WA­TER WOMAN

Lea Brassy’s no­madic life­style and pas­sion for the ocean has taken her all over the globe – from warm Pa­cific oceans to icy Arc­tic waves. A true wa­ter­woman, Lea par­tic­i­pates in surfing, spearfish­ing, sail­ing, free div­ing and body­surf­ing – all whilst maint

Surf Girl - - Spot Check - in­ter­view by CARLY CROSBY

We’re to­tally in­spired by Lea’s re­silience and her abil­ity to stay true to her be­liefs in the modern day. We thor­oughly en­joyed grab­bing a cof­fee with her dur­ing Patag­o­nia’s Worn Wear Tour to find out more… Lea, how does surfing con­nect you to na­ture and the en­vi­ron­ment? When you surf you have to be aware of the weather con­di­tions, the tide and swell… you can’t re­ally go surfing with­out pay­ing at­ten­tion to na­ture. Na­ture’s got rhythm that’s al­ways chang­ing, and surfing con­nects you to that. Have you had any scary ocean ex­pe­ri­ences and if so, do you have any ad­vice on how to over­come fear and get back in the wa­ter? I’ve never had a very bad ex­pe­ri­ence, but I used to fear the depths of the abyss below me when I was in the wa­ter. It used to make me re­ally anx­ious and I knew I had to over­come it. So I went for it and went down to a deep depth, and re­alised ev­ery­thing was fine. When you’re div­ing, the ocean al­lows you, step by step, to get more com­fort­able. So if you face your fears slowly you will learn so much from that ex­pe­ri­ence. You spend a good chunk of your time in the wa­ter, are you notic­ing the ef­fects of plas­tic pol­lu­tion first hand? Oh yes and it’s got a lot worse than it used to be. I’ve been surfing for 20 years and dur­ing that time I’ve seen a big dif­fer­ence. To be bru­tally hon­est, even in places like the south­west France, it’s heart break­ing. They do have beach cleans, but if you go af­ter a win­ter storm, or to beaches that aren’t touristy, then there’s plas­tic ev­ery­where. Last June there was a spot I vis­ited in France that was just cov­ered with plas­tic – on the beach, in the dunes, in the car park. It’s just so sad. It’s not just about what you can see, but also what’s hid­den in the depths of the ocean and that we’re im­mers­ing our­selves in wa­ter that’s pol­luted with plas­tic chem­i­cals. Do you think peo­ple’s ap­proach to plas­tic is chang­ing? There’s a lot more aware­ness and peo­ple are mak­ing changes, but there’s a huge con­sump­tion mar­ket spurred by in­dus­tries and com­pa­nies that won’t change – and that’s scary. For ex­am­ple, when you go on an air­plane there’s just so much plas­tic splashed out on ev­ery pas­sen­ger. Peo­ple think that if plas­tic is given to you, it’s ok to use it and you don’t have to make a choice. So how can we all change our life to re­duce our en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact? For me, look­ing at what you eat is the most im­por­tant thing you can do, and also the eas­i­est way to change your en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact. Food is the main source of plas­tic con­sump­tion and choos­ing to eat lo­cally sourced and sea­sonal food, cuts out a lot of the plas­tic that is used when larger su­per­mar­kets trans­port items across the coun­try or globe. It’s also very re­ward­ing… you ac­tu­ally get to eat bet­ter food and you get to meet the peo­ple who make and pro­duce it. You get a lot more sat­is­fac­tion from what you eat as a re­sult – and the more re­ward you have from chang­ing your be­hav­iour, the more you are go­ing to change on a larger scale and im­pact those around you. We love your ‘min­i­mal life­style rich with ex­pe­ri­ences’ ethos – how did this de­velop… was it the choices you made or the way you were brought-up? I grew up with a min­i­mal life­style, in that we didn’t con­sume too much and reused and re­cy­cled wher­ever pos­si­ble. It was hard when I was younger be­cause I was dif­fer­ent to oth­ers – buy­ing new stuff all the time just wasn’t im­por­tant to me and so I didn’t have the new clothes and I wasn’t fash­ion­able. But I turned this into some­thing that was a pos­i­tive thing and not a neg­a­tive, so liv­ing min­i­mally changed into some­thing that had more mean­ing for me. You did your first solo trip at 17 years-old – what would you say to any girls think­ing about head­ing out on their own for the first time? Keep it sim­ple and safe. There is so much that hap­pens within you and it’s go­ing to change you, so don’t go too hard. It can be tough and you have to make sure the ex­pe­ri­ence is chang­ing you for the best. When you’re out of the wa­ter, how do you like to kick­back and re­lax?

I love a cup of tea and a good book!

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