Lauren Hill is one of the most inspiring and stylish people we have been able to talk with. She is an incredible role model for young women and pursuing a passionate and meaningful life. Lauren is a sponsored surfer, who could have chosen the competitive pathway with commercialism, hype and fame. However she chose to align and collaborate with the alternative surf culture as the founder of 'SeaKin' which is focused on improving and maintaining our beautiful environment, promoting and being active with women's rights in and out of the ocean and allowing a platform for surf adventures and positive experiences which encourage positive life choices.
ROAR: Where have you lived most of your life and where do you call home now?
Lauren: I lived most of my life on Anastasia Island, a barrier island on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. I now live in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, Australia.
ROAR: Who inspired you to be a surfer and environmentalist and in what ways did this motivate you to become the person you are today?
Lauren: I’m not sure that there is a definable “who” that inspired me. The relationship between surfing and environmental activism was cyclical for me: I loved the beach so I started surfing. Surfing taught me to love the beach and my surroundings even more deeply, and I realized that I needed to do my best to take care of the places that gift me such joy. I can say with 100% certainty that I would not be who I am without the relationship that I’ve developed with the ocean.
Surfing in particular, something that I was always told was superfluous and trivial, has turned out to be one of the great barometers of my life. It has guided me into the most incredible adventures and the deepest feeling experiences that I’ve had.
With that said, lots of people have inspired me along the way: my mom and dad, Alice Walker, Dave Rastovich, Linda Murphree, Gloria Steinem, Tom Robbins, Rell Sunn…and many more.
ROAR: Seakin is one of our favourite websites to explore all things associated with the ocean and the eclectic community who revolve their lifestyle around it. How did this idea come about and what would you say is the main purpose for Seakin?
Lauren: I started a blog fresh out of university called Mersea Beaucoup when I couldn’t get a job amidst the global financial crisis. Since I couldn’t fulfill the role that American culture expected of me post-university (get job, climb work ladder, get mortgage…etc) I decided to just do what I really wanted to be doing anyway: surfing. So I wrote about my passions for surfing and environmental science and vowed to surf every single day during that experiment. I ended up getting a number of writing gigs and new surfing sponsors because I was putting what I loved and cared about into the world.
Anyway, Sea Kin is the product of many experiments in doing what I love. It’s a place to share stories about the ocean from different perspectives than what I tend to see in most surfing media. Sea Kin is about creating culture for ourselves.
ROAR: How can everyday people contribute and get involved with Seakin?
Lauren: The ultimate dream for Sea Kin is to have lots of people contributing from all over the world about their own bubbles of surfing and ocean culture. I’d love to have more contributors. If you feel compelled, please send me an e-mail at MerSeaBeaucoup@gmail.com.
ROAR: What are the latest projects you have been a part of and how have they changed your views on the world and humanity?
Lauren: The most recent project that I’ve been working on is a film called Beyond the Surface. We traveled through south India searching for surf with India’s first recognized female surfer and working with an NGO called Beyond the Surface, which was founded by a very inspiring young female surfer, Emi Koch. It really felt like a culmination of so many things that I am passionate about--- women’s surfing, sustainability, activism, yoga, adventure and connecting with other surfers. It was so incredible and certainly changed me in ways that I haven’t even really processed yet. You can read a bit more about the project through the link below: 'One in a Billion'
Just before I went to India I helped to organized a conference about The Economics of Happiness with an amazing woman, Helena Norberg-Hodge. While there I had the pleasure of getting to hear Charles Eisenstein speak (and take him for his first surf lesson!) and his message has been profoundly changing my worldview.
He reminds us that our purpose on the planet is to find out what our gifts are. That is our purpose and what will nourish us. And then, our task is to give those gifts abundantly.
That message really helped me to refocus which projects I’m putting energy into. And it always reminds me that everyone has incredible gifts to give, but that many of us have sideswiped ourselves off of the path toward finding our gifts with distractions.
ROAR: So the readers can understand, can you explain what it means to be an ecofeminist?
Lauren: We live in a world where the scales are significantly tipped toward the masculine. There are embedded rules in our culture that make it easier for some people to get ahead--- and those people have tended to be white men. For example, men still make more money than women for doing the same work.
Our culture tends to value men more and we more readily reward the characteristics of masculinity. We end up with men who feel like they aren’t allowed to express emotion, much less cry. And we end up with women who feel like they need to become hardened “like men” in order to get ahead in their careers.
So, we all lose because none of us are allowed to just be who we are. Feminism is about tipping the scales a little so that we can all reconnect with our feminine attributes, in order to create a more egalitarian world where everybody has a fair chance to thrive.
The “eco” part of ecofeminism has to do with seeing how the attitudes that allow us to destroy our natural environment, our planet, are linked to the way we treat other people.
When we collectively value domination, aggression, and disconnection and we choose not to listen or employ compassion for ourselves and the being around us, we are only then able to destroy the places and processes that literally allow us to live. The way we treat ourselves and our loved ones is intimately linked to the way we treat everything.
So, for me, ecofeminism means working to have a lighter footprint on our planet and doing our best to protect wild spaces or to help clean them up. It also means helping to eradicate the mental, physical, and ideological “pollution” that a patriarchal system creates as it divides through oppression.
ROAR: Without a doubt you are one of the most inspiring role models for young women. What is some advice you could offer them for the future?
Lauren: Thanks so much, Jonny and Jess. That’s a really lovely thing to say.
My advice is to find out what your gifts are and to give them abundantly.
For me, the path to my gifts always revolves around connecting with wild nature, following my intuition, allowing time and space for being quiet, and ignoring the voices of self-sabotage that inevitably arise when I’m taking risks.
Also, minding your own business is a full time job if you’re doing it well.
ROAR: What are some exciting things happening in the future for you and Seakin?
Lauren: Personally, I’m really excited about planting a new veggie garden at my house. Growing food is one of the most magical and fulfilling experiences that I know---that the seemingly simple combination of sunlight, soil and water can create such diverse edibles is mind boggling.
The SeaKin site is growing and I’ve been getting great feedback from people who’d like to contribute lately, which is a huge compliment--- so it seems like the concept is beginning to come into its own. I’d love to keep growing it, especially into print format.
Life is incredibly sweet.
Thanks Jonny and Jess for the opportunity to share a bit of my story.
Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story. To find out more and follow Lauren's adventures check out the link below.