The Eco Fin: Luise Grossmann on merging innovation, environmentalism and entrepreneurship to create a surf fin from plastic waste in Bali
Surfing is often related to as a means in which to re-connect with nature. In the water, you are at the mercy of the ocean and every interaction on a wave is different from the one before, and the one coming. Surfers, in the past, have been commonly stereotyped as 'hippies', living simple lives chasing the surf, either in vans or beach shacks, making their own equipment from locally available materials and forming a tribal sub culture that for the most part has been lost in the modern age.
Today, surfing has become a US$7billion global industry, riddled with dirty chemicals, toxic waste, fuel-guzzling pick up trucks, jet skis, airplanes, alcohol, and fast fashion. It's an industry that forged my career as a writer, living in Japan interviewing the visiting professional surfers for the local press, until the contest scene and its subsequent distress expelled on our Mother oceans made me sick to the stomach to be a part of.
Yet surfing has, and still remains, the backbone of my relationship with environmentalism and my drive to travel to far-flung surf destinations promoting sustainable surf travel with a conscience, and it is THE pastime that has propelled my jump into film making, reality TV, and ironically, the birth of The Anicca Way podcast with this first interview.
I met Luise a few years back in Lennox Head, at my house, over a night filled with storytelling of surf travel and adventure. Over time we began to follow each others' projects more closely, as I was developing two films and Luise and her partner Felix began developing the idea of the Eco Fin.
Born in Germany with a love of art and engineering, Luise would later learn to surf in France and thus birthed a reason to travel abroad. A hyperactive nature and a zest for trying it all led Luise to partake in a plethora of internships, roles and opportunities, before eventually picking up the Eco Fin concept more seriously after time spent in Bali and later Australia raised her consciousness around the enormous issue that is ocean waste and plastics.
To talk us through how a farm girl ended up an ocean warrior entrepreneur, I invited Luise over to my Byron Bay studio a week before I embark on my journey #crossingasia with no planes and no plastics, of course in the spirit of reducing plastic waste.
This is a fun, engaging conversation that shows that no matter who you are, where you are from, or what ideas you may have, taking action is the sure way to success. As we both agree in this podcast, you either win, or you learn.