Launched intentionally on World Listening Day 2019, the WATERPEOPLE PODCAST has since become a grassroots gathering place for our global ocean community. Hosted by sea-scribes Lauren Hill and Dave Rastovich, the show is home to thoughtfully-inspired culture conversation and ocean-centric storytelling. In 13 episodes, some of the most adept waterpeople on the planet have shared astounding life lessons from aquatic lives well-lived; each touching on themes of ecology, equality, community, activism, inclusivity, meaningful play, and more. The following is a quick chat we had with Lauren following the show’s Season 1 finale. Enjoy…
[SANUK]: First, congrats on amazing first season of the WaterPeople Podcast! Such a treat to see how this all unfolded. How are you feeling now that Season 1 is officially in the rearview mirror?
[LAUREN]: Thank you! It’s been a steep learning curve, and such a welcome one. As a kid, I had a dog named ‘Why’ and a cat named ‘What,’ so asking questions is deeply embedded in my DNA. It’s been such an honor to sit at the feet of elders and so many people that we deeply respect, and get to watch their eyes light up in recalling the big stories of their lives – and then trying to get that sparkle to translate to just audio.
So… What inspired you to start the podcast in the first place?
I’ve been a podcast fan for awhile. I feel like our world is so visual now, with social media and TVs and cameras documenting everything. Working solely in audio feels like a nod to bygone eras of radio listening. And it feels like it leaves more space for our imaginations to fill in gaps. I also noticed that the surf podcasts out there weren’t really including the people that I wanted to hear from, including women.
What do you hope people take away when they listen to the show?
I hope people feel proud to be part of our global ocean community, that they are reminded of how powerful play is and know that we all have stories to share. That we should share them.
What was your favorite moment of Season 1?
Probably our LIVE recording at Byron Surf Festival, because it was our very first recording and we had no idea if what we were doing would work, if people would like it… and they seemed to. It lit us both up to see people laughing and crying and really being swept into the stories together. Hmmm, also Kimi Werner’s story, and sitting with Albe Falzon, hearing stories that I’d had no idea about, despite the fact that his life and work has been so well documented in surf media.
Most surprising thing you learned while making WPP?
Double check that you hit record. We lost some good stories this season because of my technical rookie errors. You’d think it would be an easy thing to remember… There are so many elements that have to go right – timing, no cars driving by that you can hear, no air conditioning vents nearby, no wild toddlers running around us in circles, batteries for everything charged and working at the same time – it can feel a little overwhelming to get the elements to all come together. Before every episode I’m wondering ‘is this even going to work?’ The ultimate payoff is when we hit ‘stop’ on the recorder and just laugh, having connected deeply with our guest and captured some moments that might mean something to someone else, too.
Most rewarding moment?
Sitting with each and every one of our guests! They all were so generous with their time and the realness of their stories. One of the standouts for me was Zara Noruzi’s episode Surfing in Exile because her story of escaping political persecution and being exiled from her family in Iran is just so uniquely heartbreaking and inspiring.
Beyond the stories and questions, there are some incredible sounds backing WPP. Tell us about the music in the show…
We’re lucky enough to have the incredibly talented Shannon Sol Carroll as sound engineer and musical guru. He makes all the music you hear in the show and weaves together the soundscape so the podcast feels like a little world to dive into.
What can listeners expect for Season 2? Any sneak peeks?
Deeper, funnier stories with bigger names. I don’t want to reveal too much, but we’ve gotten to record with some folks who don’t often do interviews. I’ll reveal just one: filmmaker and culture shaper Thomas Campbell. He’s a super talented, and highly opinionated artist who isn’t shy with telling things like he sees them.