“I’ve always been drawn to the water,” says Flamingo content manager, storyteller, and former Essence magazine beauty editor Siraad Kalila Dirshe. “I’m a Scorpio—a water sign—so I’ve always felt like it’s this place where I can truly unplug.” Like many who grew up in the city, Dirshe got her first glimpse into the world of surfing through pop culture: “I remember being enamored with Blue Crush when I was in high school,” she explains. “I didn’t know how to swim, but I thought, This is so cool—I want to be like one of those badass women, riding waves.”
It wasn’t until a recent trip to Ghana that the New Yorker got serious about surfing. “I saw all of these amazing Black people out in the water and thought, Oh my god, Black people do surf,” she says. Then she started digging.