Tell us about your connection with the ocean.
My connection to the ocean started at a young age. I grew up on a peninsula where summers involved long days on the beaches, swimming in freshwater springs, and playing in heavy rainstorms and flooded streets. This instilled a deep love for being in and under water and really shaped who I am today.
What is your greatest inspiration and drive to protect mother nature?
I think personally witnessing the degradation of our waterways has lit a fire in me to advocate for them. I've also seen how resilient nature can be, how quickly it can rebound it we let it, and this gives me a lot of hope.
What is your favorite Abysse piece/ Why do you love Abysse?
My favorite piece would have to be the Lotte suit, especially the pearl and silver colorways – they help keep me warm while the neutral colors compliment the landscapes I’m most often swimming, diving and filming in. I also really appreciate that the neoprene used in Abysse wetsuits is limestone-based and has a reduced carbon footprint compared to standard neoprene.
What characteristics do you think make up an Abysse girl?
I believe creativity, fearlessness, curiosity and a deep love and respect for nature are some of the characteristics that represent us and link us together. There is also a strong sense of sisterhood and support. We may be dispersed across the globe, but the seeds of sisterhood are still apparent and I think that’s beautiful.
Tell us about a typical day for you, how do you incorporate the ocean on a daily basis?
Where I'm currently living, a typical day doesn’t involve the ocean as often as it does the springs. Workdays begin with tea on the front steps in the sun before burying myself in computer work. However, rest days are spent swimming and filming in the rivers and springs - sometimes with a creative goal in mind, and sometimes just to experience the beauty of it. Here, the water is not far beneath our feet, so even the act of exploring the forests tells the story of the rivers that flow underground and eventually spring up and flow to the ocean. The land links freshwater and saltwater worlds and has a palpable energy - I'm not sure I could escape the water even if I tried haha.
What is a fun fact about the ocean that you love?
This one is a bit strange, but I love the fact that different oceans/seas have their own unique flavor. Travelling for freediving has shown me how varied the oceans can be - each has its own unique composition and is influenced by many things - adjacent landscapes, soils, minerals, and freshwater etc. When I go to new places to dive, I am always curious what the sea will taste like.
Do you run or have a favorite foundation towards Ocean protection / conservation?
Yes, I am so inspired by Sylvia Earle’s work with Mission Blue and what they’ve been able to accomplish by protecting large swaths of ocean habitats around the world. Locally, there is also a wonderful organisation called the Florida Springs Council - they tirelessly advocate for the protection and restoration of our freshwater resources, which are the bedrock of many (if not all) of our state's ecosystems.
We could no be more proud here at Abysse to support Ashleigh and everything she embodies. First photo is shot by @sunallure_studio, and every other image was taken by Ashleigh herself for Abysse @deepleigh. We strive to protect and preserve our planet, with forces like this we are one wave closer.