photo by Dean Bradshaw
I remember the first time I met Leah Dawson, it was in the ocean. It was a beautiful day and there were a bunch of us out. I caught a few waves before Leah paddled out, and after that I think I caught only one more, not because Leah wouldn’t let me, but because all I wanted to do was watch her surf. She is force, maybe that’s not the best word…an energy, a positive, swirling, breathtaking energy. Being around Leah is sometime surreal, it almost seems like you’re in a book, where your character meets a wise woman and learns about the earth and nature and themselves, and everything seems so positive and powerful. It’s almost hard to soak in everything she has to offer, and before you know it, she’s gone. Gone on her next adventure, across the world in search of love (that she’s found), surf (that she charges), friends (that she inspires, and is inspired by) and connection (with the people around her and the earth).
Witness This is immensely honored to feature Le’a, our heroine of this tale. We were lucky enough to spend time with her as she shared her world with us, and allowed Dean Bradshaw to take her photo. Now, we present to you, a true Genius: Leah Dawson
Where did it all start?
I presume on a Cool fall night in southern California, the first stage of my creation was sparked between two Daredevils and heart-lovers. Both of my folks love to push their limits both physically and mentally, always allowing their desire for achievement to path the road for success. So I was born into a lovely family, centered on making dreams a reality. My older brother and younger sister and I all grew up in Orlando Florida, where Mickey Mouse was our real best friend and Disney World was our backyard. So from a young age, imagination was encouraged. Now, I recognize the gift that imagination has brought to my life.
What part of surfing do you feel most connected to?
Ahh surfing, hmm my breath of Life. Surfing itself is what connects me to this earth, and knowing myself as a human being capable of working in harmony with the ocean. The joy of riding waves, these spontaneous energetic motions of the earth, has opened my eyes to the cleansing and rejuvenation process that takes place every time any human immerses themselves into the sea. The feeling of being renewed, refreshed, never fails every time I exit the ocean. I always feel more alive. Lastly, the barrel has always been mesmerizing to me, from a scientific, spiritual, and physical aspect, but I just recently realized what the incredible feeling is in my body after exiting a barrel resembles. Inside the barrel, energy is different, it is a silent roar, and cold but hot vortex, one that makes time slow down, and the through the waves’s release, i often have a tingling sensation all over my body, and my spirit and mind are completely present and ecstatic. I’ve only experienced this feeling one other way… Come to find out my name in Ancient Polynesia Le’a, stood for this very act of the ultimate ability for humans to feel and create anew, with incredible pleasure and a deep connection to something else than only ourselves.
Tell us about some of the projects you’re working on right now.
I’m currently developing and writing a screenplay for a film whose goal is to reignite passion amongst our human race to once again know and understand what it means to be a living human being in harmony? This question, honestly approached, leads to knowing about a healthy human body, the aspects our habitat we call earth, and what tools we as humans have to connect to earth, and therefore everything around us. What we have come across is an extensive realization of why surfers feel so drawn to the ocean in the first place… The more we seek, the simpler it gets… We are all a Salt Water Soul.
I’ve also been working on a still photo project in Hawaii with a photographer named Red Mahan. First time I met Red, we sat in the middle of Waimea bay on a jet ski, and he shared with me more insight about the female goddess energy and the incredible indigenous meanings of sex and love making. He strongly believes that when males and females alike begin viewing and treating women like the beautiful, creative goddess energy that we are, that this common respect will play a major role in the growth of ‘peace’ on our planet. Our goal is through still images and writing, to portray the female goddess in her most natural form, bringing forth a comfort in our own skin that we have neglected for quite some time. Too, during these photo shoots I have become overwhelmed by the ancient spirits of women who once touched these waters, and stared into this blazing sun.
Hmm can it be natures song by the ocean?! Human music wise, my favorite artist is one of my closest, longtime friends, the master and magician Kellen Malloy. He has always played music because of the soul, and our life lessons have always seemed to mimic each other in the evolution of our minds and spirits. His music grows every time I see him ( I seem to be on a 4-6 month cycle with California :)). Music, the universal language that ignites emotion in us from head to toe. Always amazed by the existence that is Music.
What does the word genius mean to you?
Genius can mean to me, the recognition and follow through that the human entity is a magical creation, capable of doing and being things we may only be able to conceive of in our dreams. It is the belief that an individual can make a difference, A big difference. It is the passionate result of a human that finds joy and dedication to a natural ‘talent’. A genius is someone that believes they can see or do all things. It is the collection of these geniuses that will flip the switch of the human race to once again appreciate and work in harmony with the earth, rather than abuse her for her resources and pollute her with our left overs. A genius is someone that loves to create and experience. A genius is the happy human inside of you that is reading this right now. We are all geniuses, it whether or not we realize it that allows us to utilize it’s power.
Have you had to sacrifice anything to get where you are?
Other than not yet learning how to be two places at once,the only thing that ever tugs me, is that living my life of dreams has not allowed me to spend as much time as I would like with my parents and family. They are my roots, and therefore my life blood. Only seeing them for a few weeks every year has definitely been challenging. But it has also taught me to grow up, and to create my belief system solely on how I feel.
What was the turning point in your career, and why do you think there was a shift?
Haha well, there are quite a few careers… But they all culminate to one… Being a joyful human and a light to all around me. So I guess this turning point began when I realized my stage, desire, and ability to be a light. My senior year of college, I moved out to the North Shore of Oahu and commuted to town for my final year. My new roommate had this quote on the fridge, “the greatest illusion is that mankind has limitations,” -Robert Monroe. Ever since, anything I truly set my intentions on have come to life. I began manifesting great work when i graduated, that still allowed memo travel and surf. So now I am a camera operator for an incredible team that is taking Surfing back to the broadcast level. Surfing for me has never been a career, partly because it didn’t produce much mula for me, but more so because I subconsciously knew that surfing was my way of ‘connecting with the gods’ and the corporate world may have kept me from the incredible spiritual gifts I have downloaded from the sea. Of course, a sponsor and boat trips would be awesome, but I’ve realized that I have the opportunity and challenge to create my own way of being a Surf Explorer for life.
What made you look towards searching for big waves as of recently?
I’ve always been inammered by big waves. I had that big coffee table book of JAWS when I was growing up. I dont know if I will ever get to that point, but I do know that the idea of raising the bar always intrigues me, and it led me to surf Waimea Bay for the first time last winter. It’s this tinkering with life and death, but a knowing and a trust that life, in one way or another, is the only result, no matter what, is what makes it do-able. Granted, I was shaking and bitting my lips the first 20ft swell I experienced firsthand at the Bay, but the adrenaline it released was euphoric, and I felt so very human. I guess it is the desire to feel that incredible cellular release of adrenaline in my core and attain that knowingness of my ability to be and act completely present.
I am Looking forward to doing a pilgrimage through the Hawaiian islands with the love of my life, Eldar. Life is a vacation in a sense, as the feeling of bliss and relaxation is a state of mind I release towards every day.
Who inspires you?
Wow, everything! Every flower, every bird, every shark, and every human continues to remind me of the incredible creation that is all life. I am inspired by every human I see living in love, with sharing joy with those around them. I am inspired by my parents to love and embody the gift that Is parenthood. I am inspired by my friends to allow the feeling of family to find my heart where ever and who ever I am with. I am inspired by the angelic humans that walk our earth who are actively empowering this world. I am inspired by the Ancient Hawaiians, for they developed a way of life focused on living in Aloha (love, joy, peace, to be happy with, basically all things positive). With the daily practice of Aloha, this ancient culture activated their human ability to be in communication and harmony with the superconscious, the universal energy so to speak. This fascinates me and inspires me to every day seek further, into the realm of the unseen, for we all know what intuition and dreams are. Life is a process of learning how to utilize these tools to create and enhance our daily reality.
Who do you spend the most time with?
Well, god, honestly. I love calming myself to a point where the conversation in my head is not one of constant blabber and nonsense, but rather one of intriguing wisdoms and insight. It is these moments of elegance with the superconscious that I enjoy most. Surfing and yoga both excersize my ability to calm my mind and listen to my spirit voice. Other than that, my gorgeous man of my dreams is moving from Israel, his homeland, to Hawaii this week to meet me and give our lives together an opportunity to flourish. He intrinsically fills that role of god in a way, as I have never known a human that freely expresses in the angelic way that he does. He reminds me to ‘be impeccable with my word’ and notice the extravagant beauty ALL around us.
Are you afraid of anything?
I am doing my best each and every moment to eliminate the feeling of being afraid from my life. Even in big, life-threatening surf, it’s the knowing of choice that allows me to always calm down and find my peace. I’ve recently realized that for me, allowing fear to be real just creates the space for what i don’t desire to exist. So by eliminating my Thoughts and Fears about certain things, they seize to play a role in my daily life because There is literally no space for fear to exist. But that’s just what I believe. And the beauty of this world is that no matter what, each human has their own perspective and beliefs. At the end of the day, what we believe tells of who we are, and who we would like to be. For me, it is simple, I believe love conquers all, and a light of love is what I’d like to be. All else is the fun details that this life allows us to create.
What inspires you?
Overcoming challenges. The fact that we live in a time where the people have an opportunity to regain their voice and together form the biggest comeback in human history, makes me excited to get up everyday and lend hands and heart towards creating a healthy future for our home, and all of it’s inhabitants. We are going up against the richest, largest opposer of all time. The Toxic corporate industry that is currently polluting our people and our only home with deadly, cancerous toxins must be stopped. We all deserve to eat a real live apple, not a collection of toxins and pesticides that looks like an apple, yet lacks the healing ability of a real apple, leaving our body riddled with foreign toxins we weren’t designed to ingest. We will, we have to, once again collectively realize that we are individually responsible for knowing the difference between living and dead food, and therefore all influence the market to make deadly toxins illegal rather than government funded. This challenge inspires me. As do a long,long list of tragic circumstances… Because we all have the opportunity to be a hero, to be a genius at this most vital time in human history. It starts with you, and ends with me. We are all part of the same human race, I look forward to the day we play as a team.
What’s next for you?
Love. :). Joining my lovely male mirror in Hawaii this week. Then to France to film the Quik Pro for the live broadcast. Then to China to compete in the Swatch Pro World Longboard event. Then back to Hawaii to finish writing the script of my dreams with my friend Rochelle Ballard, film the broadcast for the Triple Crown, charge the biggest, best waves of my life thus far, and fly higher in love each and every day.