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Leah Dawson  leah-surely-hair Surfer, Media Creator, Positive Living Enthusiast

Q&A WITH A WOMAN WHO INSPIRES US!   - If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be: everlasting contacts (I’ve got less than poor vision at the moment), an ukulele, and a surfboard (given that theres already fruit trees on this island :) ) - What's your favorite beach that you have been to: Sunset Beach, North Shore Oahu. Ive been lucky enough to call this beach home for the last 6 years. It is my favorite because the sand is beautiful and clean, the waves are world class, and it is the most epic ‘sunset’ view I’ve seen. - What beach is on your list to go to: Ive always dreamed of traveling to Tavarua Island in Fiji, as well as the many beaches of West Africa. So many coasts to choose from, I could be a traveling surf gypsy my whole life and forever be in love with the unique coastlines our earth has to offer. - Who is your favorite athlete: I admire many athletes, Michael Phelps comes to mind because I love his ability to persevere to achieve his goals and then hang the towel when he felt satisfied. I’m dear friends with Sochi Gold Medalist Jamie Anderson for Slopestyle Snowboarding. She definitely is at the top of my list as athlete and human, because she puts in the hard work, yet relies on her communication with ‘the universe’ and ‘nature’ to be her biggest source of encouragement and energy. Jamie takes a moment to touch a tree before every run she takes on the mountain, I feel my connection to the ocean as a surfer is very similar to Jamie’s connection to the snowy nature; it is about appreciating the gift that nature brings us to enjoy our ‘sport’. Surfing is a spiritual experience for me, so any athlete I see tapping into that same feeling, is an athlete I draw inspiration from. - What are 3 things on your bucket list: Study with a guru of bodywork and natural healing, one who has been passed down wisdoms from generation to generation Create an iconic women’s surf film that inspires the female surf culture to feel their spirit come alive in the sea, and therefore have respect for the environment and each other Learn at least another language! - If you were 60 years old, what woudl you tell your children: Do what makes you happy, life is a gift and is so enjoyable when we maintain a happy, peaceful state of mind. Happiness is a choice. Decide for yourself what you believe and what feels right to you. Listen to others, but most importantly, listen to yourself. Have respect for everyone and everything. We are all a unique, miraculous part of this amazing world. One is not more special than another, we are equal, all deserving of the gift of life. If there is something you truly dream of, then believe in it with unwavering faith. Eliminate doubt. Those dreams will come true. - What is the craziest thing you have ever done: My mom always told me “You’ll be the first one to jump without checking how deep it is”. She was right. I was in Australia a few years ago, and me and a bunch of friends went to a waterfall with a rock jump. After being shown where the jump spot was, I quickly got down to my bikini and ran off the edge, without even looking over. As soon as I landed in the water, I hit my back on a rock, just centimeters from my spine. This near death experience made me SLOW DOWN significantly, and made me realize taking precaution is always smart, and being frivolous can be very dangerous. I still have a scar on my back to remind me how lucky I am to be alive and have working legs. I haven’t jumped off anything since….without seeing someone else jump first :) - What's your favorite JOLYN color: I loveeeeee the LAVA!!! This color is so vibrant. I love the way it looks in the blue water and it makes my fair skin look as tan as it can possibly look! - What's your favorite JOLYN style and why: I love the Uni top because it never moves when I surf. I prefer the Euro bottom because it has enough coverage on my behind that I don’t feel uncomfortable in a lineup of men! Jolyn suits are by far the best suits I have ever worn. Having a dependable bikini that will not come off in the surf is something I’ve never experienced before wearing Jolyn. -What motivates you: My parents are always my number one motivation. They bless me with the encouragement to live my dreams, and the wisdom to carry a smile with me everywhere. Nature equally is a life motivator. We can’t make it, we can try to recreate it, but nature’s innate ability to thrive and work harmoniously is my greatest teacher to swell thrive and work harmoniously. We are at a crux in our civilization when there is a dichotomy of abusing nature and utilizing it. I am motivated to live my life as a student of nature. - If you had to be an animal, what would you be and why: Some sort of docile bird that feeds on fruits. I dream of flying quite often, so the reality of doing so every day would be quite cool :) - What activities do you do in JOLYN: I wear my Jolyn suits to surf, swim, play on the beach, practice yoga, run, play beach volleyball. They are active suits, so anything that requires a sports bra, it is a great alternative because the suits are all so colorful and unique, while being supportive. - What's the most inspiring race you've ever seen: I’ve witnessed some great swim races through my life, yet I am really looking forward to watching my dear friend and Jolyn Hawaii Rep Leane Darling race in the Molokai Channel Championships coming up at the end of July. I dream of racing the channel one day, when i have due time to commit to training. For now, surfing has got me wired :) - How do you like to cross train? or What is your favorite cross training activity: I love to do open ocean swimming and beach runs to help with cardio. My most important element to staying in healthy surf fitness is practicing yoga. Yin yoga especially, in order to stretch the connective tissues that often cause tightness throughout the body. Ive dabbled in a bit of aerobics as well, but I am an advocate of getting a workout without leaving the mat space :) - What book would you recommend to our readers: The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz is the simplest guide to a happier, easier life that Ive read. - What inspires you: The innocent laughs and smiles of children, the ever changing colors of the sky, the way fruit tastes, it is a gift, an absolute miracle to be alive. I am inspired by the simple yet complex reality that we are all here, together, on this earth. I am inspired to be a voice of change, a voice of natural reason, one that lives for peace and by example encourages others to find their peaceful way, and live in harmony with the earth. We have a lot of work to do in order to shift our society from one who abuses nature to one that utilizes nature. I am inspired to help that shift, to be the change that I dream of for this world. In sport, I am inspired by individuals who practice what they love because it makes them feel alive. The buzz of life, when every cell of the body feels awake, thats what I live for. I love love, too. I love to feel love, give love, and receive love. Love is the essence of life. - What is something that nobody knows about you: I believe one day I will fly. - What would you spend your last $10 on: Organic vegetable seeds! - What is your signature dish in the kitchen: Wow, Rainbow quinoa maybe? I love making quinoa mixed with a lightly sautéed variety of fresh vegetables, always ginger, onion, turmeric, and garlic. I love to make Taro and Sweet potato mash with rosemary :) Rosemary is definitely my favorite herb from the garden! - What is the hardest thing you've ever experienced: When I was 16 I had reconstructive ankle surgery to repair some torn ligaments.  My body was allergic to everything from the surgery, including the stitches, the pain meds, the antibiotics, and .  My body became very ill, and for the first time in my life, I felt depressed, I became emotionally attached to being the girl in the wheelchair, feeling hopeless.  Staph infection nearly had my foot cut off, and after 5 months of western doctors telling me they had no idea why my skin wouldn’t heal together.  Never once did they suggest any ‘natural’ product, just constant chemicals that made my body increasingly ill.    I remember clearly a conversation that my mom had with me, after four months of the nightmare having a wide open wound on my foot that wouldn’t close.  She said “Leah, no one can heal your body but yourself.  So you have to decide that you are going to heal.  Don’t equate yourself with being sick.  Think of yourself as healing.  No one can do this for you but you.”    That woke me up, not just for healing this particular wound, but healing across the board.   Our complete dependence on others to heal us gives our ‘special powers’ away.   Now I recognize, our mind, and the ‘food’ we put in our body are the most powerful healing agents we have.  Yes outside help is beneficial indeed, but to heal, thyself must be involved.     So after 5 months, the doctors finally prescribed me sticks of silver nitrate, in which I would activate with water, and then sear my wound with it, in order to make a scab.  After three weeks of burning my own skin, my wound finally closed, and I felt whole again.     This experience made me grow up, it made me learn that putting all faith in western medicine can get us into pickles at times, and that there is a whole world of natural medicine to utilize.   I learned that I am my own best healer, and that state of mind is essential.    I also learned a deep respect for all those who are in wheelchairs.  It is challenging to not feel ‘looked down upon’, and my empathy for all people with medical challenges continues to grow. - What is your favorite workout or gym exercise: My favorite workout is a four hour surf session in epic waves! If I am not near a beach, then a long yoga practice that works my entire body and gets my heartbeat up without moving off the mat. - What is your favorite holiday destination: Indonesia has become my favorite place to visit. The culture is so alive, unique with each island, and the natural beauty is heavenly. Endless, perfect waves. - What is your most embarrassing moment you're willing to admit: When I was about 10 years old I was competing in a jump rope competition, and my shorts fell down. I wasn’t wearing any underwear. Ha! Typical! I don’t think I scored extra points for that one! - Any last words or testimonial? Life is a gift, and when we celebrate it, it celebrates us. It too, is like a boomerang, so send out love. Nature is our greatest teacher and our greatest helper. Be a student and a teacher. Say thanks in advance for miracles, this puts them in motion. Seek that feeling of joy, share it with others, repeat repeat repeat. Be wowed, this is a healing feeling. yogaScreen Shot 2014-06-30 at 9.50.33 AMScreen Shot 2014-06-30 at 9.51.08 AM

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