Environmentalist and professional surfer

Growing up in a big and bustling household, Tessa Timmons and her family never found much time to sit down and talk about recycling efforts or how the planet needs to be saved, but now, it’s practically all she wants to talk about.


Tessa sat down with us and mapped out her story from passionate grom to a thriving environmentalist encouraging kids of all ages to take baby steps towards a cleaner future.


So Tessa, how did you come to care so much for this planet?

Surfing!


“all I wanted to do was get to the beach. Once I learned to drive I was surfing every single day. My friends pushed me deeper into the sport and I fell in love with it.”

We had a feeling, and Tessa’s stroke quickly made it clear that surfing has brought her everything she has in life. It's her place for solitude and peace, and also the centerpiece of her community. That natural pulse soon took her around the world as a professional surfer.


Her journey was different than many travelers, as Tessa saw the world from the water. It wasn’t all roses and trophies. Her journey was a blessing and a curse.


Surfing gave Tessa a front row seat to the wonders of nature, but also sat her closer to the deforestation and reef damage plaguing the underbelly of our developments. Those journeys implanted a feeling of responsibility to take care of these amazing places and preserve them for the creatures that live in them.



As soon as she got home, Tessa began to use her voice to bring awareness to helping our planet. This vision culminated with a degree in sustainability as living in harmony with nature became her strongest passion alongside surfing.


She’s here today to bring awareness to our planet's health and to share her belief that if everyone was out in nature more they would see how important it is to save our planet.


What an interesting perspective!


Not everyone has easy access to beautiful coastlines and nurturing forest escapes. After a few afternoons in the water or amongst the redwoods, any doubter will be as passionate as we are about changing things for the better. Together, we must break down barriers preventing people from accessing the natural world.


Step one is to encourage the people in our circle to spread the word, like ripples slowly spreading across the pond. Growing up and sharing the beautiful Santa Cruz coastline, spending time outside is a way of life, but not everyone has fresh air high on their priority list.

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So what can we do about these barriers?

Think back to every outdoor activity you have tried in your lifetime. No matter the sport, chances are one thing was the same: you had an experienced friend willing to patiently and passionately show you the ropes, provide the equipment, and cultivate a positive environment for you to fall in love with something new.


This is the mission of the Changing Tides Foundation. By providing young women with the equipment and education they need to feel confident in the water, they expose them to a thousand reasons to help save the planet, all without lecturing or preaching.


Tessa and her girls spend all sorts of sunny afternoons in the water, leaving with a new passion and an accompanying fervor to protect the waters that provide that energy.

Once young people are hooked on surfing, protecting the planet that provides these waves becomes a no-brainer. Changing Tides is all about encouraging people of all means to pick up the fight against climate change.


We can’t stress this enough; You don’t have to go to college or become a politician to enact change. If everyone starts with a few baby steps those ripples can create a way bigger movement.


So, Tessa, where can we start?


Even something as simple as switching to a plant-based diet for one day a week or refusing to use single-use plastics is a step in the right direction. She has seen first-hand the power of online petitions to put pressure on local legislatures and get the ball rolling on big change.


The bottom line is simple: If you see somethinyou want to change in your local community, there are ways to do it.


Before you can take the lead, you’ll have to find resources out there to educate yourself about the issues at hand. While everyone can benefit from spending more time in the water than on the internet, it's a valuable tool for finding ways to speak up.


As we are learning the power of our voice within the community, we wanted to know, where do brands fit in all this?


The best thing anyone can learn is that they don’t have all the answers, and Tessa is quick to admit she didn’t hold in her hands a magic solution.


In Tessa’s eyes, the roadmap to finding that answer is out there.

Unfortunately, it's often the bigger companies that are taking the bigger toll on the environment, so we have to encourage them to change their habits. Brands big and small need to find ways to improve before it's too late, and getting more people talking about the need for change and brainstorming ways to help is bound to do good.


Behind every brand are a lot of brilliant minds out there who can come up with the answers to these tough questions, but are focusing instead on profits or power. Maybe all they need is a push in the right direction.


Tessa and her water women are pushing in all the right ways, riding the energy the water gives them.


Before we can change the world, we’ve got to look inwards. The way we take care of our bodies is symbolic of how we take care of everything else, and Tessa told us how her diet teetered over into all other aspects of her life.


Through surfing she felt the power of eating the right nutrients, focusing on fruits and vegetables, and finding ways to make her body perform at her highest. Putting the right ingredients into her body provided instant results and encouraged her to place care in all corners.


That care goes beyond the dinner table and down to snack time, where her active lifestyle and VäxaBar’s became a perfect fit.


We know how Tessa feels about her place in the world, but what is her favorite VäxaBar?


She struggled to pick a winner in a crowded field of delicious and nutritious options, but the Beet Coco won out in the end, with the blueberry flavor a close second.


Just like our yummy bars, Tessa has found all sorts of delicious ways to enjoy herself while remaining on a mission to make the planet a better place than when she started. We won’t change our course in a day, but baby steps forward are better than standing still.

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