071: Léa Brassy/The Art of Simplicity

Lea, a long way from Normandy. Picture: Vincent Colliard

“I needed a much wider picture of nature and a much smaller picture of myself.”

A real reflective treat of an episode this week, as I am joined by surfer and waterwoman Léa Brassy in a conversation recorded in August 2018 down in Newquay.

A lovely, light and artful chat, this, as Léa talks me through her life and passions. As a surfer, free-diver, spearfisher, film-maker, ocean advocate and writer, Léa has been courageous enough to follow her own path in life and is deeply thoughtful about her relationship with her environment.

Photo: Laurent Masurel

I mean that in the broadest sense of the word; both in how her actions affect the environment, and how her relationship with the environment affects her own mood and sense of fulfilment.

As I discovered, this gently questing approach is something that Léa brings to every aspect of her life, whether its the food she eats, the possessions she owns, the journey she takes, or her constantly evolving relationship with the sea and the rawness of nature.

Picture: Vincent Colliard

To hear Léa’s story, you realise that the small decisions of life are actually the basis of an ongoing dialogue with ourselves about the type of person we want to be. There’s an honesty and a courage to this approach that is really inspiring and infectious.

If you only have five minutes…

Listen to this section - Lea on her relationship with the 'wildness' of surfing

Connect With Léa Brassy

Show Notes

  • Testing natural rubber Yulex wetsuits.
  • A stop over in Newquay.
  • The Classic North European weather – and why Lea misses it.
  • Life in French Polynesia.
  • The importance of taking time off.
  • Having friends with the same lifestyle.
  • Inspiring others to spend more time in nature.
  • Why living ecologically can be hard, but it’s about the small changes.
  • Reflecting over our consumption choices.
  • Lea’s blog post about rewarding relationships with suppliers.
  • Lea’s childhood living the simple life and being resourceful.
  • “Looking at the world through the glasses of surfing”.
  • How surfing began for Lea aged of 12.
  • Surfing the beaches of Normandy.
  • Seeing only one female surfer when she first began surfing.
  • The art of surfing remotely.
  • “I need a much wider picture of nature, and a much smaller picture of myself”.
  • Lea’s nomadic lifestyle.
  • The drive to explore how other cultures experience nature.
  • The Eastern vs Western view of nature.
  • Lea’s love for other ocean activities, beyond surfing.
  • “My connection is more to the element than the sport”.
  • Being There’ film.
  • How spearfishing teaches Lea about the food chain and our relationship with food.
  • Enjoying the underwater silence.
  • The connection with the food we eat in the West.
  • Lea’s mainly vegetarian diet.
  • Working as a nurse before surf career.
  • Some of the first foreign surfing spots she went to.
  • How surfing helped navigate Lea’s teenage life.
  • Living a minimalist lifestyle and letting go of baggage.
  • Pierre Rabhi’s environmentalism.
  • The Colibris movement.
  • The power of small contributions.

People Mentioned


  • Newquay
  • French Polynesia
  • France
  • Hawaii
  • Normandy
  • New Zealand
  • Iceland
  • Ireland