds.

Dannie: Mick Fanning, he’s super powerful, and Medina because he’s just so awesome! I’m more inspired by female surfers, I love Sally Fitzgibbons because not only does she shred, but she’s also an amazing role model. She’s super dedicated and healthy, and a total babe too 🙂

That’s quite the list of surfing legends, I’ve followed Steph Gilmore a lot over the years, what she achieved on the World Tour was so inspiring.  So what’s your favourite board and why?

Dannie: I love my Adams 5’8 tonka, it just catches loads of waves and my surfing has come on loads since I got it! And I’ve got to admit, I’ve also very partial to a good old swelly sesh!! 


Dannie 'rippin

Hannah: Whichever board I’m using at the moment is generally my favourite but I recently had a board shaped by Adam’s surfboards and its my magic board! It’s a 5’9 and fairly wide at the nose and has a lot of volume but it just turns so well and can catch anything (I use K-fins as well which makes a massive difference!). I like to spray my boards as I feel giving them a bit of TLC makes you love your board as there is nothing worse than hating your board, once you get into feeling that then you’ll never get a good wave and always blame the board!


Hannah 'rippin

Haha everyone loves a good session on a Swell board its true!  Its good to see you riding a local shaper’s boards! You both make me laugh but who makes you laugh until your sides hurt?

Dannie: Oh my god, I absolutely love Kevin bridges and Michael MacIntyre. In fact, I think the funniest guy in the world is Steve Carell (Brick off of Anchorman). Dinner for schmucks is literally one of my favourite movies, I’m surprised I haven’t peed myself watching it!

Hannah: Dannie! She is just hilarious! I always feel so unfunny next to her (maybe because I am). Also my sister, Gemma Bristow, she has an amazing sense of humour and generally comes out with one liners that have me in tears. Also Jack Whitehalls stand up comedy and here’s one for the Scots Kevin Bridges….just epic. Oh and I can’t forget DC skater Rob Dyrdek, his tv series Rob and Big was just epic!


Kelly Says Surf, they're funny!

Brilliant, you can’t beat a bit of stand up!  Your episodes are really well put together. How long does it take to make a Kelly Says Episode from concept to upload?

Hannah: Dannie will probably say forever! The first one, we filmed for 3-4 months and then I kept trying to edit it for ages and though no one would like it so it took me about 5 months after we finished filming to edit it and get it online. We had no idea what layout we would have, the “house on the beach” is totally improvised, we do it on the last day of filming and we never know what to say, it’s the hardest bit! The France one we filmed in 2 weeks and took me a month to edit, the Scottish one we filmed in 10 days and I edited in about 4 days……it’s getting better! The editing usually take a good solid 24 – 36 hours at the computer….I usually hate the episode by the time I’ve got it finished!



Dannie: Errr… It’s getting quicker haha! The first one took nearly a year or something but now we know what we’re doing a bit more (sort of), it can be a couple of weeks!

Wow I had no idea they took so long to piece together, but I can safely say your audience appreciates them!  The soundtracks you use are great and have inspired me to seek out Tove Lo and MS MR.  Where do you get your musical inspiration from for the videos?

Dannie: Hannah is a total music geek! She spends hours trawling YouTube, not that I’m complaining..I love all the tunes she finds! To the point that it’s annoying, because I like them all so much I can’t help choose a favourite!

Hannah: On the first video I used the Chvrches song and because we had so many views it got taken off (it wasn’t known when I used it and about 2 months later it started getting played on radio one). So actually its now one of the hardest things. I spend hours on youtube just looking for songs of artists that don’t have lots of views or aren’t signed to a huge record label and then I send them an email and ask if we can use it. I’m really lucky that every song I have wanted to use I’ve been able to. I have a friend at MTV that gave me contact details for Tove Lo before her track Habits got played in the charts and she was so sweet and said yes, I was literally screaming! Then the newest song by Jetta is just incredible, I’m pretty proud of the songs we get to use.

I think that makes me love Tove Lo even more, what a babe.  What’s your dream surf destination?

Hannah: The Maldives!!!! Also somewhere super tropical with peeling left handers that has no sharks….I’m not sure that exists though.

Dannie: I reeeeeaaally want to go to Hawaii! It’s surely on every surfers list. I’m happy with anywhere hot really, although I think the people who watch our videos prefer to watch us suffer haha!

Agh I am regretting not visiting the Maldives when I was in Sri Lanka this year!  This is a question that’s had a lot of discussion recently. Do you think the sexy surfer girl look overshadows the capabilities of women’s surfing in the surf industry?

Dannie: Hmmm, this is a deep one! I think it’s definitely fair to say that when you’re learning to surf in a 5mil wetsuit in the freezing cold, your hairs everywhere and there’s snot dripping down your face that you’re definitely not living up to that sexy surfer look! I think if a girl is amazing at surfing and absolutely shreds, people will notice that. If she happens to look awesome in a bikini too, good on her!

Hannah: Yes and no!It’s so hard as a girl to say this and not sound like you’re jealous  but that’s not the case. I see young girl surfers who aren’t pushing themselves in the surf but post bikini shots and full make up shots and get huge sponsors and then other young girls who are such good surfers, are still beautiful but get nothing.. I think Alana Blanchard is awesome and an AMAZING businesswoman and surfer but girls need to realise that there will always be someone more beautiful than you so just don’t focus too much on looks. However if it wasn’t for this sexy surfer girl image that was portrayed then I think half of us wouldn’t have even tried surfing to begin with!

Yep Dannie the post freezing surf look is always a beauty to behold!  I particularly enjoy my squeezed face whilst wearing a hood. Hannah I think you’re totally right, girls need to realise that there is more to life than looking hot on the beach.  Don’t get me wrong I like to see bikini shots, women’s bodies are beautiful but I also want to see more images of women surfing.  I think actual surfing images are far more interesting and frankly inspiring. 

Well Hannah and Dannie it’s been an absolute pleasure to find out more about you both, thank you.  Keep on making the videos and surfing no matter what.  Your mantra works and I have actually used it!

Be sure to check out the Kelly Says Surf YouTube and website.  These girls are doing great things for the surf industry and beyond!


Hannah and Dannie do Portugal!


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