Episode Archives

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 102: Scott Kennedy

Scott Kennedy -- jack of many trades in the ocean

** Episode 102 ** Every now and then you meet someone who blows you away with their strength across multiple disciplines in the water. Scott Kennedy is one of those people. As a fisherman, surfer, diver, spear fisherman, boater, and more Scott takes us through his life growing up in Southern California, migrating to Northern California, learning his skills in the ocean the hard way – on his own, and finding great adventure and memories throughout. From hand-shaping surfboards to a love of body surfing, working in aquaculture and sustainable seafood consulting, Scott gives us a unique and humble perspective on the ocean we all love.
 
If you like what you hear today, take 5 minutes and visit FishWise.org or SeafoodWatch.org and read a few things about your favorite, tasty fish and educate on best purchasing practices for you and your family. Let’s use our wallets to let seafood companies know how important sustainable fish populations are to us all. Thanks for caring about the ocean and thanks for being here today sharing in the ocean life of Scott Kennedy.
 
Thanks for sharing Scott’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check him out on Instagram. You can also find fun stuff on the ThisOceanLife.TV websiteInstagram, and Facebook, and Twitter. Host: Josh Pederson, @surfpaddletailgate  
 
* Other pieces of our conversation *

 

  • Fishing for yellowfiin tuna on the Pacific Dawn charter boar
  • Scott’s 16ft Radoncraft skiff (boat) he spent over 600 hours on — adventure, fishing, more
  • Learning his way in the ocean around La Jolla, CA — trial by fire
  • Hand-shaping over 60 surfboards to continually experiment with different styles of craft to ride waves on
  • Anticipation and excitement for his growing family and what it means to get his kids in the water
  • Recent surf trip to the Maldives
This Ocean Life Podcast Scott Kennedy

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 99: Zeb Walsh

Zeb Walsh -- prone paddling Bass Straight, winning Molokai 2 Oahu, big wave rescue training

Episode 99!!

Zeb Walsh grew up in the waters of Southern Australia to become a world-class ocean athlete with a strong focus on long-distance and semi-crazy endurance events. Today Zeb shares his stories of winning the Molokai 2 Oahu paddle board race, paddling with friends across the Bass Strait to Tasmania, and hand-carving a dugout canoe for a 250km / 2 week paddle across the Torres Strait. Along the way we share a bunch of laughs while talking foiling, big wave rescue training, getting the groms out into the wild, and Zeb and me first meeting days before paddling M2O way back in 2011.
 
After you listen to Zeb here you’re gonna be fired up to get out in the water. Before you go though, decide on 1 way you will not use plastic today and then follow through on it. It’s pretty rad to do.
 
Thanks for sharing Zeb’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check him out on Instagram and his rad documentaries on Red Bull.  
This Ocean Life Podcast Zeb Walsh

Episode 98: Greg Lewandowski

Greg Lewandowski -- boat captain, scuba instructor, freediver, fisherman, photographer

Born in Poland and raised in the cold ocean waters of Maine, Greg Lewandowski began scuba diving at age 9, running boats, and developing a strong love for being in the ocean at a young age. Today he takes us through his stories of living and working across the Caribbean, running scuba diving charters, fishing, and freediving on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, his artistic approach to photography, and memorable moments with whales, sharks, manta rays, monk seals, and much more. You can find Greg on Instagram by his handle @seafeverh2o. And we can all cut way down on our plastic usage to help protect the environment and some of our favorite ocean animals we hear about today.

More highlights of our conversation:

  • First experienced tropical water at age 15 in Honduras setting him on a path of travel throughout the Caribbean serving as scuba divemaster and instructor before landing on the south shore of Kauai where Greg lives today.
  • Shares perspective on the spirit of Kauai and the ability for the island to either accept or reject people who move there.
  • Greg talks about running scuba tours for Fathom Five Divers, the amazing diving in the water around Niihau and the animals found there.
  • Most memorable experience underwater floating eye-to-eye with a juvenile hump back whale in the Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Spending time in the water with Hawaiian Monk Seal, local sharks, mantas, spinner dolphins
  • Operating tour boats in the unpredictable waters of Kauai
  • Fishing for the pelagic game fish in the Hawaiian waters — tunas, ono
  • Artistry that goes into making lures from scratch
  • Photography, favorite photo of a model on the beach just before a wave breaks around her
  • Evolution of freediving as another way to interact in the ocean
  • The abstract nature of bodybuilding relative to diving and being in the ocean (hint, wetsuits don’t fit so well but you need less weight to dive 🙂

Thanks for sharing Greg’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check him out on Instagram .

This Ocean Life Podcast Greg Lewandowski

Episode 97: James Casey

James Casey - winning Molokai 2 Oahu, foiling, coaching, surfing

In episode 97, we hear the stories of professional athlete and man of the water, James Casey, who takes us down his path from a young grom taking his beatings in Hawaiian surf to the dominant standup paddle boarder he is today, winning the infamous Molokai 2 Oahu paddle race on his SUP in 2019. James’s stories and perspectives on his love for coaching and foiling, traveling the world, running camps in Thailand and the Maldives, and commitment to family are fun and inspirational. I was lucky enough to have time with James before he took off from his home in Sydney to fly out for the Red Bull Heavy Water event in San Francisco.

Highlights of our conversation:

  • M20 win in 2019, top 5 finishes years leading up in the standup paddleboard division
  • Working for months to perfect his SUP race boards for M2O with Sunova Surfboards
  • Great perspective on top competitors that James battles in paddle contests, including Connor Baxter, Michael Booth, Travis Grant
  • James has caught the foiling bug in a big way and is running foil training camps in Thailand
  • Growing up splitting time near Sydney and Maui — right near world class downwind Maliko Run
  • How James’s father inflluenced him in the water and set him up for today’s success (best of wishes go out to James’s dad battling health issues!!!)
  • Coaching others, how that started, where that is today, and how James loves doing it
  • Casey. — the family business James operates with mom and sister at www.caseyaus.com

Thanks for sharing James’ ocean life with us. Be sure to check him out on Instagram and dive into the Casey. website.

This Ocean Life Podcast James Casey

Episode 96: Hayley-Jo Carr

Hayley-Jo Carr -- scuba diving, coral restoration, Bahamas

In episode 96 I spend time with Hayley-Jo Carr, a woman dedicated to marine conservation in the Bahamas. Hayley-Jo takes us through her youth on the coast of England to finding her passion for scuba diving and undersea life on vacation in the Whitsunday Islands of Australia.

We hear of Hayley-Jo’s pursuit of her passion for diving and marine conservation over the years leading to the Bahamas where today she focuses on coral restoration. Hayley-Jo talks about her role as PADI Course Director, training the local dive shops to teach their scuba students how to contribute to coral restoration, and her role as coordinator of the Reef Rescue Network, working with NGOs and planning dive operations to expand the network of coral reef nurseries.

Hayley-Jo provides great perspective on these coral nurseries, the importance of volunteer science and restoration efforts to support them, the health of the Bahamas shark populations, her love of underwater fashion modeling, impacts of the recent Hurricane Dorian, and more. 

 

Thanks for sharing Hayley-Jo’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check her out on Instagram and dive into the Reef Rescue Network.

This Ocean Life Podcast Hayley-Jo Carr

Episode 95: Kevin Dunn

Kevin Dunn — sunscreen pioneer, surfer, environmentalist

In episode 95 I speak with Kevin Dunn, founder and operator of BurnOut Suncare, one of the first environmentally-friendly and health conscious sunscreens to hit the market almost 20 years ago. Kevin takes us through his days of living and surfing on Maui, traveling and surfing Indonesia, to his kitchen where he made his first batch of sunscreen. We hear of Kevin’s focus to make a sunscreen that lasted in the water while being healthy for both people and the planet, the challenges he faced early on with bringing this, then niche, product to market, and the amazing reaction to his sunscreen that the market has had since. Kevin shares his knowledge of the chemicals and ingredients used in sunscreens, their effects on people and corals, and gives us a great overview of what ‘reef safe’ really means. We talk global warming, ocean acidification, and the effects that sunscreen chemicals have on corals with mention of some of the responses that places like Palau and Hawaii have taken to help protect their coral reefs from these chemicals. Kevin also shares his philosophy of Burnout Suncare and his drive to minimize every aspect of their environmental impact.

To get 50% off your order of Burnout Suncare products, go to their website at www.burnoutsun.com and enter the code ‘ThisOceanLife50’. My family and I use Burnout exclusively and absolutely love it — check it out!

Thanks for sharing Kevin’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check out BurnOut Suncare on the web and  Instagram.

This Ocean Life Podcast Burnout Suncare

Episode 94: Suzie Cooney

Suzie Cooney -- ocean athlete trainer, Maliko downwind, Maui life

In episode 94 I speak with Suzie Cooney, a well-rounded athlete who has turned her love of the ocean into a lifestyle of training others. Suzie takes us through her evolution from windsurfing and motocross riding to stand up paddling (SUP) and finding her passion for the world-famous Maliko downwind course on Maui. We hear of Suzie’s approach to training athletes both remotely and in person, her approach to the physical and mental aspects of endurance paddling, and her passion for spending time to help others grow strong in the ocean. Suzie shares her story of building a massive SUP event to raise awareness for women’s health and leveraging that to grow an amazing lifestyle of writing books, training others, and competing in SUP events. We hear of a recent trip to Hood River, Suzie’s love for riding dirt bikes, and her strength pushing through injuries to continue to thrive in the ocean.

 

Thanks for sharing Suzie’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check out photos and videos of her on Instagram, training website, and Mailko run website.

This Ocean Life Podcast Suzie Cooney

Episode 93: Cooper Family Part 2

Cooper Family -- Sailing the South Pacific (Pt 2)

In episode 93 we check in with Brian and Robyn Cooper, a family from Santa Cruz, CA who, with their 2 daughters, left it all behind 9 months prior to live a dream of sailing in the South Pacific. Brian and Robyn describe their first few months of learning their sailboat Renegade, the ins and outs of sailing among the islands and reefs of Fiji, and developing confidence in their sailing capabilities. The Coopers share perspective on traveling in the outer Fijian Islands, surfing incredible waves, diving, fishing, boat-schooling the kids, and spending time in many local villages where they’ve learned and embraced the Fijian culture. We hear of how the family is adapting to life afloat and how their daughters, ages 9 and 12, are growing and changing as result of spending tons of time in the ocean and interacting with the Fijian culture. Brian and Robyn talk about the next major part of their trip which takes them over a 10-day passage to New Zealand then over to Indonesia and other epic parts of the South Pacific.

 

Thanks for sharing Brian and Robyn’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check out photos and videos of them on Instagram, their website SailingWithRenegade.com.

This Ocean Life Podcast Cooper Family