O​‌’​‌Neill Blog

SURF MUSE

Stella is a totally legend, she is a true ocean woman. She recognizes the impor,tance of being environmentally conscious and lives her life in the ocean. Her days dance between her love of caring for her country and creating beautiful images.

Stella has a gift for capturing stunning images with her camera from natural portraits, seascapes, and the enchanting underwater world. If you are lucky enough to know and have Stella as a friend you are a very lucky human! Lets learn a little more about this ocean loving superstar

Let’s start with your story. Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself and how you grew up.

I grew up and am spoilt to be still living on the south coast of New South Wales in a small seaside town, which is quietly nestled between the ancient escarpment and the dazzling sea. Due to my location, naturally I spend a ton of time outdoors in whatever way I can; surfing, free-diving, skateboarding, bushwalking and doing anything that keeps me active. I have an educational background in Indigenous studies as well as Conservation and Land Management. Through this, I work in the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and somehow I still find time to work as a freelance photographer and content creator!

Where are you going? What do you see in your future?

Who knows where I will end up? What will be will be? I’m a firm believer that wherever this journey of life takes me, that’s exactly where I am supposed to be. I’m just going to let life do its thing; I’m here for the ride. 

You are super environmentally conscious can you tell us more about this and a few simple tips we can all do to assist in being more sustainable?

Through being involved with Surfrider Foundation I have learned about making little changes in your lifestyle that add up to make a HUGE difference. At first, they may seem a little inconvenient or uncomfortable but it’s rewarding to know that you’re making a change. You can:

•    Say no to single-use plastics (disposables) when doing your shopping, and educate others about why you're making conscious decisions as your refusing the needless plastics. By making a quick comment to the salesperson about how you don’t want the plastic, this gets others thinking about the issue too!

•    If you have to buy things wrapped in plastic, minimize your consumption or choose other more sustainable alternatives.

•    Shop at your local whole foods store to buy your ingredients in bulk, which you can then store in your glass containers at home – this limits unnecessary packing from the supermarket.

•    Eat in more at restaurants and cafes instead of taking away. This I find slows you down more, is more social, and makes the dining experience more enjoyable in general!

•    Invest in reusable shopping bags, stainless steel bottles/tumblers or glass keep cups, wooden cutlery, stainless steel/glass/paper straws etc. I keep these all in my car so I can use them anytime and there is less chance of forgetting them!

•    If you see dumped rubbish pick it up, even if it’s not yours. Don’t have the attitude of “somebody else will get it”.

•    Reuse and recycle as much as you can – e.g. your food wrapping, clothes and furniture etc.

•    Choose to buy natural cosmetics free from micro-beads, parabens, oxybenzoates and other toxic ingredients that are harmful to your own body, our ocean life, and our reefs. Or you can make your own cosmetics, as there are so many DIY recipes online that you can customize to meet your own needs.

•    Support businesses that are sustainable in their practices.

•    Use your voice and social media following to encourage others to make these kinds of changes.

Describe your bond to the ocean + surfing?

I am a proud Aboriginal descendant from Worimi Country (Port Stephens area just north of Newcastle). It is in my blood to live in and nurture the coastal environment. As well as my upbringing, I feel this is a reason why I am so connected to the ocean. I have always been a saltwater girl and inherently I fell in love with surfing. 

 

Long or shortboard and why?

Longboard for sure! I’ve always ridden longboards and don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of them. Anyone who knows me close will back me up when I say I’m a terrible dancer, yet for some reason when I’m on a longboard… I CAN DANCE! The length of the board allows me to do moves that somewhat resemble the Cha Cha! 

You always seem to be traveling somewhere amazing! Where will you be off to next?

Yes its true, I have a severe case of the travel bug. I live by the quote “Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime full of adventures”. I aim to collect moments, not things and travel as a local, not as a tourist. I’ve got a few getaways planned for 2018, but the one I’m most excited for is my European summer trip in July! I can’t wait to spend 4 traveling through the Mediterranean, undoubtedly most of my time will probably be spent eating then lounging in the sun with a food coma.

Ok let’s talk about your other passion in life, photography. How did you get started in photography?

When I was in high school, one morning I curiously took the family’s little digital camera out of the junk drawer and decided to go take some photos at the beach in front of my house. From that day on I was hooked, and each morning before school I’d wake up with the light and run down to the beach (still in my pj’s) to capture a sunrise shot, before running back home to scoff down my brekkie and make it just in time for the school bus. The photos were super lame now that I look back on them, but by doing this routine every day I taught myself basic photography skills. A few years later I got a Gopro and found my love for ocean photography, with this I’d convince my friends to let me take their photos. As I progressed I saw the need to upgrade to professional equipment, I then bought a Canon 7d to go into a water housing… and the rest is history! 

Favorite place to shoot and describe your favorite photo you have ever taken?

I don’t really have a specific place that is my favorite, as I’m constantly inspired by new places all the time. Nor do I have a favorite pho! However, there are a few key factors that go into making a killer location and winner shot in my eyes: add some warm, clear, blue water with a touch of glimmering light, and a dash of palm trees or lush greenery, and voila you have yourself a stunning setup (it also helps if you have a beach babe to shoot in the elements).

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

I have a vision board in my bedroom, and on it are some reminders that I try to embody (admittedly they are all from Pinterest). They are:

•    You get what you work for, not what you wish for

•    You can do anything, but no everything

•    Hold the vision, trust the process

•    Be the energy you want to attract

•    Sweat now, shine later

Who inspires you? Why?

My role models include females who challenge stereotypes and push the boundaries. As well as females who support and uplift one another.

Thanks for having me on the blog! X

FOLLOW STELLA @STELLACRICK