12-31-2019     4 pm                

                                                          New Years Eve

                                                                                                               by David Pu’u

Donna is the founder and lead designer of Betty Belts, which is the main brand in her company, Ocean Ohana. She has asked me to pen an End of Year note from us to you all.

I am seated at the large monitor in her company’s newly expanded studio. My editor Josh and I, have just finished the last little film of the year for Betty Belts, and will premier the rough cut version tonight at 10:00 PM on Facebook and IGTV. It is beautiful and we made it for all of you who are supporters and friends of her brand. Here it is:

It is shocking to glance over our shoulder, and flipping the flash card of years deep into the deck of life, to when I first began to do brand development photography for this unique little female driven company in 2003, located in a garage in Santa Cruz, as a favor to my “German friend”, Donna von Hoesslin.

I had come aboard bringing some of my long term models and collaborators to help define the brand and push it into the editorial spotlight, as I was producing content for a vast number of publications and a massive international commercial agency, as well as a Cinematography stock supplier.

I did not need or want more work or responsibility. I did it because Donna was a friend, and having built a large number of companies, I knew what her challenges would be. I figured this was something, people like Mary Osborne, Holly Beck, Shawn Alladio and many other fantastic women I worked with, could supply benefit to, while we traveled around, and did our thing.

Donna brought her passion, life experience and oh my, MORE females, who were big fans of the brand, and liked the thought of modeling and doing all the ocean related activities that my roster and I would leverage into the international editorial sport and fashion arenas. At this point, Donna would send me the girl’s requesting to represent her brand’s resumes, and I would help select new brand representatives.

Cut to today. Donna is seated at her desk in the new studio and I am writing this blog. She has no clue what I am writing. Nor does she have much say in it. This is why.  A number of years ago Donna asked me to solve a business challenge. After that (She and I had fallen in love and moved in together after many years of being “just friends”, neither of us having any romantic interests in the other, whatsoever)  I told her she would need to find someone to shepherd her newly incorporated company, in order to establish a healthy growth pattern. That someone wound up being me.

Not many know this about Betty Belts. It is in the company charter that we not use our “charitable works” to help brand the line. We try to make sure good works are done in secret, as much as possible. We have deeply held beliefs and ethics which demand this. So it is only when we need you, who are the reason this brand is able to exist, to help us accomplish something we have determined to be worthwhile as a cause for action, that we will “go public” in our media feeds.

And you always rise to every single occasion!

The net affect is that this little company is able to punch FAR above it’s size and weight in establishing regenerative change. We do that. All of you and all of us, who work in various capacities. WE change things for the better. We help people. We lead them towards greater spiritual, emotional and environmental system health.

And we do this by being accurate with our resources and choices. Being transparent here, one of my jobs (Betty Belts has been helping fund me to do this for years) is to provide intellectual oversight and contribute on a high level to resolving challenges facing Humanity. For a variety of reasons I get called upon to analyze and work, both individually and in group, on issues of grave concern to both National, and sometimes, Planetary health.

So YOU are the ones making that happen, as you support Donna’s vision and Betty Belts brand growth, in more wonderful ways than I would be able to express in this blog piece, which waxes far too wordy.

As holiday began this season Donna expanded the studio and this is the space I write to you from, with it’s array of powerful computers, beautiful ring bar and apparel lounge.

We have the most extraordinary group of women working for the company right now. They are each incredibly diverse in talents, but share a comprehension of and dedication to the Ocean Ohana mission, and the Betty Belts Brand theme, which is remarkable to view.

In closing, our wonderful staff and larger new flagship type store, is here to serve you as 2020 rolls through the lineup upon the sea of time in this period of great, wonderful, and rapid change. We are here for you, and are both humbled and grateful to each and every one of you who push Betty Belts forward into it’s second big decade in our Ocean Inspired, Ocean Driven: ride.

Many mahalos from us all! A hui ho.


Team Betty Surfer Makena Burke


Shawn Alladio, head of K38 Ocean Rescue International with instructors from all over the world at a summit in Morro Bay this year.


Team Betty Surfer Maddie Malmsten


Team Betty Surfer Brooke Carlson