In this episode, Prue Jeffries shares her pro surfing career with us and how water & nature support life, our health, and our well-being.
Prue Jeffries of Body of Wonder and Surf the Flow is a Craniosacral Teacher and Therapist, Continuum Teacher, Certified Massage Therapist, Registered Somatic Movement Educator, and founder of Vital Dynamics®.
Prue has always been a water person and explorer. She is a pioneer of women's surfing with 15 years on the ASP World Championship Tour, now known as WSL, co-founded a women's clothing line, was a writer and editorial consultant, and is now an avid nature photographer. She is also Creative Director for Watermark Arts, a somatic informed artistic endeavor.
Water, waveforms, and movement have been her life. Surfing is a spiritual, natural, and artistic endeavor that informs her deeply. She weaves experiential learning from nature and her body with the study of well-being, spiritual and somatic approaches for wholeness.
Right now, her focus is on the embodied knowing of ourselves as water and as nature—how that translates into the water being not only a metaphor but a conveyer for interconnection—shifting people's capacity to be more humane towards life and nature and protect and regenerate our planet.
Prue Jeffries surfing in Mexico for Dear & Yonder surf film.
Photo by: Tiffany Morgan-Campbell
Social Media Profiles:
- Body of Wonder
- Website: https://www.bodyofwonder.com/
- IG: https://www.instagram.com/bodywondr/
- FB: https://www.facebook.com/bodyofwonder/
- Vital Dynamics
- Website: https://vitaldynamics.bio/
- Surf the Flow
- Website: http://www.surftheflow.com/
- IG: https://www.instagram.com/surfingtheflow/
- FB: https://web.facebook.com/surfingtheflow/
- Member of Continuum Teachers Association
- Registered Somatic Movement Educator at ISMETA
- Creative Director of Watermark Arts
You can get a copy of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art here.
- Why did you start surfing?
- When and how did you decide to compete?
- What was it like being on tour for 15 years?
- What was your high point? Low point?
- How's the transition like retiring from being a professional athlete?
- What is Somatic Movement?
- The embodied knowing of ourselves as water and as nature
- What is Craniosacral?
- How important is breath?
- What's next for you in your journey?
- First surfboard?
- Favorite surf trip?
Location: San Diego, CA
Saltwater High! Today, I have with me Prue Jeffries. Hi, Prue, how are you?
Hi, Derek. I'm great. It's nice to speak with you.
Yeah, it's super great to meet you through our mutual friend, Naomi. And first, I have to ask about your name. Where does the name come from—Prue?
Oh, it's actually short for Prudence. And Prudence sounds very formal. So it ended up shortened to Prue. My mom came up with a name from an actual book she was reading. There was a heroine in it called Prudence. And my father, on the other hand, drove a VW bus and was a Beatles fan, so he liked it from the Dear Prudence song.
Yeah, that's a great song. I love that. So are you Australian originally?
You are? Okay, cool.
Sydney. I grew up in Bondi.
Oh, very cool. I lived for 6 months in Bondi. I'll never forget it. I met these Australians, which I absolutely love Australians. I feel like they've changed my life in so many ways. But I met this group of Australians while trekking in Nepal. It was in Nepal and I spent some time in a Buddhist monastery. And then I went on the Annapurna trek. Australians are always like, "Yeah, mate, if you ever come to Australia, look us up." Probably thinking they're never going to see this American guy again in their lives, right? And then I showed up probably 4 months later, knocked on the door, I didn't even tell him I was coming. Had my surfboard and a backpack in my hand. And they're like, "Derek!" And I'm like, "Hey, what's up, guys?" They're like, "Yeah, what can we do for you?" No, they were really cool. They're like, "Okay, the living room is yours." So I slept on the floor in the living room. This is quite a while. This is probably in the early 90s now or mid-90s actually, mid-90s. Slept on the floor in the living room for 6 months in Bondi. And I can tell you was probably one of the best times of my life. Just loved it—Bondi. Today, I haven't been back in years, but back then it was an amazing place.
Yeah. It's really, I think, fortunate in many ways growing up there. And my family had a long history actually in Bondi. But a lot of us got out and traveled. A lot of Bondi people, we seem to get out in the world and have a lot of immigrants go to Bondi. So there's a lot of connections all over too.
Yeah, very cool. Yeah, so are you now in San Diego or are you in Australia? You're in San Diego?
Yeah, I live in Encinitas and I go back and forth to Australia.
I have a grandmother in Australia.
Oh, awesome. Just one more Australian reference because I just love it so much. I was looking at your background and you got runner up at Bells, I think, one year. You were a pro surfer, so for you, this isn't or maybe it is also something that you felt, but you grow up seeing all these waves around the world, J-Bay, Bells, Indo. There's like I would say 5 main waves and Bells was the last one on my list. And I was there about a year and a half ago and got to surf. Well, actually, right before COVID and talk about a beautiful place, man. Bells is just wow. I had no idea. Just the surroundings around Bells were just fabulous.
Yeah. It was a dream for me to even get to the final there and it was actually the first place I did a pro surf event originally. And just the wave, the nature, the environment, the great ocean road, and then the whole atmosphere, because it's almost like a natural arena. So there's the Easter energy going on as well. And I remember a colleague of mine talked to me a few years later and said, "I remember the first time I met you. You're really young and you were running around in the food tent with all the Hare Krishnas." Because that was Bells. We had Hare Krishna group come in to feed us in the early days.
That's amazing. I had no idea.
Yeah, it was fun. So yeah, but very deeply in my heart, it's sort of almost like a holy grail of surfing in a sense.
Absolutely. Yeah. So anyone out there that has dreamt about going to Bells, you got to do it because you won't be disappointed for sure. Amazing place, amazing wave, just amazing people. Just everything about it. Yeah, so why did you start surfing? How did it all happen?
Well, everything's on the coast in Australia as you know from being there. How focus is actually the beach in many ways. And my mom swim, my dad was surfing and originally, it started we would bodysurf and go. My grandfather bodysurfed and fished and eventually I just would look at the waves and be really interested in. I watched people ride them and I just was fascinated. That really took me in. And my family life was a little rough, so I could just go in the ocean and I wouldn't even call it an escape. Truly what it was, it had allowed me to connect deeply. So that just was the entryway into surfing.
Connect with yourself?
Yeah, and everything too. As soon as I get in the water, I just feel everything changed for me. And sometimes I had to get a little bit up to catch waves because sometimes I'd just be very happy just sitting, floating around in the water. So I'm still a prolific bath taker because I'm just a water person.
It's kind of funny. It was that and having brothers that surf. I just wanted to be out in it and getting that sensation and I was really fortunate I stood up really easily. So I stood up before I knew how to duck dive.
Wow, that's amazing.
All the other stuff came, I had to kind of catch it up, all of it. It was that. I just wanted to spend endless hours in the water and the whole wave motion.
Yeah. And when did you decide that you were going to compete? How did that all kind of unfold?
Sort of overnight? So it's really interesting because I really am process-orientated about a lot of things. And Occy was my hero and I love Tom Curren. And I'd look at all these surfers and I loved Kim Mearig actually. She's had a very beautiful style. But I hadn't put it together that I wanted to be a pro surfer. Because I was in school and I wanted to be a writer and I wanted to be 20 different things at once because I loved so many things and I literally had done very little amateur contests and I think, I don't know at the time, but Pauline Menczer wanted someone to take to Bells Beach River and she needed, I think, to split the cost too. So it was really like this overnight thing just out of high school, come to Bells beach and then we packed up and drove down there the week later. And I think in the space of 2 months, I decided to travel and do the full tour. So it was basically sort of an overnight oh, just do that.
Back then if you wanted to just go and do a heat, could you do that or how did that all play out?
Yeah, that was actually kind of wild times. It wasn't very structured. So, it was a tour, but the organizers were traveling with the prize money in the countries and it was sort of loose end. We didn't have a WCT. We had contests and basically, there was always the top 8 women seeded and the rest could just compete in the early rounds. And if you make it through the early rounds, you get to up against the top 8 in the later rounds. So if you're a grom, which I was, I was kind of a really clueless 17-year old just going around the world, you would just follow the contest and surf the early rounds. And if you beat people, you get through.
Wow, very cool.
Yeah. So we did a lot of that. I didn't actually really pay attention to the riding the first 2 years actually.
Yeah, yeah. And then eventually did you, I guess, find sponsorship or became a little bit more professional between clothes for you?
Took some time. Yeah. When I first was doing it, there was no women's clothing. So if we got a sponsor, I was getting sent men's shorts and it was really kind.
Good for your boyfriends at the time probably.
Well, my brothers actually. So you can kind of give these shorts away and then go I have to keep a couple because they want me to wear the clothes, but nothing significant was very hard at the time to get sponsorship. So I usually worked. So you try and work and save your money in going or win prize money as you went and maybe some sponsorship would contribute. So I did it for a few years and then did a couple real jobs and then bounce back into it as it evolved to be a bit more professional. And my generation was probably the ones that had an agent actually. I was one of the first to actually get an agent because I wasn't good at negotiating for myself. I was too much of a pushover.
You're like, "Sure, travel and surf the world? I'll sign up."
Yeah, basically. So that wasn't always helpful. So yeah, it took some time, and then all of a sudden we're in France and they're telling us we have to pay taxes now. And it was all above board. And we're like, "What's that?" Yeah, I was on the cusp of that evolution.
Yeah. And 15 years, that's a good run. That's quite a chunk.
Yeah, yeah. And I was a little bit on the end of one generation and the beginning of another. So I was sort of in-between worlds a lot in my age group. And I saw a lot of different changes over time and probably stories I should never repeat.
Oh, come on.
So, I was saying to a friend the other day, we drove down Portugal one time and one of the first beaches we arrived in was Nazaré. And we're looking at it. And I think my colleagues at the time were like, "Oh, you could surf that." And the other one's like, "Well, no one's out there." And we're like, "Well, that's good." And she's like, "No, there's a reason." So, now you look back and it's this big spot now.
Yeah. No jet skis back then probably either.
Nothing like it. Yeah.
Yeah, very cool. So if you were to look back on those 15 years of being on the tour, what would you think the high point was for you? Or one of the high points.
On a strictly competitive sense, probably winning Margaret River. Actually, any of the wave locations that I won something and I got to the final were usually waves that I actually struggled in originally. And I really had a hard time riding them and then I made it a point to get better at that, and so winning a contest in that kind of conditions, I surprised myself almost often. So that was kind of a good feeling. Was not so much about the trophy, it was about all the things I had to overcome to actually be there. So I'd say that. Because I was more a free surfer at heart, my highlights were on boat trips in the Maldives and there was real waves specific.
Yeah, definitely. I got to Simeulue. So about 2 years ago, I wanted to go somewhere I'd never been and probably one of the furthest places I've been. So Simeulue is the very northern island off of Sumatra above Nias, right? So it's way up there and it's Sharia law. Well, it's just Sharia law, so it has a different flavor than a lot of other places, but I loved it. It was fantastic. It was full of Aussies. I was probably one of a handful of Americans and the handful were the Americans I brought with me. But, yeah, the Aussies have set up about 4 or 5 different camps there. And yeah, it's a really interesting place.
Yeah, I hadn't got up there. We went to Mentawais and went down the river down there and met all the Sikerei Mentawai, what we call shamans. And he was actually talking about the north. He was concerned about deforestation and the plant medicines being encroached on, but also really concerned about all the people in the north. Yeah, so he had this kind of awareness. But, it's on my list still.
In the north of Sumatra or just in the north of?
All of Indonesia.
All of Indonesia, yeah. Hmm interesting, yeah. Indonesia, it's so diverse, right? From so many different islands. I've only visited probably 5 or 6 and I already feel like each one of them has been very different. Yeah, yeah. Very cool. So we talked about a high point. What was a low point?
Um, actually there's a lot that went on. I think that the sport has a lot of politics. It did at the time. I could have played the game, but I didn't. I had different motivations. And I think probably some of the low life was points where when I had injuries and got quite unwell, and I had a clothing line that I'd started. And so I had these things kind of constellate at once, which was good in some things. The clothing line was successful, but some internal things happened with decision-making that wasn't so great, which put it back a lot. So that happened around the same time that I got quite sick and that took a while to get through. And I think I had some family things at the same time. And then, there was a whole thing around a wild card.
That got a little political because we were pushing for women's rights a little. And so there was politics and phone calls made to me because I was vulnerable at the time. So I got kind of a backbone.
I can tell.
But, I took a lot to get through it, but I think it was good for me because it put me on my path actually. So it's one of those things you get put on your path sometimes from something.
From adversity, yeah.
Yeah, yeah. So you spent 15 years there. I can imagine for most every athlete that is professional and that retires or transitions or however you want to say it, it's got to be hard.
It's got to be like a part of your identity is being lost or reformed. I have problems with that just in regular life, so I couldn't imagine. Yes, let's talk a little bit about that.
Yeah, yeah, you're actually asking a really good question because I like to be liked but I've watched some people in my age group or older just recently try and kill themselves. And it doesn't get talked about, but there's a real imbalance that's created when people are put in the limelight. And it just really depends on what you do with it? You're in a situation with surfing where you have to stay in the limelight or you're not relevant. So there's that element and that's like that in every professional sport, I think, as well as having to perform. So if you allow it, it becomes all of you. And I'm not saying I didn't have that occurring because that would be a lie. But I put buffers around myself. So if I was on the cover of a magazine or something like that, I often just threw it in a bucket. Seriously, I did. Because in my mind, it was sort of like a form of self-protection. Yeah, because I'd seen what was happening in people. And I'd also seen people become inflated then and to the point where I was like, "I don't really know you anymore, but I remember you back then." So, how can this overall be healthy? So I would say when I transitioned, I still was a bit lost, but that was still a going back to my childhood, a manifestation of I get so interested in so many things that I sometimes just get really excited and I don't know what to do about all of the interests.
Welcome to the club.
There was that. And it's like, "Where do I go? I could do this. I could do that." So there was that. And just I actually really don't want to be in the limelight. I wanted to be kind of left alone. And that's just I tend to be a bit hermit-like. I'm amiable once I get out with people. But there's just this pull all the time. And so I'm not saying it was graceful, but I wanted to kind of experience life beyond just surfer identity because I love surfing, but what the identity is, is really a cultural thing or a subculture thing. It's the things like I'm not going to name names, but one of my board shapers was like, "What are you doing riding those things?" Because I was excited because I was on fishes or else riding a twin fin. They're like, "That's not progressive." And I went, "What is progressive?" So at that time, I was feeling really hemmed in anyhow. So it allowed me some freedom to try new boards and connect with people like Donald Takayama, Rich Pavel. So it's like that, but I think the biggest crisis was people were relating to me a certain way still and I wasn't relating to it the same. So it took some time. But even from the beginning, I still had that thread where I was interested in more esoteric metaphysics healing. I was still following that thread no matter what. So, it was a bit of a struggle for a few years.
Yeah. I think a lot about my relationship to surfing. It's probably the one thing that I've had the longest consistent relationship with. Partners come and go, friends come and go, businesses come and go. And I actually know since I started surfing at probably 9 or 10, I've been consistently surfing my whole life except for maybe 8 months at one point. And so my relationship to surfing now is not how it started. When I started, I was kind of doing what was cool and wanted to be seen and wanted my friends or non-surfers to look at me in a certain way and of course, there was kind of a middle ground between that time and now. But now, I feel like it's more about the water, it's more about the ocean than it is the activity of surfing. Even though, I have to say, when when you're in flow state, when there are moments of flow state during surfing, you're locked in going down the line or whatever it is that's happening, those are special moments. Well, my theory is that I disappear—the me that experiences most of life and life suffering because much of life is suffering, disappears in that moment. So it feels very joyful because I'm not there anymore, but I'm experiencing it. Right? So there's something very metaphysical about that particular moment. But I'm learning more and more that it's something about the water, being in the ocean. Something about just being in the ocean. And the other thing I think about a lot, too, is most of our lives, our visual field, it's filled with stuff. And most of it is manmade stuff, right? Unless you're in a forest then it's trees, but when you're in the ocean looking at the horizon, there's nothing there. Right? Maybe there's an island or maybe there's a sunset. But I feel like that has an impact on the mind, just the looking out into nothing.
Yeah. No. All the thread was surfing for me. You're really precise about that. It is about the ocean and the water. I think it's the closest we get to whatever created us is the water, and there's some sort of transmission that happens just floating around and being in the water that puts you really fundamental to life and connects you with everything in life because everything in life, water is permeating and looking into that kind of emptiness is a horizon. So you're somewhat located. It helps you locate a little, but you're basically looking into a void and it's that you're doing it sometimes even when there's a crowd happening around you, you can be still in that space. And I agree. When someone asked me once, "What are you thinking when you're surfing?" I'm like, "Nothing. I'm gone. I'm not there. I'm completely dissolved." And that is because you've melted into infinity, so there's not really anything to worry about and there's nothing to defend either. There's no position or anything.
I like that. There's nothing to defend. That's beautiful.
Yeah. I love this. What you wrote back and forth with my assistant, the embodiment knowing of ourselves as water is one of the things that is important that you wrote and I just love that, right? Because what are we, 71 percent water, something like that?
Yes, yes. And because I work in the considered what you could say, bodywork or somatic education field, we talk about bodies all the time and we talk about bones and we have this really very mechanical which we've projected. We've created machines and then we've projected a mechanics onto this organic, non-linear experience that is us. And that we're 70 percent water, so most of what we're experiencing in life is the experience of water and we've forgotten that. And it's well to think we're 70 percent, even when we're in the ocean, we're mainly oceanic things. And so we've got wave dynamics in us.
Yeah. When you think about it, it's amazing. And when you also think about, I think the planet is close to the same amount of water as our bodies.
There's 70 percent of the planet's surface is water. And almost exact are in our bodies which is crazy. Yeah, I just love that and I think things happen.
I think the chemistry's basically the same balance, too. So the alkalinity. I study with the lady, Emilie Conrad, and it's interesting that a dancer from New York would almost be talking a surface language, but she was so tapped in and she was always saying this concept of species inclusivity where when we're connecting with our own fluid origins, we're connecting with the origin of life, so that whole idea of being just a human being breaks down pretty fast because we're basically the ocean inside. So the ocean holds all life forms. So actually if we connect into that sense of being in ourselves, then we feel more interconnected with everything than just that one thing we think we have in common.
Yeah, it's beautiful. So what is Somatic Movement or the study of Somatic Sciences? What does that even mean?
Well, it's couple different. It's thrown around a lot, the word somatic, because essentially on some level, people do use it as body. But a deeper understanding of soma is it's really a process of coming into being, so it's beyond just the physicality of a body. And if we're looking at ourselves as waveform, we're basically waveform that converged and we're a process and we're not just a singular process, we're a process that's an extension of the earth. So we are the earth. We got the same waters that the oceans have. So we're basically we're not just living on the earth, we are the earth and we are that process. We've just split off from it somehow. And surfing allows us to really connect. A lot of activities do if we allow it. And so I look at somatics a little different than the real tight definitions, but as far as somatic education, movement education, it really is an umbrella term for a lot of different wellness modalities that are looking at how we move and how we relate. So things like Feldenkrais, Alexander technique, they call this movement education, where it's looking at supporting people to become more aware of how they move, and how to move past habitual patterns and blockages within themselves, and it can mean a physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, all of it at once can because we are all of that. It's hard to separate it out. We become a little reductionistic in some ways in general in society. But if you're working from that more wholeness place, we're all of that.
So how can people get more in touch with their somatic side?
Yeah, it's a good question. Because there's so much we're doing, and so I think that we're just automatically doing. And we've done it. And somatic actually, when you're doing it on land, just brings that more conscious. So you become more conscious of how you're positioning your toe or then how your foot may flat into the ground or how you may tilt your hip in relationships. So in that sense, there's a lot of different classes people can take, but the beauty about that is some of them quite like surfing, in that they're more free-flowing. So you're really starting to develop different senses. So there's proprioception, which is how you locate yourself in space, and we do that a lot with surfing because we're basically flying down a wave and sort of our bodies already positioning us as we can as we're moving. But it's just bringing a level of sensitivity and awareness to actually that. So I teach a form of somatic education. It's beyond that. But Continuum's one of the ones that I teach and that's basically making sounds with our own voice, vocalization, and then working with whatever movement comes up freely to move with it. And it's looking at us is 80 percent water and the fluid dynamic's conducting that movement. So I almost look at it like surfing on land.
I love that.
Because I was kind of a strange person that if I had an injury, I was in my room visualizing and pretending I was surfing in the air and moving. So I was doing that a long while ago. And this sort of comes close to it without that. But it does help. It really enhances bringing that awareness in actually enhances not just surfing, but how you're moving and relating in life and how you're holding and taking care of your body.
Very cool. And how does Craniosacral work kind of fold into that work?
Yeah. We would be talking forever about all the histories of the modalities.
Of course, of course.
Because there's a lot to it. The people that come up with these modalities, they're can of like surfers. They're on the edge of culture like we are. But Craniosacral again is another fluid modality. The original cranio is different, what would you say, different versions of Craniosacral with different focuses and they're all good. I tend towards moving away from the structural mechanics. So there's Craniosacral modalities that would be more along I'd say a chiropractic idea of something's out, you put it back in place, it moves. The Craniosacral work that I do is called Biodynamics. So straight away again, it's looking at fluid dynamics within the holes of the body. So we have a language where we're actually sitting and lightly touching people in a meditative state and we're listening to tides. There's this what we call tides. So basically, there is a sense of what we call dynamic stillness, which is just that full pulsing the stillness, but there's still movement within the stillness. Just like you could say, the void is not empty, it's a full void. But the body expresses different waveforms. So there's also what we call a long tide, which is just this really what you call dropped in expansive deeps space that you could think of. If the sun's setting and it's a real tranquil evening out and you get that sense of depth, which we're just sitting on the beach, we believe you can perceive that within a person's system. And then we have another perceptual we can feel in the body called the mid-tide, which you'll see the body sort of start feeling like there's waves in it and fluctuations. So the whole language is it's almost like a surfing language.
Yeah, that's what I was thinking.
Yeah. And it's deeply relaxing and we're barely touching people to do that. So it can be beneficial for a lot of different. And I was actually working that way before I even knew that existed.
Wow. Are you serious? That's great. Just intuitively?
Yeah, yeah. I was just doing my own thing, so I called it 20 different names. I kept changing the name.
That's so unlike you.
It's just a creative me.
Oh, that's amazing. How important do you think the breath is in all of this?
Yeah. Breath is primary.
I'm reading this book called Breath: The New Science of the Lost Art, which I totally recommend to anyone. It's absolutely amazing.
I have to get that.
Yeah. I'll put the link in the show notes and I remember reading this. I went to graduate school and I took some time off and I went to Hawaii and I was like, "What am I going to do with my life?" I still have the same thoughts, by the way. But I read this book called The Way of a Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman and it was kind of one of those seminal coming of age. It was just a great book. I went back and read it again about I don't know a couple of years. And I was like, "Oh, this is horrible." Not horrible. But it was like for me at that point, it was the perfect book and now it just wasn't the right book for me. But one of the first things and I remember this very succinctly now that I'm reading this new book on breath, which I love, and he spent a lot of time in the beginning of that book. It's basically like a Zen master and his student, right? That's how the whole book goes. And he kept talking to the student about how important the breath was. It was like the first lesson, right? It was like over and over oh, no, you're not breathing right, you don't have it right. And I remember kind of glancing over that and I was doing yoga at the time and I was exposed to breath. And now that I've been reading this new book on breath and following some of the examples and trying to breathe and slow my breath down and breathe through my nostrils, right? So he talks about breathing through the nostrils, and so in this book, he basically says disease, deformities, asthma, all these things, what he's suggesting are actual results of not breathing correctly, like breathing too deeply. So he talks about the relationship between carbon dioxide and oxygen and one of the theories that he debunks is that we need more oxygen in our bodies. And what he's suggesting is that it's not the oxygen, it's the carbon dioxide and how that relates to the cells. Anyway, I'm not giving it justice, but it's fascinating. And so I just was wondering how you think about the breath.
Yeah, we've got some common background, because actually at the time, The Way of a Peaceful Warrior, was a big turning point for me, too. When I read that in my 20s and I used it, I actually had to clean everything up. I stopped breathing with my mouth and keep my tongue at the roof of my mouth. I trained and focused on breathing out to standing up to my feet. And for years when I was doing coaching in Encinitas and have some girls come to me and go, "I want to do an aerial." And I'd say, "Well, I want you to go out and just focus on breathing out when you stand up." And they're like, "What are you doing?" They wanted more. And I was like, "Well, you won't get them all unless you start with the fundamentals, which is breath." And a lot of it came from what you were talking about. And I was introduced in my 20s to Buteyko breathing through breathe time too. So I went facing different workings with breath. And I actually came from having a very bad bout of whooping cough and pneumonia, so it became quite prominent for me because it became more dangerous for me to sort of surf after that event in my life. But I would say breath, I think my experience of it with meditation has been really interesting because I've definitely had places where it actually almost feels like it stops. And I really don't have a need to take an in-breath or make an out-breath, and it's not something I could force. It was just something where over a period of time might be 5 minutes before it even becomes necessary. And as that quietens, I can almost feel this sense of my whole system breathing in another way, which is not necessarily related to the mechanics of the lungs doing the work. So there's all this interplay with breath that happens with an internal journey, but it's fundamental to life. The moment we get to land, which we get to land once our mom has us, but we're not on land when my mom's carrying us or we don't know what breathing is. And actually, in our Craniosacral work and even Continuum work, you can actually get a sense of where that happens in someone that what we call breath is an ignition. Something that once you come out of the birth canal, there's a level of an ignition that happens in your system that engages breathing even to stop happening. So that's our entry point back onto land. So from there on, all our patterning in the air is happening. So yeah, I believe what my experience was what Emilie Conrad used to teach, which is breath is waveform, and just like there's a million different waveforms in the ocean, there's a million different waves of breath being able to be taken up into your body in more like a waveform motion rather than this mechanical in, out, in, out. So starting to experience breath in that way into. And there's all this signs now on with people with anxiety and things, so something as simple as when we teach sounds in Continuum, the in-breath is not as long as the out-breath because you're doing the sound on the out-breath and the longer an out-breath is, it helps re-regulate and puts you in a parasympathetic mode, and just doing that over time drops the anxiety levels for people. So there's just I think some of these ancient philosophies were really in touch with that and we just kind of went on a tangent with the industrial.
Yeah. The evolution, I would call it?
Yeah. A little whiz isn't it? I don't know why we did that.
Yeah, interesting. So what's next for you in your journey?
I've been asking that a lot because I thought something was going in a certain direction and then COVID happened. I've spent the last probably 6 or 7 years doing a lot of caregiving just with family, so I had a lot of time doing a lot of rounds in ICU and emergency rooms where my breath was really important. But I think I'm doing a little bit of recalibrating. But I think it's as usual, doing my personal sessions I've always done with people. Teaching the Craniosacral, I'm developing my own work that was based on originally how I was working. I'm going to call that Vital Dynamics, so I'm really looking forward to developing that and starting to train people in that. So that's a big part. But I'm really a traveler and an explorer at heart, so it's been so hard not to travel during COVID, but that's also a practice for me to stay rooted and find out what that means too, but art or everything what you could call metaphysical's really, it's center stage in my life. So, I'll probably keep doing what I do. I help with my friend's artistic endeavor, which is watermark arts.
I saw that, yeah.
Yeah. So we do a lot of things, but we landed on the title Creative Director, but I'm interested in that. I like supporting artists that this is where you're just creating for art's sake and you're creating in a way to transmit this understanding of interconnection. So I feel really called to advocating for nature and advocating for our interconnection and staying engaged with the surfing world, too, because I think we've come of age a bit. I think there's been some awakening happening, whereas I used to get so much trouble for eating meat, my friends were always like, "Get a steak into you or something." And now everyone's they're doing plant-based. They understand how it affects the environment and I think my role is to create situations where people can really feel that in every cell of the body that they're nature, because if they stop feeling that, they're not going to go out and do these harmful things or have children and teach them that we're going to actually be able to start acting like this is a real gift for us and that we are the earth. I'll be doing my best in my small way.
Big way, I would say.
Yeah. So I have a couple of exit questions that I'd like to ask. What was your first surfboard?
I was thinking about this the other day. It wasn't technically mine. I'll go 2 directions. My uncles had a red single fin, so I would ride the red single fin, but my actual first surfboard was actually one of Michael Kalupa's old pro boards.
Yeah. Originally, we surfed on foamy surfboards in Australia, so we didn't graduate to a glass surfboard for a while. But it was an okay board and it was an experimental one, even in that kind of a rounded nose. And that was my very first and my first sponsorship board was actually from David Gyngell, who Gynge, he actually runs a Nine Network in Australia now, but he owned a surf shop in Bondi and got me my sponsored surfboard, which was a Town and Country. And I just love the yin and yang symbol.
Yeah, I had one. I loved it. Very cool. And what was your favorite surf trip, all-time surf trip?
Oh, so hard.
Because I had so many because I'm surfing the world. I would say the Maldives. The boats in the Maldives. It was early days.
And if someone asked you why they should start surfing, what would you respond to them?
I would say, "Why wouldn't you?"
I love that. "Because it's hard, because I can't stand up, because so many people."
But yeah. I could also say that it will enrich your life in a way you'll never know unless you go.
Yeah, I love that. I always think of surfing as the greatest love of my life. Yeah, well, it's been awesome to meet you and catch up and hear about your journey and we'll have links to all your wonderful projects in the show notes if anyone wants to reach out and work with you or find more out about what you're doing and yeah, it just been great.
Thanks, Derek. I really enjoyed talking to you.
Let's paddle out at Bells sometime together.
Yeah, I'd love that.