Here’s my story and how Betty Belts came about. It’s a fascinating read, I have to admit, a little strange for me, seeing it here in print. The Skirt reporter, Charlene Ross, did a great job of piecing it all together from a two hour long recording of my ramblings, jumping from one subject to another, going off on interesting tangents. Not an easy task!

Enjoy! – Donna

Donna von Hoesslin: Surfer – Designer – Activist

Author- Charlene Ross for Skirt Magazine

Donna Surfing at Queens, Waikiki. Pure bliss. Photo copyright David Pu'u.

Donna von Hoesslin is a California girl who followed a drummer to Europe at the age of 17 and ended up living in Berlin for 17 years. She married into German nobility and was living the fabulous life of the social elite. During her time abroad she held various jobs as a fashion designer, translator and back-up singer for a European two-hit wonder band.

But the very first time Donna stepped on a surfboard at the age of 31 her life changed forever. She was hooked instantly and became passionate about surfing and would travel often to faraway places so she could ride the waves. Unfortunately it was a passion her husband did not share. One day after returning home from a surf trip Donna and her husband Elmar realized that their marriage had turned into a convenient friendship and the word divorce hung in the air between them. They both cried. Today they are separated by 5,000 miles, but truly remain the closest of friends.

Betty Belts

Donna came back the states and moved into a shared beach house in her hometown of Santa Cruz so she could make surfing a part of everyday life. To make a living she became a…