The Portugal News talked to Natasha Roth, a passionate surfer from Daytona, Florida, who feels that surfing changed her life too. After moving there, Natasha said that she was very grateful to have met surfers who showed her the do’s and don’ts of surfing, especially since she did not know anyone in that area yet. “I think the best thing the surfing community and the ocean taught me was how to escape and be in the present moment. I remember the first time I paddled out and just sat on the outside watching the waves roll by. Being that far out into the ocean was a new feeling for me but there was this sense of freedom knowing that life was left onshore and that all that mattered at that present moment were the sets rolling in. It was almost a natural meditation in just sitting in the water basically untouchable by whatever I had been stressing out about previously.”

After that, Natasha said, surfing became an incredible lifestyle of great moments and memories for her and admitted that surfing has taught her a new respect for the ocean. As a biologist, she understands how vulnerable the big blue is and so she paints to raise awareness and get people’s attention.

“Part of why I paint the ocean and waves is because it is so beautiful and mysterious. The ocean has this elegant power to it that’s often overlooked. My favourite part of painting is capturing the elegance and beauty within the ocean, but the reality is that all that beauty is being impacted by human choices and often it’s simply due to a lack of awareness of how these choices negatively impact the environment. “When most people see a painting of sea turtles and coral reefs, it’s usually a sentiment of happiness and amazement towards this amazing life most people don’t get to see too often. When people are shown something beautiful but then told that it may disappear forever, that sentiment changes to concern and a new perspective is brought to the table and then people start to care a little more about what’s happening to our environment. Understanding the environment and how it works is a major fighting mechanism in tackling environmental conservation and I believe art has that power to bring knowledge and awareness in a language more people are willing to listen to.”