Ocean Conservation with Love Island's Laura Crane!

📸 Hannah Anderson

Quick fire questions...

ConCon: Favourite animal?

LC: Dolphin. I think they are one of the only larger animals in the water that are beautiful but not scary! I remember the first time I ever saw dolphins, it was in the UK - they would come towards you in the waves and then as you duck-dived towards them they would split last minute. It was like playing with them.

ConCon: Favourite country to surf?

LC: Portugal. I think after everywhere I have travelled, I love being so close to home and the quality of waves and how clean the ocean is there.

ConCon: Next ideal travel destination

LC: I really want to go to the Philippines. I want to live there for a while. There are a few new waves that have just been found there that are not super crowded yet, so that would be cool.

ConCon: What do you see as the largest conservation issue to do with the ocean?

LC: Plastic pollution. It is super sad and for sure the number 1.

📸 Bo Eide

Main questions...

ConCon: Best and worst encounter with a marine animal whilst surfing?

LC: They are probably both the same. I was in Hawaii, no older than around 16 (we used to spend a month out there every November, it was the last leg of the tour). We knew there were a lot of sharks and shark attacks in the region, so it is something that played on your mind the entire month. We were always thinking of sharks because the channels are really deep there, and they were always around. It was the last day and it was a really big day.

I paddled out through the channels, the deeper parts where the sharks hang out, and I caught my first wave and it was way bigger than anything I had ever surfed before so I was a bit like ‘Oh shit, maybe I’ll just chill and let a few waves come through’. There were 5 other guys out on the water, the boys were a bit older than me and so they were sitting a bit further out and there was a set of waves that came through which they caught in and I was there pretty much alone for like 5 minutes and all I was thinking was ‘I hope I don’t see a shark right now’.

Then on the other side of the beach there was a place called Turtle Bay (because lots of turtles go there to lay their eggs at night) and as I was paddling out there was a guy paddling out from that beach and as we met he was shouting ‘Go in, go in, there is a tiger shark’, and I have never moved so fast! As much as it was super scary, it gives you that feeling that the sea is not our home, it isn’t ours. I love being in there and it has given me a lot of things, but it taught me that it is their home and when they are around you get out. It gives you a lot of respect for the ocean.

📸 Tomas Kotouc

ConCon: Who do you admire most in the world of conservation?

LC: I have a friend in Bali, an Indonesian, and he is about 4 years younger than me. He started this campaign to go to all of the schools in Indonesia and teach them about the ocean and plastic and how bad it is to be throwing trash in the rivers. When I lived in Bali, we used to do beach cleans every Sunday and we thought, ‘Beach cleans are trying to fix something that is too far gone, we have to fix it at the source’. So, he set up this whole thing to go around to all the schools, and I did a few with him, to explain to them why it is bad and hopefully they will go home and tell their parents. So, for me, he is the person I admire most. He is called Arti.

ConCon: How/why did you become interested in conservation?

LC: My main passion is surfing and so for me the ocean has given me everything that I love and care about, and it was a natural thing when I started to hear about plastic pollution and how bad it was getting, I had to give something back. I have this platform where I can really make a difference and maybe help my ocean and at least try and stop it from getting even worse. I had to help.

📸 Hannah Anderson

ConCon: Have you noticed differences since you began to surf?

LC: Yes. I lived in Bali for 2 years and I think that was the first time I had ever been face to face with it. I would paddle and literally have pie