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Dave Rastovich surfs with soul
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Dave Rastovich surfs with soul
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“Surfers are like canaries in the coalmine when it comes to coastal and oceanic issues.”
Conversations
7 June 2018

Dave Rastovich surfs with soul

Interview by Berry Liberman
Photography by Tammie Joske

Berry Liberman on Dave Rastovich

Until a few months ago, and to the great horror of a friend of mine, I didn’t know who Dave Rastovich was. Go down any street in any surf town in the world and you will see huge posters of a sun-kissed, carefree surf god curling his body around a wave in a feat of acrobatics the rest of us can only gawk at.

Dave is one of the world’s most famous free surfers. That means he no longer surfs the competition circuit. Instead, he’s sponsored to live the dream—surf on any board he likes, experiment with style—unburdened by the gruelling expectations of a commercial market hungry for male surfing stereotypes: aggressive, confident and dominant.

Dave is more your Jackson Pollock of surfing—a maverick, innovative, open and daring. He has used his celebrity to highlight the many grave issues facing our coastal waters and the life in it. He founded Surfers for Cetaceans and was involved in the documentary, The Cove. His environmental activism has sparked global movements, enabled formerly taboo conversations around whaling and dolphin slaughter to be commonplace and raised the alarm about climate change. For an unassuming, gentle and easygoing boy from the Gold Coast, Dave has become the canary in the coalmine for us all, sharing his love of the water in order to protect it.

Driving up to Dave and his partner Lauren’s home in Byron Bay, a back beach  address far from the madding crowd, my husband Danny and I hear the distant  roar of the ocean through the trees as we pull up to their idyllic beach shack.  We’re greeted by Yogi the dog and Leonard the duck before a barefoot Dave emerges from behind a mountain of surfboards. The four of us begin a conversation over coffee and almond milk (not my favourite) that goes deep into the night.

For all his chilled, barefoot, almond-milk-drinking vibes, Dave is a deeply soulful, connected, smart and aware human being. It turns out surfing is a spiritual practice (which may be obvious to all the surfers out there) and I realise, despite travelling to monasteries in faraway places, I feel more connected to the deeper things in life talking with him than I have in any of my encounters with spiritual teachers.

One of the most beautiful aspects of Dave is his relationship with Lauren. Two free surfers who share the same values and support one another to be their best selves. This is something not a lot of people talk about: great coupling. People who, by being together, inspire and empower one another to reach their highest potential. Great coupling elevates mutual respect and intimacy as a pathway to wholeness. We hear so much about relationship breakdown and the modern condition of isolation and disconnection. Here is one team whose passionate love of the ocean and of one another is driving meaningful change in the surfing world and beyond.

This story originally ran in issue #45 of Dumbo Feather

BERRY LIBERMAN: How is it up there in Byron?

DAVE RASTOVICH: It’s a very interesting time here in terms of seasonal shifts. Usually in August the winds are predominately from the west, the sky is very clear, the sun is relatively low with winter light, and it’s really stunning—you always have that “sunsettey” sparkle on the water and the headlands. But this August it’s been quite wet and cloudy, with winds from the north and north-east—our predominant spring and summer winds. We normally get them mid- to late-September. So it’s at least a month early. Mango trees are budding with little flowers and certain citruses are already fruiting and certain fish are in the area, and it’s just an interesting time, everything’s come sooner. And in our travels the last few years, we’ve noticed it too. We did a surf-film project in Italy celebrating the young surfing culture that has sprung up out there in the last 30 years, and went there in October—usually that’s a month of great surf and weather. And it was dead flat. It just was a completely bizarre season. That was three seasons ago, and every year since then has been the same. A lot of the surfing communities are chatting throughout the year, asking, “What’s your weather like, how are the currents there in the ocean?” to get indications of what’s coming to your part of the world. And we’ve all noticed these very distinct shifts in the weather patterns where summers are longer and winters are getting shorter but perhaps more intense.

I know how it makes me feel hearing you say that. How does it make you feel?

Well, it raises a few alarm bells. But I like to tend on the side of optimism when it comes to weather events and the nature of the cycles we live in.

This story originally ran in issue #45 of Dumbo Feather

This story originally ran in issue #45 of Dumbo Feather

One of the positive aspects of these weather changes, or even things like shark incidents that have been happening in our area of late, is that they really arrest everyone’s attention and bring thinking to a field larger than one’s self and one’s home, it expands our sense of awareness to the point where most discussions are about the world around us and the other creatures that we’re sharing it with.

You have people on the streets talking about the plants and what’s fruiting early and what’s flowering late, about how the currents are so warm and there’s exponentially more jellyfish in summer—talking about what’s happening on Earth. In some ways I feel like these changes are great slaps in the face to make us pay attention on a larger scale, on a big community scale, to these ecosystems that we’re in. Why are fishermen in Tassie catching mahi mahi and red snapper fish that they would never normally catch? Why are all the sharks coming in close to shore? Those are the moments where you go, “Okay, what’s actually causing these changes?”

When I met you and your beautiful partner Lauren, the thing that struck me was that experience you have of being so immersed in nature and so connected to the elements. Not many of us have that.

We are lucky, and you know, just before, I was thinking of you. I was outside and looked up and noticed that all the clouds had gone and I could feel a slight change in the air. I thought, I wonder how many people in those hive-like centres of activity that are so stimulating and so inspiring and so dynamic like yours in Melbourne, I wonder how many people have a moment like that in those city spaces where you notice those larger wheels pinning around us? And what does it mean to not have that in your life? I’m sure you would have these incredible human-to-human moments every day. And we don’t, actually. We have very little human interaction here. But that’s our choice.

I’ve been travelling and surfing for 20-odd years, since I was 15 really, and there’s plenty of surfing cultures that are among cityscapes, like Sydney and the Gold Coast and Southern California. But I’ve had glimpses into those places and realised that something was missing in them for me: that I really loved being the canary in the coalmine.

 

You know, Tim Winton, the great writer, he’s a great surfer as well. He wrote that surfers are like canaries in the coalmine when it comes to coastal and oceanic issues.

And I feel like that’s a really great way to look at us in both the positives and the negatives, the health and the harm of living in these spaces. If you’re in Southern California, for example, and it rains, you can’t surf or go in the ocean for three or four days because of all the toxicity running into the water. Well, actually, in those spaces you really are that canary in the coalmine saying to everyone else, “This is how sick our ecology around us is.”

Hmmm. And now, you’re a free surfer, one of the most famous in the world.
I feel ignorant and uneducated but I don’t actually know what that means—surfing’s never been on my radar. Like, for me it was skater culture and Point Break [laughs].

[Laughs] well, “free surfer” is used to describe someone who surfs in whatever style they choose. So that’s a short board or a long board or big-wave surfing or whatever. Someone who surfs at a level that’s pushing the boundary but in a non-competitive way. So you have the very big machine of competitive surfing, which is pro-surfing, scheduled tours, many, many stops all around the world. The free surfer is someone who’s not in those events at all. When I first started to be a professional surfer—at about 15 or 16—I was sponsored by companies who make surf gear, and the only way to get sponsored is to enter contests and be judged against your peers. When I got to about 19, 20 years of age I’d circled the planet numerous times and realised that it wasn’t my cup of tea following this contest circuit. And there were only two, perhaps three free surfers on the planet who were able to surf 100 percent of the time, to not have to supplement their lives with the job back home, usually labouring or chef-ing or something like that.

For me the big shock in what you’re saying is that I thought all surfers were free! [Laughs].

No, that’s one of the central reasons why I walked away from contests when I was 20—even then, when the sport was far looser than it is now. Basically an ex-executive from the American Football League has taken over the surfing tour and made it operate in the same way. And so all of the wonderful things I was just sharing with you about seasonal awareness and moving with currents and temperature shifts and living this very interactive life, responding to all the shifts around us, has been lost, because to plop a scheduled contest into all of that and be like, “This is when you’re going to be here, this is when you’re going to be there,” is completely limiting and stifling and in some ways was putting a weird fence around this wild, free, amazing experience. To quantify it, package it, sell it, make money off of it. So that’s really what I stepped away from.

But I guess the free nature of surfing just couldn’t be without the competitive aspect. There have always been these very left-field, creative, sort of anti-establishment characters through the timeline of surfing that are now coming through this free-surfing title, and companies have gone: “Okay, let’s support these characters still because they’re the ones who push the envelope when it comes to surfing craft and where you go surfing and concepts of it.”

Do you get lots of young surfers knocking on your door, “Mentor us and help us to be free surfers”?

The neat thing is you just meet up with everyone in the water and you have these conversations. I usually try to instigate them ’cause there can be a surfing bubble when you’re in the water, a lot of people don’t actually speak. So it’s nice to try and strike up some of these conversations between waves. You know, you don’t see tennis players being supported by their tennis culture to just hit the ball to the other end. But essentially that’s what we’re doing with free surfers: encouraging people to enjoy the experience.

Do you come from a long line of surfers?

Not ocean surfers. But I really feel like everyone’s surfing in every walk of life. You know, the way you make a magazine and live your life is a type of surfing. It’s just, the waves you’re dealing with are waves of people and requests on your time, interacting with other amazing people and whatnot. So no, I definitely didn’t come from a line of ocean surfers. Really, it was just living coastal here in Australia and being involved with a surfing community on the southern end of the Gold Coast, and becoming like most young surfers: completely obsessed with it. My first experience with waves was body surfing as a six-year-old at Currumbin on the Gold Coast. So I was board paddling and then I got on a surfboard at probably eight or nine years of age I reckon.

And what was the appeal for you?

It was just something that had everything for me. There was an element of play, there was complete lawlessness, it was a completely non-human experience which, even as a tiny little tacker, I absolutely loved. And then it had this constant nature of change in it in that every single wave you encounter, whether you go under them, over them, around them, was always a totally fresh experience.

And so for a skitzy little grommet with a short attention span and endless amounts of energy, surfing was the perfect babysitter.

That’s an amazing way to describe it. Because for me, I grew up in Melbourne but I was on the Gold Coast all my childhood as well, and I loved the beach, the sand, everything about it. But I had one too many dunks and it got scary.

Yeah, I see how that happens. I think fortunately for my sisters and I, our parents are pretty gung-ho sort of people. And if we came in a bit rattled they’d just throw us back in the water and say, “Get over it, it’s fine” [laughs]. There are actually so many moments where you see surfing saving kids. When you’re a teenager and your hormones are going crazy and your energy levels are through the roof and your mind is completely mush and you have no idea what you want to be doing with your life, you go to the beach and the surf’s interesting. You end up surfing for hours and coming in physically exhausted but energetically cleansed and boosted and in some ways soothed. It’s like a paradox. You get physical exhaustion but then this sort of finer energetic stimulation and cleansing happens. Which is just perfect for a teenager, boy or girl, ’cause you come in and you’re so tired and hungry—all you want to do is eat and go to sleep. Then you wake up the next day and do it all over again. I think it keeps you out of that weird “doldrummy” state where you have all this energy, you’ve got no idea what you want to do with it as a teenager and you end up doing a lot of stupid stuff. And I’m sure there are lots of teenage surfers who still do stupid stuff. But I had a lot of friends from that period who were really healthy kids because of surfing. And also because of this kind of community thing that you get pulled into where you’ve got local clubs and people of all the generations to keep you in place when you’re being a bit of a knucklehead.

You seem like a very soulful person, and I wonder, did you have that modelled for you growing up?

I had family breakups and a very sort of volatile father figure who was an amazing character but experienced a lot of violence in his early life,  a lot of physical trauma. When my parents split up I was around 13, and by then a complete surf nut, in the water all the time. And two older guys, one about 15 years older than me and another, phwoar, I think about a good 35 years older than me, took me under their wings. After school if the surf wasn’t too good I’d go hang out with Rod Morgan, the younger guy, who was a lifeguard. And I’d sit up in his tower with him and watch the ocean and talk about surfing and life and just listen to his stories. And then the other character was a shaper from Burleigh Heads, Dick Van Straalen who was a very illuminated character. Very free-thinking and enthusiastic and a real artful shaper in the surfing world.

What’s a shaper?

A board maker. Someone who makes surfboards. And so he became kind of my second father as a kid. I had these two characters who were instrumental in opening up my mind and my imagination and levels of appreciating just how magic surfing was. We’d be out there waiting for a wave and they’d say things like, “Notice how quiet it is when you get behind the waves? When you’re facing them there’s
all this noise. And for 99 percent of the people who go to the beach, all they hear is the roar. But when you get behind the waves to the deeper water, there’s a calmness and a stillness.” And he would just point things like that out to me. Kind of teaching not so much by example, just making observations of where we were sitting and the colour of the clouds and the fish moving by and the birds, giving me this great spatial awareness that just stoked me out—realising, Wow, yeah, you’re just bobbing around in this vast, humanless, silent, alive space and it feels amazing. 

I guess part of the myth and the enchantment around surfing is that it really isn’t
a cerebral experience. It’s not intellectualised much. Things like turning it into a sport and a commodity are, I guess, some of our cultural attempts to understand and intellectualise it. But really the heart of the experience isn’t that tangible.

At the end of a wave you don’t have anything in your hands to show for it. There’s just this twinkle in the eye and a sparkle that comes from the experience. So it doesn’t really lend itself to a monkey-brain experience.

And in some ways that’s taken to the extreme with a lot of surfers where they’ll never engage the mind, they’ll just stay in the physicality of it—only look for those highs in life. You’ll find they don’t really care about community issues or larger issues happening in the world. It’s just about being ready for the next swell. So there’s a side to that which can be unhealthy. But the holistic nature of it is realising, Okay,  we are these people living on the edge of the ocean. We do have to come back to shore and eat and sleep and be part of our community and work and help others and our family and friends. And there’s a neat dance to that.

Tell me more about your father.  You mentioned him being a volatile figure but also an amazing character

When I was a little grom he was very militant. He’d come  from working in special forces squads in New Zealand in the late ’70s, early ’80s. And he suffered a lot of physical abuse in that period. I started to realise early on he had a lot of issues from living a hard life and experiencing so much violence. He was very intense. He was never abusive to us, but I saw him get into fights in public. Then he had an operation to fuse his neck ’cause he would have seizures. And he started exploring different forms of therapy like Chinese massage, acupuncture, meditation, herbal medicines. That opened something up in him. As a little kid I saw him turn from this very hard, very militant extreme—like, flat-top, stubby shorts, muscle-bound hardcore dude—to growing his hair out, getting an earring and getting into Tai Chi, and then even treating people with certain therapies himself. He used to break people and break things and then he realised how to put them back together. How to heal. That was huge for me. I watched him become a much more passive person, interested in healing and bettering himself and those around him.

Wow.

Yeah, it was so interesting, because he was just this rollercoaster ride to watch. Mum was always this beautiful, stable, ocean woman—much calmer like me. But he changed a lot. Then there were years where he was trying to figure shit out in terms of his mental health. My sisters and I had to distance ourselves from him so he could sort himself out. He’d have these mental bouts of insecurity or instability. He was also dealing with more and more physical trauma: he had his leg amputated, he was in a bad way. And so I went back to New Zealand to be with him. He was in fine form when I went, had the nurses and doctors on the ward there in hysterics. Really quick witted. But then two months after I returned to Australia he took his life.

When we went over and were figuring everything out—that he basically had a concoction of drugs to keep himself in check—I found a diary in his bookshelf and noticed that in the last two months of his life he stopped going to the beach. Every day of the year he’d written how much exercise he’d done, what pills he’d taken, what he ate, where he walked—had this meticulous recording of what he’d been up to, including his regular beach trips. But then in the last two months I noticed no beach. For me that was huge. I took it personally. “Whatever happens, just keep going to the beach.”

Has it been traumatic for you, losing him that way?

It’s been heavy, but he was such a volatile character. In a way I knew we were not going to have a long time together. Because our roles shifted so soon, you know? He’d say:  “I feel like you’re the parent now.” And he always looked a lot older than he was.  You could see the wear in his spirit. I do still find myself crying out of nowhere— this absolute outpouring of saltwater coming from my eyes. But I find those moments are also really kind of beautiful—that there’s this saltwater link in a way.

Most of the greatest things in my life are centred around saltwater.

Even to the level of sex or physical intimacy, where you’re sweating and your bodies are sliding against each other, connected by water. Or the tears of ecstasy, or when you have a moment with someone that’s so emotional and you’re crying together, you’re sharing a saltwater moment. I find sweetness in that. So when I’m crying for my dad, I don’t feel like I’m crying from suffering, I’m connecting to him through this saltwater network. I always bring it back to water and surfing, but when Lauren and I were over there trying to take care of all the crazy loose ends of his wild life,  it felt like we were in seriously deep and turbulent stuff. But then we were like, “Well, we know how to deal with turbulent and deep.” We can get through this. And like I said, I was fortunate to have a whole community raise me. It wasn’t heaped on Dad to be this perfect guiding light.

You saw his imperfections early on.

Exactly. Those roles changed.

And it sounds like your mum has been a rock and a role model.

Yeah, she lives a life of such clarity and joy and just being there with the ocean. She probably shouldn’t spend so much time in  the sun! She’s pretty cooked! [Laughs].

[Laughs].

And she knows that and would have a laugh about that.

[Laughs]. So I want to talk about your environmental work too. You’re a passionate environmental activist, you’ve made documentaries about wildlife protection. What made you want to be part of that community and conversation?

I think the seeds of that work came from an elder—again, on the Gold Coast —when I was a little kid. His name was Denis Callinan, I think he was in his seventies, and he had an organisation called SAND—acronym for “Surfers Against Nature’s Destruction”—which did a lot of work protecting areas that were to be over-developed. He pulled me into some of those events when I was a kid and I really saw the value and connections to the land as a little surfer. Then when I started surfing around the world and going to places where overfishing had decimated the local fish populations and there was nothing for the locals to eat and they were all unhealthy because they were bringing in white rice and sugary crap from other parts, it really stopped me in my tracks. Or in Japan, seeing the whaling operations and knowing that there were coastal communities eating meat that was heavily loaded with mercury and other heavy metals which somehow us Westerners knew more about than they did, was again really shocking. Or paddling in New Zealand and realising there’s only 50 left of the most endangered dolphin on the planet, the Popoto dolphin. You can’t erase those learnings. So I’ve been lucky to have the ear of magazine editors and TV show producers and usually I’ll just start dropping information about dolphin kills and whale meat filled with mercury given to school kids in lunch programs and whatnot.

I saw that amazing documentary The Cove about your work with dolphins in Japan. That scene where you form the ceremonial circle in the water as dolphin blood surfaces around you was incredibly powerful and confronting. What changed for you after that trip?

Well, that specific trip was one of many campaigns in a flurry of five or six years. A couple of mates and I formed a group, Surfers for Cetaceans—cetaceans being all dolphins, whales and porpoises—and the work in the cove was part of that campaign. Obviously it was more complex in Japan with the cultural and language barriers and going up against the fishing industry, which is enormously powerful. But I had a very simple, very clear desire to illuminate something in the shadows. A surfer’s paddle out is a very meaningful part of surfing culture across the world: when a surfer passes away, you go out and form a circle in the ocean and wish them, their spirit or whatever you believe in, the best. And you give thanks for them. Coming from North Coast New South Wales where you’re surfing with dolphins all the time and the whales come through every year, these animals really are like our kin, so doing that circle for them felt natural. For me that issue was about opportunities aligning. I happened to meet the ocean preservation society people who were shooting The Cove months before going to Japan.

So that documentary was happening?

They were already in the process. And I got to meet with them, told them my plans to help get the message out to the world about the industry, and that’s how I got involved.

What did you learn from the experience?

I realised that working on a campaign with full energy and focus almost requires a first-hand experience of the issue. I’m not saying if you want to work to create peace in the world then you  should go to war or be in a war-torn area. But if you have had those experiences,  then there’s a level of motivation that’s almost unwavering and just very, very clear. That experience of being in that bloodied water means I can now sit with anyone and speak about this issue from a very real, very first-hand perspective.

I was going to say I feel like everything we’re talking about today comes down to proximity, and that with proximity comes connection and responsibility, and that the more distance there is between us and the world and what’s going on, the more likely we are to do terrible things.

Absolutely. Anyone who tries to oppose me or play devil’s advocate, or in some way explain the kills as some cultural tradition or blah, blah, blah, I can use my experience like a laser beam to cut through the bullshit. And just be like: “Well actually, the scent and the sound of pilot whales being left in a pod crying and rolling around deliriously in pain is something that I’ve seen. And it’s inhumane and grotesque to witness, and so embarrassing to be a human n that moment.” Basically, part of what happens there is that fishermen kill a number of whales and dolphins in the pod, and the remaining members of the pod don’t leave. They stay with the injured family members. Which is just heart-wrenching.

Do you feel like you’ve had an impact?

In some respects, yes. Like, getting those lines of communication open about what was happening in Japan. That is something that definitely feels like impact. Now, people in those areas know about toxicity issues with those animals. They know not to eat them and support that industry. Before we were there, no one had any idea. I also think, on a more general level in our surfing culture, we’ve been successful in just opening people’s eyes to the larger systems that we’re a part of as surfers. We’ve done that in Chile with long campaigns to get surfers to protect their coastal areas from radical deforestation and pulp mills. And we’ve worked with surfing groups in Southern California to look at all the radical straightening and colluding of their small estuaries that’s happening, ’cause it’s a bit of a desert there. But you know, I struggle with the idea of success.

There’s not really some finish line that we can get to and go, “Great! I’m going to have a beer now, we’ve done it!”

That moment just doesn’t come—in all the campaigns we’ve done in different parts of the world with different surfing groups. There are these little wins but there’s never a point where you get to sit back in your hammock.

Yeah. I’ve just got to tell you, there’s been this voice in my head as I’ve been listening to you saying, “You’ve got to send your kids to this guy for mentoring!”

[Laughs]. I think Lauren would have a few things to say about that! I’m a bit of a loose cannon when it comes to taking nephews  and nieces and kids on my little adventures. She says I’m nowhere near cautious enough! So if you’re okay with them coming back with a few bumps and bruises and quite a few scratches then send them up!

I’ll have to do it and be far away so I can’t panic. It feels like you and Lauren are a very special partnership.

Well, it’s very centred around surfing. Just understanding when one says to the other, “I love you, but I really have to go surfing right now,” is pretty great. There’s a couple of waves in our area that Lauren is completely head over heels for and it’s her happy place and nothing will stop her from going out when those waves are doing their thing. And I can completely understand that and celebrate it. And she’s the same with me.

Yesterday we went out and caught some waves together, and it’s one of the sweetest things in my entire life—getting to be on a wave together and smile and have fun and dance and enjoy meaningful play.

What’s your meeting story?

We met surfing in our local area at Byron—at night actually under the full moon. Then we were off doing our things for quite a few years before we reconnected. I came across this amazing photo of Lauren surfing, standing on the front of a long board with all this amazing light around her—her stance was so relaxed but strong and just so beautiful. When I saw it I was head over heels captivated and wrote to her straight away—got her email off a friend and was just being a groupie coming out of nowhere: “I hope you remember me! We met years ago in Byron!” Just gushing! [Laughs] and then she came to Australia and we’d be out in the water together sort of courting each other, trying to figure each other out. All these sweet moments we shared out in between the waves where I’d tell her she’s so beautiful and we’d be too nervous to kiss. Actually one of the sweetest moments from when we started hanging out was in this beautiful secret cove: we were both swimming in the line-up, and we both said that we wanted to kiss each other when the time came for it. And right when we said that this dolphin leaped out of this wave face 10 feet from us. And we went from staring into each other’s eyes—all doting and lovely sort of sparkly eyes—to this dolphin leaping for joy like it was saying, “Yes, yes, yes, kiss now!”

[Laughs]. You guys! You guys are ridiculous. Like, do you go out and buy toilet paper and milk?

[Laughs] no, the tobacco plants are really good for toilet paper, got them growing on the property here!

That’s hilarious. I loved how you said one of the first things that drew you to Lauren was her strength and her ease.

Yeah. One of the amazing things about surfing is that when you watch someone surf long enough, you develop an attentive eye.  You can see their personality in the way their arms fall: bent or straight or relaxed. If their hands are clenched or open, if their brow is furrowed, if they’re breathing deeply, if their back’s arched or hunched, how wide their feet are on the board and then what kind of lines they draw on the wave. You can pull a person’s personality apart so easily by seeing them on a wave. And when I saw Lauren surfing it was just like this crazy cupid’s arrow straight to my heart where I was like, “Oh my Lord, look at this girl and look at the way she stands on a surfboard. Her arms are just completely relaxed by her side. And the softness in her face and she’s just looking at this beautiful wave. She doesn’t do these crazy flashy moves on waves. She’s just there enjoying the space.”

How beautiful. Have you thought about parenthood?

[Laughs] well, Lauren’s about to turn 30. I’m 35. And we live in this beautiful place in the northern rivers where there’s this great community of open-minded, healthy people who are all having kids right now. If it’s in the stars and we’re that blessed, then wonderful, bring it on.
It feels good to just be in this community, growing our food and being in the garden and watching the seasons change here, and having a little rugrat in that mix would just be even more amazing. Maybe it’s ’cause spring’s in the air and the bees are going crazy and the flowers are all opening early but it feels like a very ripe time.

Check out The Cove, Bella Vita and Minds in the Water, three of the documentaries Dave worked on

Berry Liberman

Berry Liberman, Dumbo Feather’s publisher and editor-in-chief, drives our passion and purpose. While she’s not immersed in the heady scent of old fashioned flowers, she’s also the Creative Director of Small Giants and a mum to the three cutest kids in the world.

Photography by Tammie Joske

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