Meet Shay Lawrence, surfer, adventurer, oceanpreneur, and founder of Caliwoods

Caliwoods is all about reuseable steel straws. Because milkshakes & iced coffees.

Shay Lawrence, surfer, sailor, and Oceanpreneur. For #OceaninaDropNZ #AmazingWaterPeople

Where were you born, and where do you live now?

I grew up in Auckland! Not really in a part near the water but we were always at the beach after school and on the weekends. Now I’m more or less location independent – based in NZ through summer and then overseas through winter. Currently working from Bali and it’s so amazing! 

Where are your favorite waters?

Would have to say Tahiti for sure. It is the most magical place that I have been to, the water is just so clear and the wildlife you see when you are surfing has been nothing like I’ve ever seen before.

How does water make you feel?

When I’m in the ocean there’s a connection to nature that just doesn’t happen as easily on land. There’s no phones or distractions, it’s kind of just you and the sea which is really calming. It’s pretty noticeable when I haven’t been in the ocean for a while (and not in a good way)!

Would you please share a favourite water memory or two?

Would have to say surfing this one spot in Tahiti where the reef was exceptionally clear – the water so glassy – it was almost like a mirage. You could see right down to the small clown fish on the reef when you were going down the wave which was 100% mesmerising.

The other would have to be close up dolphin encounters when surfing in Northland, New Zealand – they are such curious and beautiful creatures. It’s incredible when they surface right next to you and your surfboard and sort of eye you up – I always wonder what they are thinking!

Also, early morning surfs in the beautiful warm waters of the Bali coasts!

How do you incorporate nature in your life, and the way you make a living?

Basically I started CaliWoods as a way to do just that – protect what I love, contribute to something positive as well as have money for me to live. Starting the business, I always kept that at the forefront of what I was doing and the goals I set, making sure that purpose, planet and profit were all balancing out.
This Social Enterprise space, with businesses operating with strong purpose, is really interesting and it’s so great that there’s a lot more than just the dollar signs showing as priorities.
I go surfing as much as possible (the ocean is my ultimate happy place) and always keep my eyes open to the every day beauty I’m surrounded by.
Shaw Lawrence was inspired to bring steel straws as a reusueable option to consumers. For #OceaninaDropNZ #AmazingWaterPeople

Shaw Lawrence was inspired to bring steel straws as a reusueable option to consumers. For #OceaninaDropNZ #AmazingWaterPeople

Why do you do what you do?

My main mission is to inspire positive change. I do this because I want to protect what I love which is nature, a clean ocean, healthy ecosystems, happy people. My main driver is that it’s so clear that we aren’t doing things the right way, and we continue to do it the wrong way out of habit, convenience and (mostly) money. There’s for sure more sustainable ways to live and changing behaviour is one clog in that wheel.

What happens when you don’t have time for nature?

I’m definitely not performing my best when lacking nature. It’s important for me to get as much of a nature dose as possible to stay happy and productive!

Could you please share a time or experience where you felt lost in the crowd, like a tiny, insignificant drop?

Travelling. When sailing, we would be in the middle of the huge oceans of the world and not see any island for days. This makes you realise how small we are and how huge the world is.

How did you turn that around, and how did you get back to feeling like you were a whole Ocean in a Drop?

When Caliwoods starting taking off, I realized I could actually positively influence a lot of people. This was super inspiring, seeing people interact with CaliWoods and change the way that they acted.

Is there anything bothering you about the whole eco/green/conservation thing at the moment?

There’s some really amazing things going on in the green network right now, you get people who normally wouldn’t care about these issues caring. We just need to navigate the way we go about these new ideas, particularly packaging. We don’t want to create another problem or have companies exploiting this as a ‘trend’ and then greenwashing through marketing.

What do you find is working? And what change do you hope to see in this lifetime?

It’s awesome to see individuals positively influencing other individuals in small ways that add up to huge changes. I hope to see more individuals caring about the world we live in and making small changes in their daily lives that lead to big positive impacts. In this lifetime it would be epic to see humans develop systems that are basically in sync with nature, completely harmonious. It’s going to take some large scale changes for this to balance out but I guess that time will tell!

Is there anything you would love to tell the you from ten years ago?

Keep following the path that my heart had led for me and to enjoy the experiences along the way. The Shay from 10 years ago was doing okay. I suppose it would just be to keep following the path that I felt was right (because that usually is the correct one) and to just enjoy the experiences along the way.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Just to encourage people to keep making small changes to your daily habits. Small habits stick, big lifestyle overhauls usually don’t! We can’t all go ‘zero waste’ overnight but collectively these daily decisions we make as consumers add up to collective change.

Keep making small changes in your daily habits, it’ll lead to huge results.

Where can we find out more about the work you do?

Have a great day!

Shay Lawrence

E C O  |  R E U S A B L E S  |  S T R A W S

Caliwoods website

Caliwoods Instagram

Caliwoods Facebook page

*Candace: I met Shay Lawrence at Idea Bootcamp, organised by University of Auckland’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and held at the Unleashed Space. She gave an inspiring talk about founding Caliwoods, and it is an honour to have her share her story here.

Shay Lawrence, Caliwoods founder. For #OceaninaDropNZ #AmazingWaterPeople

Shay Lawrence, Caliwoods founder. For #OceaninaDropNZ #AmazingWaterPeople

23 September – 21 October 2018: #OceaninaDropNZ colouring competition is now on!

It’s for all ages #kidscolouring #adultscolouring and helps with creativity and mindfulness.

Enjoy some ocean art, and take part to win great prizes perfect for summer beach days!

Download your free copy here.

Ocean in a Drop : A series of illustrations by Candace Loy, with each water drop shape filled with sea life and the life that water supports, of a country or state (e.g., California). The bigger vision is to use portions of profits from the sale of beautiful and unique merchandise, to contribute to local marine, freshwater education, research and conservation initiatives in the region depicted by the drop.

#BlueMind is a movement started by Dr Wallace J Nichols, who is also a successful turtle conservation researcher. He has done collaborations with many people including neuroscientists, to show the positive effects of being around water, on the brain.

Not only is there an increasing number of organizations supporting people in overcoming PTSD and other debilitating circumstances through water-based therapy like surfing and swimming; his message is to encourage as many people to reconnect and strengthen their bonds with water, and be inspired as a result to take care of waters across our blue planet.

Combining neuroscience, honouring emotions and using it to create more beneficial solutions for our planet and the life she supports. Here are some of his talks on neuroconservation.

#OceaninaDrop + share your favourite water memory to inspire others, on Instagram and Facebook, and get featured xo