South Australian Style Magazine : South Australian Style 32 Summer
18 SA STYLE SUMMER 2O18 / PEOPLE #COVER STORY / S he’s travelled the world, worked with some of the biggest global brands and influencers, and more recently has followed her dream to gain exposure for environmental and marine conservation. Perhaps it’s Brinkley’s unwavering love of the ocean, animals and the environment, or perhaps it’s her idyllic upbringing spent surfing South Australia’s mid-coast that makes her so full of life, passion and intrigue; either way the pro-surfer-turned-environmental- activist has something to say, and it’s worth listening to. She’s in an enviable position, and is potentially on the cusp of something big. We’re talking about Balu Blue, which is the latest string to Brinkley’s bow. The foundation was founded in late 2016 and became an official charity in February 2017. At the heart of the foundation, started with boyfriend Tyron Swan, is the desire to bring about change and to inspire people to live consciously. “We’re currently working on funding a private wildlife refuge in Port Lincoln for orphaned native wildlife, then we have our #ClearTides campaign. Finally, we are partners for the Fight for the Bight campaign to keep oil out of the Great Australian Bight,” she says. It’s a tall order for the young Adelaide girl. She’s tiny at just 5-foot-5, but her drive and determination are larger than life. We caught up at a beach house in the coastal town of Normanville, the base for our shoot in a remote cove between Second Valley and Rapid Bay. “I grew up wanting to learn about the ocean,” she explains. “I had an amazing childhood and we spent all of our time at the beach, which I think is why I had such a strong love for the ocean from such a young age.” This early affinity began at the age of just four and led an enthusiastic Brinkley to enter her first surfing comp at the age of 10 – what followed was state and then national-level competitions, and eventually the title of Pro Junior at the age of just 21. “I surfed some amazing waves,” she says in reflection, “but at the same time I also began to feel a bit frustrated. I loved surfing for the freedom, for the fact that I was surrounded by the ocean and marine life, and for the feeling of happiness that it gave me, but I guess I also just wanted to surf the fun little waves near home with my friends. And there was also a real desire to learn more about the ocean and about the issues facing it.” And so came the transition from world-class surfer to student, but it wasn’t an easy one. “I decided to study marine biology,” she says. “It was hard at the time as I was juggling study and surfing. You have to give professional surfing 100 percent and to get my ratings up I also needed to get to all of the comps – without a financial sponsor this was difficult.” But learning about different marine ecosystems was invigorating and gave Brinkley a clear goal.“I can concentrate and focus when it comes to things I’m passionate about,” she says. Learning about the underwater environments she spent so much time in gave her a glimpse of the bigger picture, shining a spotlight on statistics and research, and enabling the devout animal-lover to better understand the damage that is happening to marine life. “I decided then that I wanted to travel through different areas and find ways to make an impact in the real world.” From surfing to sanctuaries, we chat big waves and sustainability with pro-surfer-turned-activist Brinkley Davies.
South Australian Style 28 Summer