Getting outside and engaging your mind and body in a new sport is one of the best ways to improve your communication and leadership skills and sense of well-being, including body image and mental health. Sometimes, all we need to bust some stress is as simple as vitamin D and fresh air and some inspiration.
In the past few years we have seen a number of female athletes dominate sports headlines not in a gendered way, simply because of their merit. Tennis champ Serena Williams, undefeated UFC champion Ronda Rousey, WNBA star Brittney Griner, Little league baseball prodigy Mo’ne Davis, and heck the entire USWNT who won the Women’s World Cup for the third time, firmly cemented them as bonafide US soccer legends in terms of merits and TV ratings.
But the inspiring role models don’t just end where the dominant headlines in media do. In an effort to show our readers that female athletes are kicking ass and taking names across a range of sports, here are five young women making a name for themselves in action sports:
1. Sasha DiGiulian – Rock Climbing
Sasha is not your typical girl, nor is she your typical rock climber. At only 5 feet 2 inches, Sasha shouldn’t be able to make it up the same sheer rock cliffs as her long and lanky competitors. Nonetheless, little Sasha DiGiulian is the reigning women’s world rock-climbing champion who breaks records and takes names.
Rock-climbing gyms can be found in just about every major city in the country, and you don’t have to show up with a single piece of equipment to get started. Consider investing in a membership as well as your own harness and shoes, if you want to save cash in the long run.
2. Izzi Gomez – Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Izzi Gomez isn’t just a 15-year-old pro paddleboarder with sponsors like GoPro — she’s also been surfing since she was a toddler. She did kind of hit the surfer girl lottery though, seeing as she was born into surf royalty: Izzi’s grandparents own the oldest surf shop in Florida. She grew up on a shortboard, and played tennis and soccer and the guitar and writes music. But Izzi is most passionate about the emerging sport of standup paddle boarding and has turned her focus to competitions all over the world that are gaining in numbers every year.
3. Sage Donnelly – Female Paddler of the Year
Another pint-sized powerhouse is Sage Donnelly. At just 14 years old, Sage is bursting onto the scene of whitewater rafting and taking no prisoners. She is the World Freestyle Jr. Women’s Champion, Female Paddler of the Year and she is currently training for the Summer Olympics in Brazil. She’s also an avid skier, hitting her first double black at the tender age of 5, as well as a rock climber since 3 — but she still cites paddling as her favorite sport. She has excelled at all kinds of paddling, from running rivers and side surfing holes to river racing. Sage learned to safely roll her kayak and she’s been unstoppable ever since. Having the right kayak for the right body of water is key when trying out this diverse sport.
4. Shyanne Roberts – Competitive Shooting
Competitive shooter Shyanne’s father owns a gun range and has been teaching 10-year-old Shyanne about gun safety since she was born. The single dad has full custody of his two children and he and his daughter are passionate advocates of saving lives through education.
5. Darcy Turenne – Mountain Biking and Filmmaker
Longtime pro mountain biker Darcy Turenne has been to X Games all over the world and has left Norco Factory Team to further inspire women through her filmmaking. Darcy shot, directed and edited a film focused on women in action sports in Indonesia and the cultural barriers that couldn’t stop them.
These are five women who are breaking gender stereotypes and showing many other young girls that they should not shy away from competing in sports that may seem as if they are male-dominated or devoid of female “stars”. We hope these women can encourage you to invest in health and fitness in a way that is fun. Body image and confidence can come from a range of physical activities. If the gym is not your thing, there are many options available. Now get out there and go kick some ass!