Art and Photography

Episode 101: Maria Fernanda

Maria Fernanda -- big wave surf photography, fins and a camera

Maria Fernanda swims with fins and a camera in waves that most of us won’t paddle out for. As a native of Mexico City, Maria found her love of the ocean through years of family trips to the coast to ultimately discovering natural strength in big surf. Tied to Maria’s passion for photography, this has led her on a journey to photograph some of the heaviest waves on the planet such as Nazare, Pipeline, Todos Santos, and her home break of Puerto Escondido. Along the way Maria has trained in big wave rescue, survived a broken leg in the water, built a global community of friends in the ocean, and continuously pushes her physical and mental limits swimming in heavy surf.
 
If you like what you hear today, go check out Save the Waves Coalition, at savethewaves.org, and learn about ways thay you can help protect sensitive surf breaks and preserve them for future generations. Thanks for caring about our ocean and thanks for being here today sharing in the ocean life of Maria Fernanda.
 
Thanks for sharing Maria’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check her out on Instagram and her website.  
 
* Other pieces of our conversation *

 

  • Recent (November 2019) swell at Nazare
  • Swimming and taking photos at legendary big wave breaks such as Jaws, Puerto Escondido, Pipeline, Todos Santos, Waimea Bay, Nazare.
  • First photo shoots and heavy waves on Kuaui
  • Mental and physical training for swimming in big waves
  • Growing up in Mexico City and finding her strength in the ocean through weekend trips to the coast with family
  • Having a mentor to teach her surf photography, starting with a disposable camera!
  • Perspective on the mainland Mexico big wave surf scene, and global big wave surf communit
This Ocean Life Podcast Maria Fernanda

Episode 100: John Kowitz

John Kowitz -- underwater photography, world travel, ocean conservation

John Kowitz left the cold, fresh waters of Michigan to find his calling in warm, tropical waters around the world. As an underwater photographer John has captured stunning shots of people, animals, and scenes in places like Hawaii, Bahamas, Costa Rica, and more. While developing his strength as a free diver, John has developed a deep respect for ocean conservation and along with stories of swimming with hammerheads, mantas, and pilot whales, shares his perspective on protecting our oceans and the animals we all love. If you can, take a look at John’s photography on Instagram @j.kowitz while you listen to his stories — his work is epic.
 
If you hate using the plastic bags at grocery stores for your produce, hit Google for ‘washable produce bags’ and pick up a set of the reusables. It makes a ton of sense.
 
Thanks for sharing John’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check him out on Instagram and dive into his photography website
 
Additional parts of our conversation:

 

  • Splitting time between career as a travel nurse and photography
  • Grew up in Michigan
  • Evolution of photography and camera gear
  • Guiding spearfishing trips on Maui with Maui Spearfishing Academy and Bobby Twitchell (past guest)
  • Guiding whale and shark freediving tours on the Kona coast
  • Animals — pilot whales, ocean white tips, hammerhead sharks, mantas
  • intricacies of diving and photographing hammerhaed and pilot whales
  • Cocos Island trip with SharkWatch
  • Observing Hammerhead Shark cleaning station where small reef fish pick parasites off of the sharks
  • Working and training with world-class athletes and special forces at XPT with Laird Hamilton
This Ocean Life Podcast John Kowitz

Episode 82: Tony Rapacioli

Tony Rapacioli -- surf photography, Noosa longboarding

In episode 82 we hear stories from Tony Rapacioli on his life of longboarding and surf photography in the beautiful waters of Noosa, Australia. Tony shares his stories on learning to surf at Noosa, one of the most famous longboard surf communities in the world, and his perspective on the surfers and waves that make up this special place. We hear of Tony’s positive approach to surfing, enjoying both the ocean and people around him in the water. Tony talks about rediscovering his love for photography through shooting surfers at Noosa and his approach to sharing photos within the community. We also hear of great perspective on introducing children to the ocean, the animals living in and around Noosa, and Zenhiser.com, a great music business that Tony has built. Images by Fenna de King

 

Thanks for sharing Tony’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check out photos and videos of Tony on Instagram and Facebook.

This Ocean Life Podcast Tony Rapacioli Noosa Surfing

Episode 81: Patrick Webster

Patrick Webster -- underwater photography, conservation through story telling

In episode 81 we speak with Patrick Webster, an incredible underwater photographer with an artistic flair for capturing ocean scenes within the Monterey Bay and beyond. Patrick takes us through his transition from underwater video to photography and the community of local photographers he has around him in the Monterey area. We hear how Patrick’s background with the UC Santa Cruz Marine Science program has influenced his photography and his focus on telling stories of the scenes and animals he photographs to inspire others. Patrick shares his perspective on developing social media content for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a world leader in ocean education and conservation, and the importance of relating the ocean world to the everyday lives of people to help them understand and connect. We also hear about the amazing success story of Cabo Pulmo, a marine protected area near Cabo San Lucas, where Patrick has spent time photographing the amazing ocean life there.

Thanks for sharing Patrick’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check out photos and videos of Patrick on Instagram.

This Ocean Life Patrick Webster

Episode 69: Sachi Cunningham

Sachi Cunningham -- big wave surfing photography, film making, gender equity on tour

In Episode 69 we speak with Sachi Cunningham, a legendary woman of the water who has been photographing the waves of Mavericks and other heavy breaks for close to 20 years. Sachi shares her stories of developing her strength swimming in the water as a youth then finding her passion for photography, surfing, and waves. We hear of Sachi’s first day swimming and shooting at big Ocean Beach, her progression of capturing big wave photos from the water at both Mavericks and Jaws, and the big wave community she has been part of for so long. Sachi talks about her focus for helping women in professional big wave surfing reach gender equity on the world tour and her current project, She Change The Film, that documents the events and key figures in that awesome story. We also hear Sachi’s physical and mental approach to swimming in big surf and introducing her young daughter to the ocean.

Thanks for sharing Sachi’s ocean life with us. You can find pictures and video of her on Instagram and She Change The Film website. Please consider donating a few bucks to Sachi’s She Change project to help raise awareness for gender equity in surfing and beyond. 

Photos by Maria Fernanda and Sarah Makarewicz.

This Ocean Life Podcast Sachi Cunningham

Episode 66: Chris Aguilar

Chris Aguilar - endurance board paddling, ocean videos, helping others

In Episode 66 we speak with Chris Aguilar, a man of the water who has built an amazing lifestyle of board paddling and documenting the people and events of the sport. Chris takes us through his years filming the Molokai 2 Oahu paddleboard race and shares some of his favorite moments that he’s been a part of. We hear about the evolution of Chris’s video work and his passion for using this medium to tell stories from events like M2O, Carolina Cup, Battle of the Paddle while also pushing his own physical and mental limits competing as a prone paddler in many events. Chris talks about the 10+ Catalina Channel crossings that he’s done as well as his love for the Chattajack Race in Tennessee and shares his perspective on the paddle community and participating in fund raisers for those less fortunate, like the 24 Hour Paddle.

Thanks for sharing Chris’s ocean life with us. You can find Chris’s videos on Vimeo, pictures and video of him on his Instagram page and Facebook

This Ocean Life Podcast Chris Aguilar

Episode 60: Tom Wegener

Tom Wegener - surfer, master shaper, surfboard artisan, PhD

In Episode 60 we speak with Tom Wegener, a legend in the world of surfboard shaping who has spent the last 4 decades building and riding boards. Tom takes us through the story of his youth surfing and shaping in Southern California, the influence of Donald Takayama that helped guide Tom to pursue the art of shaping and find the spirit of “ohana”, or family, that is a key part of longboard surfing culture. Tom describes the evolution of his shaping from fiberglass and foam into wooden boards and his shares his passion for the traditional “Olo” and “Alaia” wooden boards that he continues to focus on building, and teaching others how to build, today. We hear Tom’s perspective and excitement for a transformation happening in longboarding with a convergence of high performance and traditional riding he recently witnessed at the famous Noosa Festival of Surfing. A ton of great history and perspective on longboard surfing culture from a man who has been front and center within it for decades. 

Thanks for sharing Tom’s ocean life with us. You can find pictures and video of him on Facebook, his website, and Instagram.

Episode 54: Stefano Ulivi

Stefano Ulivi - Diving and filming the Azores, shark conservation

In episode 54 we speak with Stefano Ulivi, a man of Italy who has devoted his life to raising awareness of ocean conservation through underwater filming. Stefano describes the underwater world of the Azores, an island group off the coast of Portugal, where he leads scuba diving tours and films the amazing animals of this special place. We hear of Pico Island, a relatively new volcanic island that hosts huge schools of manta rays and many species of marine mammals. Stefano shares his story of finding his passion for the ocean and his perspective on the evident decline in shark populations due to overfishing and poor management. We hear of trips to Tonga and Baja California where Stefano interacted with a 2-week old humpback whale and a ‘tornado’ of huge fish. Stefano shares a ton of enthusiasm for protecting the ocean that we can all be inspired by.

Thanks for sharing Stefano’s ocean life with us. You can find pictures and video of Stefano on his Instagram page and Facebook

This Ocean Life Podcast Stefano Ulivi

Episode 37: Steve Lonhart

Steve Lonhart - Marine Scientist, 3,000+ dives

In Episode 37 we speak with Steve Lonhart, marine scientist in Central California with over 3,000 scuba dives under his belt. Steve shares his life of researching the reefs and kelp forests around Monterey to better understand the changes to our ocean over time. We hear about the physical challenges of marine research diving, the boats and people required, the importance of collecting quality data, and the rugged beauty of the Big Sur coast, an iconic area of California. Steve shares a great perspective on the importance of monitoring our ocean environment over time to detect subtle changes that may indicate larger trends at work.

Thanks for sharing Steve’s ocean life with us. You can find pictures and video of his research on the SIMoN website. Thanks to Chad King for loaning the main picture above 🙂

Episode 34: John Brasen

John Brasen and Pacific Longboarder Magazine

In Episode 34 we speak with John Brasen, life-long Australian surfer and 20-year editor of Pacific Longboarder Magazine. John shares with us his harrowing tale of being resuscitated at Sunset Beach in 2018, early stories of growing up on the Gold Coast, and how he suddenly found himself as the editor of a legendary surfing magazine. We hear some great perspective from John on longboarding and running a magazine, with a fun look at where longboarding has moved (and returned) since the 1960’s. John talks about early surf trips to Java, Sumatra, Mentawis in the 1990’s as well as his own evolution in surfing and maintaining heavy stoke in the water.

 Thanks for sharing John’s ocean life with us. You can find pictures and video of John on his Facebook page and Pacific Longboarder Magazine Instagram page and website.

This Ocean Life Podcast Pacific Longboarder Magazine