The Good Life with Danielle Nieuwendyk

The Good Life with Danielle Nieuwendyk

Hey! Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who you are:

Hi! My name is Dani and I am a nurse, photographer, adventurer, and now a small business owner. Originally from Canada, home to both the Atlantic and Pacific North West. 5 years ago, I packed my bags and moved to Australia! At the time, I bought a van, travelled around the country taking photos and took up surfing.

I’ve always had a passion for traveling and living a nomadic lifestyle. While discovering the harshness of the sun, and navigating the challenges of covid, this led to designing and creating comfortable and sustainable surf hats! We’ve just launched and couldn’t be more excited!

Danielle Nieuwendyk sunset ocean surf

As a photographer and entrepreneur, how do you find beauty in everyday 

In the realm of photography, I really love uncovering beauty in the unpredictability of everyday life. Whether it’s the first light of morning or the anticipation of checking out the surf at dawn, I'm hooked. The sunrise, with its golden touch on everything, from our little arm hairs to the intricate textures of the ocean, it’s like a brief but intense burst of inspiration. It's not just about pretty visuals; it's a shot of inspiration that lingers, setting the vibe for a great day ahead.

As a new entrepreneur, everything is exciting now but also overwhelming and scary at the same time! I am slowly figuring out the world of running a business but certainly find beauty in the constant challenges it brings especially when it comes to creativity and integrating my photography into the business. 

Danielle Nieuwendyk surf sunrise

Through the lens and through life, what gets you truly inspired and excited?

When it comes down to it, the ocean is my therapy. Whether I'm floating around, surfing, or trying to capture its essence with my lens, there's just something about being in the water that hits differently. Looking back, I realize that the ocean has always been my muse, fuelling my passion for photography, travel, health and even inspiring me to create surf hats! Living so close to the ocean is a constant reminder of what grounds me and keeps my creativity flowing.

Cord and Roy Surf Hats

You just launched your new sun-hat company Cord and Roy! Congratulations! 
How did this idea come into the world?

Thank you! Two years ago, I had a melanoma removed, which made me realize the importance of protecting my skin from the sun. Living in Canada, I never thought much about sunscreen or wearing a hat, as the summer days were short. However, after spending time in Australia, I quickly learned how harmful the sun can be, with potential undiagnosed damage. During the pandemic, my sister-in-law and good friend, Sophie, who also battled skin cancer, joined forces with me to start our own surf hat brand. That’s when “Cord & Roy” was born!

Danielle Nieuwendyk Photography

Who has been a pillar of support on your life's journey?

Big love and gratitude to my partner, James – seriously, the guy is a superhero when it comes to love and support. Anyone who's met him can vouch for his capacity to wrap people in warmth and encouragement. Through health bumps, career leaps, and now, diving headfirst into the wild ride of launching our little business, he's been my rock.

Oh, and let's talk about his knack for challenging me – not just in life, but literally into waves! Despite the wipe-outs and laughter, he still manages to keep the smiles coming and stoke the fires of progress in my soul. Who knew love and adventures could blend so seamlessly? Here's to a partner who not only rides life's waves but throws in a few plot twists for good measure!

Danielle Nieuwendyk Surfing

How do you like to unwind after a long day?

For me, I’ve learnt that the ultimate way to unwind is to dive into the ocean. No matter how tough the day has been, being in the water always soothes my emotions and washes away any stress or worries. On top of that, I’ve also learnt the art of breathwork and meditation - two things I use to bat my eyes at, as I never felt truly connected to my own body in that way. I can vouch for its results. It works!

Danielle Nieuwendyk in snow

What does a good life mean to you?

To me, a good life means finding harmony within your mind and body. It involves nourishing yourself with good food, staying active (though let’s be real, I could do more!), cultivating a positive mindset, and having as much fun as possible with the people you love. Life is incredibly short, and I learned this first-hand during my years as a nurse. So, we should make the most of it!


Danielle is the co-founder of Cord and Roy. She can be found on Instagram @daniellenieuwendyk.

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