Welcome to the first of what I hope to be many, feature photography pieces "Her Ocean Moments ".
"Her Ocean Moments" is a photography series, showcasing the beauty, passion and grace of fellow ocean women, both here on the Surf Coast and hopefully across the globe, accompanied by original photographs of them doing what they do best (All photography is captured by myself and copyright to @zoestrapp 2020. )
In this series, I will be diving into each woman's unique ocean journey, what draws them back everyday and how they believe we can work to protect it for future generation.
Our first feature is the talented and inspiring surfer, ocean explorer and advocate Sam Suendermann, captured here on the Surf Coast of Victoria.
1. How old were you when you first discover the ocean & your love for it ?
The ocean has always been a constant presence in my life. As far back as I remember the ocean (or really any body of water) has calmed me, entertained me and been a driving force in my life.
I guess the ocean has been my longest love affair to date, starting out as a young grom and still continuing to this day.
2. What ocean activity do you love doing the most? ( E.g. surfing, scuba diving, free diving, swimming etc)
I love being able to play in the ocean and enjoy mixing up different ways to get salty. Surfing is definitely up there on my list. Longboard, funboards, fishes, finless you name it I love to ride em all as the saying goes.
I was a swimmer when I was younger so swimming, body surfing and snorkelling are also a fave past time, although not so much in these colder waters. I’m slowly learning how to foil and kite surf (not at the same time) and also enjoy taking out the water housing to capture our beautiful coastline and friends riding waves.
Haha so I guess anything to do with the ocean I am in!!!
3. What is it about the ocean that you love so much & how does it improve you as a person ?
The ocean is something so vital to my identity and lifestyle that it’s really hard to pinpoint what exactly I love about it.
I love the raw beauty and power of the ocean, how the conditions can change in an instant, and how the coastline is so geographically diverse throughout the world.
I love the calming embrace of the water, the exhilarating feeling you get on a wave or seeing a dolphin or turtle or dugong.
I love being immersed in the natural elements and feeling all the negativity and unwanted thoughts and emotions immediately disperse.
I love all the incredible personal relationships that have evolved through a shared love of the ocean with people around the world.
All of these experiences have shaped who I am today. It may not have improved me as a person (I’m pretty selfish when it comes to sharing good waves sorry everyone) but it definitely grounds me.
4. How do you think we can better protect our oceans ?
I think at an individual level our actions can all have a positive impact. We can do beach clean ups, campaign, generate awareness and reduce our own footprint.
As surfers the boards we ride, the apparel we wear, the wax and legropes and grip pads we use rely on natural resource and fossil fuel extraction.
We have a responsibility to educate ourselves, change our behaviour and advocate for a transition away from the current paradigm. And ultimately the way our society functions elevates profit over people and the environment.
To protect our oceans we need to recognise its significance to the health of our planet and humans. We need stronger leadership, laws, technology and economic and social commitment to enhance our protection of the ocean.