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Q+A with Surfer and Skater Shelly Simon

As the cofounder of a LGBTQIA+ surf and skate collective and brand, Dream Team Society, Shelly is creating the change she wants to see. Gamer Collection was inspired by our...

Gamer Collection was inspired by our fight on and off the field for progress through creativity and art. It’s dedicated to the folks leading the fight for gender and racial equity in ways that reimagine the status quo. Over the new few weeks we’ll be sharing some of our heroes in the gaming industry and beyond who are using their craft to boldly disrupt oppressive structures.
Meet Shelly—surfer, skater, writer, and creative.

We asked Shelly a few questions...

Q: Our Spring 2021 collection, Gamer, stems from our founders' fight for pay equity as members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. It’s about breaking norms and barriers—how do you defy norms in your daily life?
A: Integrating into the surfing world on a professional level (via Dream Team Society, working with Surfrider and other developments on deck) has been really gratifying. To change the status quo alongside other individuals who have a mic and want others to be heard. If I’m the only queer person someone interacts with daily, I’m doing my job. If I’m the only queer person on a board or in a group or at a business or on a team, I’m doing my job. If I’m able to come together with others who may not look or think like me, yet hold space for me to be me, then I’m doing my job. ...Creating Spaces for Safety and Security of Self-Expression, that’s me doing my job.

"If I’m the only queer person on a board or in a group or at a business or on a team, I’m doing my job."

Q: Gamer is rooted in our fight to “Level the playing field”- what obstacles have you had to overcome in your field?
A: I mean physically just paddling hard and fast enough to beat those big dudes in the lineup! How many times I’ve scored a wave because I’ve pushed my own physical and mental limits continues to grow. Flexing that bold muscle of persistence to keep pushing through the tough times, for sure. Waves literally are forces of nature, they don’t deter based on color, sexuality, gender or ability, so why is it some people truly believe they deserve every single wave? With Dream Team Society, we are creating a community for people to be present in the “field” (i.e. ocean) and have friends to paddle out with, friends to have their back on the water and friends to help out if need be.
Q: What was your favorite game growing up?
A: Definitely Tony Hawk American Wasteland. Probably because the cover was a black and white and pink poster style photo featuring Tony Hawk looking all smug. The soundtrack fueled my adolescent angst and let me live that grunge city life that wasn’t available to me in Charleston, SC. I learned to skate at age 12 and to surf at age 14, so this video game felt naturally like a fun version of what I was learning to do.
Follow Shelly’s work and journey on instagram and at — how are you using your craft to boldly disrupt?


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