Alex Kalish Surf Stoked for Ocean in a Drop California. The Amazing Water People series. Candace Loy 2018.
Where were you born, and where do you live now?
I was born in San Francisco, grew up in Moraga, and now live in Seaside, California.
Where are your favorite waters?
My favorite waters are the Pacific Ocean. I grew up visiting it with my family.
Now that I’ve spent a few years living so close to it, I’ve become fascinated by the ocean. It’s an incredible playground that also can put me in my place whenever I get too comfortable in it.
Would you please share a favourite water memory or two?
I remember when I was on a family vacation to Florida when I was young, maybe 10 or 12 years old I can’t remember exactly. I was boogie boarding at the beach, but really I was just purposely falling and getting thrown around by the waves.
I really enjoyed that feeling of rolling around in the foam and whitewash of the waves.
I also have a vivid memory of the first wave I truly surfed on. It was about a year and a half ago, at Spanish Bay. It happened on the first wave I went for that day, and it was so unexpected I didn’t even realize fully what was happening until it was over.
|It felt like skating on glass.
How do you incorporate nature in your life, and the way you make a living?
In my life, it’s been easy since I moved to the Monterey Bay. If I’m not able to surf, I can go to the beach, go on a hike, or drive down to Big Sur.
I moved here to get my Master’s degree in ocean & coastal resource management, and I’m working on figuring out my career path within this field now that I have my degree.
I also do field recording – I record nature sounds. I then either publish the nature sounds on their own or make music out of them. Different types of water sounds, like babbling brooks, pounding waves, and gentle rain, are some of my favorite sounds to record. I find that it’s an easy and effective way to transport someone to their nature, or their water.
Why do you do what you do?
I’ve found water, and the ocean especially, to be a really powerful and effective way to feel more connected. I think that our society is struggling with a triple disconnect – from ourselves, each other, and the planet.
Reconnecting with one of those can have ripple effects into the other two.
What happens when you don’t have time for nature?
I feel anxious and stressed. Nature is definitely my medicine.
Could you please share a time or experience where you felt lost in the crowd, like a tiny, insignificant drop?
I think it’s easy to feel that way regularly if I let myself…there’s so much craziness, pain, and indifference in society, so it’s hard not to feel like all of that is just an unstoppable wave. I can definitely find myself falling into that thought pattern at times.
How did you turn that around, and how did you get back to feeling like you were a whole Ocean in a Drop?
I turn that thought process around by connecting – with other people and with nature. Surfing or hanging out with friends or meeting new people.
Is there anything bothering you about the whole eco /green/conservation thing at the moment?
I think it tends to get dominated by more affluent white people, especially white men. It’s clear that our environmental issues, in addition to being pressing, significant, and frightening, are also social issues. Marginalized populations and communities tend to feel the effects first and worst. They should be properly represented in all conversations, programs, organizations, and movements.
What do you find is working? And what change do you hope to see in this lifetime?
I think that community-based and community run programs can work really well!
I also think that our more systemic approaches to environmental challenges work a lot better than narrowly focused ones. There are so many awesome people and programs working on similar issues – the more cooperation and networking we do the more effective we can all be!
Is there anything you would love to tell the you from ten years ago?
Think hard, work hard, connect the dots. And play a lot. Go to the ocean.
Anything else you’d like to add?
This is awesome, and I’m stoked for another 100 Days of Blue! #BlueMind
How can we find out more about you and your work?
Alex Kalish – Lighter than Water, for Ocean in a Drop California. The Amazing Water People series. Candace Loy 2018.