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
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!