She is the ultimate ‘waterwoman’ making waves promoting environmental conservation.
As a surfer, freediver and qualified marine biologist, Brinkley Davies has an unwavering obsession for the ocean.
The self-described ‘water baby’ possesses the spirit of a true Gypsea warrior. When she’s not diving in the vicinity of great white sharks or swimming alongside majestic humpback whales, the blonde beauty is hard at work assisting organisations such as the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation to rescue and rehabilitate injured marine life.
We talk to Brinkley about her unique and fascinating lifestyle, the causes she’s most passionate about, and what we can do to help out!
Q: Brinkley, when did you first realise you had fallen madly in love with the ocean!?
A: I can’t say I remember a single point in time, but ever since I was a baby I have loved the water and the ocean. My love for the ocean has very much grown with me.
Q: You grew up in South Australia… whereabouts?
A: I grew up on the coast of the Fleureu Peninsula, but also spent a huge amount of time on the Yorke Peninsula at our holiday shack. I spent most of my childhood surfing, sandboarding, running around the local beaches and driving motorbikes around huge paddocks!
Q: Did you always want to study marine biology?
A: Absolutely. I’ve always wanted to be a marine biologist, but I never knew exactly what areas of that field of study I wanted to focus on. Now that I’m qualified, I have a fairly good idea of the areas in which I want to make a contribution and the issues I desire to resolve.
Q: You have so many things on the go – with your environmental interests, modelling and surfing. How do you find the time to do it all?
A: That’s a question I struggle to answer! I guess that’s just how my lifestyle is and, although it seems like a lot, I somehow fit it all in! I do find it overwhelming at times, especially when I open my inbox to hundreds of emails at the end of some days, but I try my best to balance things out. I work on a charter boat which covers the marine biology aspects of my life, and this also allows me to do freediving. I also have a lot of contacts worldwide that I collaborate with on conservation campaigns.
Life is like a continuous rolling ball… I am passionate about what I do, which keeps the momentum going.
Q: You’ve been diving with great white sharks in Port Lincoln… what was that experience like? Terrifying?!
A: The boat I work on runs charters for ‘Cage Diving with Great Whites’. We don’t use berley or bait, so these experiences are always passive. The sharks are merely inquisitive. They swim around the cage checking you out, and then they move on.
I’ve also seen great whites when freediving off the coast of Adelaide. Again, our interactions have been calm. I haven’t felt threatened – as yet!
Q: In your view, what are the biggest threats to our marine life?
A: Two of the biggest threats are plastic pollution and unsustainable fishing generally. I live in the fishing capital of Australia and, although I learnt a lot about it at university, living here has opened up my eyes to the issue. We have regulations in place in Australia to keep our fisheries sustainable, but many species found in the Northern Hemisphere, such as the northern blue fin tuna, have been fished to almost extinction upsetting the delicate ecological balance of the ocean.
The threats to our marine life seem endless. Others include shark finning, ocean noise pollution from navy testing and seismic surveys for oil and gas exploration, not to mention oil spills and the consequent destruction of habitats.
Q: What can we do to make a difference?
A: Each person’s small contribution to doing things differently collectively makes a HUGE impact. Know what you’re supporting and know what you’re buying. It is consumer demand that supports poor industry practices and we can make a difference by simply having an awareness of what we put our money towards. For example, many people visit SeaWorld without knowing about the suffering those animals endure in their lifetime. Awareness is the key to change.
Q: You’re involved in a number of animal welfare projects. Tell us about these.
A: I am currently involved in AMWRRO (the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation), which is a not-for-profit organisation that cares for injured marine wildlife until they are ready for release back into the ocean. Some of the most passionate and hard working people I’ve ever met work for this organisation.
I also assist the Dolphin Project, which focuses on creating awareness of the dolphin slaughter that occurs in Taiji in Japan each year. It is incredibly barbaric and unnecessary. The Dolphin Project is run by Ricardo Barry; he is an inspiration to me.
Q: Where is your favourite diving spot in Australia?
A: The Ningaloo Reef in Exmouth, Western Australia. This spot is beautiful in every way! The marine life, water clarity, weather… it’s all amazing.
Q: Describe how you feel when your riding a wave?
A: Free, happy and totally in sync with the ocean. Surfing will always be part of my life. It keeps me sane, grounded and wanting to achieve the most I can for the planet.
Q: As a model/surfer you need to keep yourself fit and healthy. What are your top 5 tips for maintaining a healthy body and mind?
A: I live an active lifestyle and, by making exercise part of my lifestyle, working out doesn’t feel like a chore! I freedive, surf and practice yoga, so I am always outside using my body and training in different ways.I have also been vegan for 6 years, and eat loads of fruits and vegetables. I am a strong advocate for eating wholefoods. Eating processed foods causes your body to work harder than it needs to maintain health.My top 5 tips are:
1. Get outside! Be sun-smart, but getting enough Vitamin D is essential.
2. Get in the water as much as you can. Swim, surf or dive – it’s all great fitness.
3. Eat lots of fruit and drink plenty of water.
4. Get enough sleep.
5. Do things that make you happy. Life is better when you are doing the things you love!
Q: Life mantra?
A: That’s a hard one. I’d say whatever you do, ensure it makes you happy.A lot of people go through life working in a job they hate so they can earn money to do the things they love later down the track. But I believe in always doing the things you love and working your life around them. Live a life that is in sync with your goals and the things you are passionate about.
Q: What goals are you off to smash next?
A: I want to strengthen the anti-plastic campaign we have launched as part of Keiko Conservation. It’s called #Grab4Tag4 and you can read more about it on my blog: www.brinkleydavies.com.au. I am also heading over to Hawaii in April/May this year to learn more about the marine life in that part of the world.Ultimately, I have many, many goals set for the future, and I plan on working hard to achieve all of them!