Episode 45: Meet Heidi Tapia- Environmentally Conscious Entrepreneur, Free Diver, Whale Guide, and Passionate Surfer

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Show Notes

How do you know if your passion is the one? -You just know. That’s what happened to Heidi Tapia. Her first catch of the wave probably isn’t the happiest experience of her life but the emotion was so intense that she got hooked. Eventually, she responded to the call of the ocean and became a “weekend warrior”. She would run to the ocean to surf and free dive. Later on, this love turned into a great opportunity to explore the ocean as a whale guide. Her connection with the ocean runs very deep that her goal right now as an entrepreneur is to help reduce the waste being dumped in the waters. 

Today, Heidi shares her exciting water adventures and worthwhile endeavors. She tells the story of how she fell in love with the ocean and followed through even if it meant leaving her homeland. She also lets us peek into the life of a whale guide and she helps us get to know a little bit about these giants. Heidi believes that we are connected and innately programmed to seek the underwater. Free Diving is more than just going in and coming out of the water. Heidi walks us into the meditative aspect of diving and its load of psychological, physiological, and physical benefits. As an environmentally conscious entrepreneur, Heidi also invites us to join in proper waste management. How long we are going to be amazed by these wonderful creations depend on how willing and how vigorous we are at preserving these gifts. 

Episode Highlights:

02:49 Free Diving Weekend Warrior
09:59 The Perfect Job-Paid To Surf All Day
12:20 An Unexpected Trip to Being a Whale Guide
21:12 Feeding the Giants
22:20 Male and Female Humpback Whale Mating Behaviors
26:30 The Mammalian Dive Reflex
35:49 Be Responsible Waste Managers
38:00 New Endeavors

I’m really excited to be behind the mic after a few weeks of feeling a bit off. To be honest, a couple of weeks ago, I totally lost my voice, and I couldn’t even pronounce a word and so let alone record this intro. Now what makes this episode even more special is that it was recorded outside in real life with one of the most inspiring people I’ve had the chance to meet. Her name is Heidi Tapia. She’s basically a multipotenitalite light. She studied psychology in Mexico, but you could say that surfing absolutely changed her life. Her true calling is adventure and the salty lifestyle.

“If you're connected to what your body's telling you, it's easier to connect to things outside of you.”

Heidi has had the most exciting life from freediving with whales in Tonga, being a surf instructor, and living the dream in Byron Bay. And she’s about to start various businesses. She’s one fierce female making changes one wave at a time and with immense joy, wisdom, and a great philosophy of making the most in life. In this conversation, we talked about Heidi’s relationship with surfing her adventurous lifestyle, and we get to learn a lot about whales and freediving too.

I hope you enjoy this episode.

Take care, have fun, and enjoy the waves.




Connect with Heidi:

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“Part of our responsibility is to manage our waste. And that's something that is truly missing. And until we don't realize that,... not many things are going to change.”

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Imi Barneaud: Hi everybody, welcome back to The Oceanriders Podcast, conversations with creatives, entrepreneurs, thinkers and dreamers who also happen to be surfers. My name is Imi, and I am your host. I’m really excited to be behind the mic after a few weeks of feeling a bit off. To be honest, a couple of weeks ago I totally lost my voice and I couldn’t even pronounce a word, and so let alone record this intro.

Now, what makes this episode even more special is that it was recorded outside in real life with one of the most inspiring people I’ve had the chance to meet. Her name is Heidi Tapia. She’s basically a multipotentialite. She studied Psychology in Mexico, but you could say that surfing absolutely changed her life. Her true calling is adventure and the salty lifestyle. Heidi has had the most exciting life from free diving with whales in Tonga, being a surf instructor, and living the dream in Byron Bay, and she’s about to start various businesses. She’s one fierce female making changes, one wave at a time. And with immense joy, wisdom, and a great philosophy of making the most in life. In this conversation we talk about Heidi’s relationship with surfing, her adventurous lifestyle, and we get to learn a lot about whales and free diving too. I’ll let Heidi introduce herself, but before I do, I just wanted you to picture the scene. It’s 25 odd degrees, we’re sitting at a picnic table at the past cafe in Byron Bay just after having had the best long boarding session, and sipping on a macadamia nut cup of tea. In fact, by the tone of my voice and the fact that it goes up an octave or two is proof that I was certainly stoked that day. I guess it doesn’t get any better than that.

So without further ado, please welcome Heidi Talina Tapia. Hello Heidi, and welcome to The Oceanriders Podcast. How are you today?

Heidi Talina Tapia: I am really good, Imi. Thanks for having me, and it’s really good to be talking to you today.

Imi Barneaud: I know, and this is the first on The Oceanriders Podcast actually doing an outdoor episode in Byron Bay, in front of the past cafe, just been surfing for two hours, it’s been an Epic time, and I’m so grateful that you could make it today and join me.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Thank you. So to you, salty conversations are good.

Imi Barneaud: Yes, exactly. So Heidi, do you think you could introduce yourself to the listeners?

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yes. My name is Heidi Talina. Well, I guess I’ve been living in Australia for about 13 years. I’m originally from Mexico, and I’m a passionate surfer, I like free diving, and that’s it.

Imi Barneaud: So whereabouts in Mexico are you from?

Heidi Talina Tapia: I was born in [inaudible]. Grew up in Mexico City.

Imi Barneaud: Right, so it was landlocked.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yes.

Imi Barneaud: Totally landlocked.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Totally.

Imi Barneaud: What actually introduced you, or who introduced you to surfing in the first place?

Heidi Talina Tapia: The TV, yeah. I used to just watch videos of people surfing and it looked really easy, it looked really fun, and I just decided one day I wanted to do that. So when I finished university, I moved to [inaudible], which is a smaller city than Mexico City, and it’s closer to the coast. So I moved there, my parents were still in Mexico City so I just got to the bank, got a credit card, got myself a surfboard, a way to like small surf or to learn on. But I thought that’s all I needed, a new bikini, and off I went.

Imi Barneaud: That’s amazing. So how did you actually learn, did you just teach yourself to surf?

Heidi Talina Tapia: I taught myself, yes. And I mean, looking back, I put myself in very tricky situations. I definitely, at that time in Mexico there was not many women surfing and there were definitely no surf schools at all. So yeah, I just watch videos and I’m like, Oh, yeah, okay, you paddle, you stand up, you ride it, that’s all you have to do. And yeah, it was definitely, there were a few obstacles on the road for sure.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah. So were you still studying by then? Or was that after you graduated from your degree?

Heidi Talina Tapia: That was when I finished my degree. I was working in an interactive museum, so like a science museum, mostly for kids. But I mean, it’s really fun for adults as well. So I was basically, Monday to Friday, doing lots of research in front of the computer. And Friday afternoon I’ll put the surfboard, the hammock, and the tent in the car, drive to the beach, get there for a sunset session. And so Saturday, surf Sunday morning, and then Sunday afternoon pack again, go back to work, be ready for Monday morning.

Imi Barneaud: Wow. That’s such an adventure.

Heidi Talina Tapia: So I was a weekend warrior for awhile.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah. And did you do that to learn, or were you with friends, or this was just a personal project?

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yeah, I mean, I used to go by myself sometimes to be lucky enough that some of the friends will come so we can carpool. But yeah, I’ve never been afraid of doing things on my own, so that was one. And that’s another thing that, now looking back, I’m like, wow, I was going out, my parents didn’t, obviously they didn’t even know I was surfing and driving to the beach to go to surf because they would’ve said no. So instead of asking for permission, I didn’t say anything. But yeah, those were the situations that could probably have, I mean, on the beach, there were always heaps of people and I never liked surfing on my own. But yeah, I guess I could have taken a lot of other cautions for questions too.

Imi Barneaud: That such an adventurous spirit, and in fact, there’s the whole kind of leitmotif of this conversation is how adventurous you are. And where do you think that’s come from? This adventurous spirit.

Heidi Talina Tapia: I’m not sure. I think being landlocked was one of the things. I always wanted to travel. I’ve always wanted to just see as much and learn as much as I can. And I guess that just gave me the urge to get out and start doing things. Yeah. My sister told me not long ago that she thinks that I got all the adventure genes from all the brothers and sisters, because everyone’s quiet, they still like doing active things, and she’s like, no, I think you’ve got them all. Put them all in the second batch. So I’m not sure. I still do, I mean, even now living in Byron Bay, I want to see more, I want to do more. Like I would love to just live in a sailboat and anchor wherever, and wake up there, and then see where the wind is going to take me next.

Imi Barneaud: Peaceful. That’s beautiful. So when did you move to Australia? 13 years ago?

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yes. In August, 2006.

Imi Barneaud: What was the urge to move to Australia? Was it the waves?

Heidi Talina Tapia: No. Well, funny. On one of my weekend, nothing of interest, it was actually an Easter break. I went on my own to come, one of my favorite beaches that I wouldn’t not tell you the name of. This is the secret spot, but I’ll tell you later. So I was surfing there, just camping, and I met a Kiwi guy in the surf. So he approached me in the surf and he asked me if I had bought my surfboard in Australia. And I’m like, no, I wish, I would love to go to Australia, but now I bought it here. Because he’s exactly the same as my best friend’s board. And I’m like, no way. So we started talking, and he was quite cute, and so we started hanging out for like the whole 10 days that I had left there. He was traveling with one of his friends. So it’s a very small place, this one that I’m telling you. So it’s only camping, there’s only one place to eat. So you kinda end up hanging out with people that are around you and getting to know them, and that happened. He ended up staying in Mexico for about six months and then he’s like, you should come over to Australia. And I was like, alright. So I thought I was coming over in a holiday, and yeah, I had a visa for three months, and I didn’t go back to Mexico until three and a half years later. So he was a Kiwi guy that brought me here.

Imi Barneaud: And did you come immediately to New South Wales or Queensland, or did you travel a lot?

Heidi Talina Tapia: I lived in the Gold Coast for a little bit, and then we moved down to Lennox Head, and we lived there and attended for about four months. It was great. It was by the Lake. We have the beach, so we’ll go surfing in the beaches and then we’ll just jump in the Lake, and it was crazy. I mean everything that I’ve always thought of, like the Australian lifestyle and everyone was surfing. And when I got here, I was like, wow, in Mexico there was like no surfing women. I mean, me and the other five. And here it was like, I could see definitely potential and lots of more people were into it, and it didn’t have the stigma that they had in Mexico at that time. And that was really refreshing just to be, not be such like a black sheep when you’re trying to do something that you really like.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah. So was it during that time that you decided to become a surf instructor?

Heidi Talina Tapia: It probably took around three years. And I guess it was, one of the times I was sitting on the beach with one of my friends and he said, look, it’d be really cool to be a surf coach because you get paid to be in the surf all day. And he was like, yes. So we decided to go in and take all our qualifications. So first, we had to become lifeguards, and that was another thing that I thought it was great about Australia because you can just learn how to rescue people and join the surf club and become more aware of the ocean. I mean, I thought that was great. So I was like, yeah, I’m doing that for sure. So we became lifeguards. We did a few volunteering patrols on the beach. And I think about six months later we went down to Maroubra and did our level one surfing Australia qualification course. It takes about three days, there’s theory and then practice. So I guess they just want to see that you know how to negotiate reefs, and how to paddle through sets, and duck dive and all that. And yeah, then came back to Byron. I looked for a surf school to do my, I guess volunteer hours and I found one that was run by a woman, and I was like yeah I’m there. And it was good. I ended up working there for about five, six years afterwards.

Imi Barneaud: That’s so cool. So was that your main job, or did you have side hustles and things like that at the same time to actually pay for your rent and whatnot?

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yeah, side hustles always. Byron’s like a place, it is funny because it makes you develop a lot of skills. If you want to do what you really want to do, you might not make enough money to pay rent, and eat, and petrol, and then still save, and travel if that’s where you want to do. But I guess that it makes you more adaptable and resilient because you have to be onto it.

“If you want to do what you really want to do. You might not make enough money… but that makes you more adaptable and resilient because you have to be the onto it”

Imi Barneaud: Flex your skills. And what was it that time in your life that you actually decided to go in, and help looks at humpback whales in Tonga, or is that–

Heidi Talina Tapia: No, that came way after.

Imi Barneaud: Really. Could you tell us the story?

Heidi Talina Tapia: That came probably it’s going to be five years ago. And that was a random, very random thing. So after probably seven years of me living here in Australia, I took a trip to Bali, a surfing trip with a girlfriend, and for about two and a half months, and then halfway through, we decided to go separate ways. And I ended up meeting another girl from WA, and just clicking with her, and traveling with her years after, once a year we’ll go, where do we go now? Or maybe we should go back to Bali and just go for another surf trip. So one day, I got super excited at — and I’m like, man, this is really cheap tickets to Bali. And then she’s like: “I’m so sorry. I’m not going to go to Bali this year. I’m going to go to Tonga.” And I’m like: “Why? Am I going to go swim with humpback whales?” And ah, I mean, that sounded amazing. And I was like, well, whatever. And I’m like, well, okay. So I wasn’t being bummed out because I wasn’t going to have a surf trip with Andy. But I said, okay well maybe I’ll just, one of the opportunities, either travel by myself and meet all the people, or just go somewhere else. So three days later she calls me and she’s like, Hey, there’s a spot in the same trip that I’m going with the same group, the same team. And I told the lady that basically you’re coming because she knows me so well. And I was on the street because I had really bad reception at the house where I was living at the moment. So every time a phone call we’ll get through my phone, I have to run to the street and pick it up. So when she tells me these news, I’m in the middle of the street, like jumping up on the ongoing, where going to Tonga, and that was it. So that’s how I got there. And from that trip I ended up meeting the people that I’ve been working and living with in the Island where I work.

Imi Barneaud: Wow. So could you tell us what it’s all about? What this job is all about?

Heidi Talina Tapia: Well, this job is a whale guide, we call it, as far as I know, I’m the first Mexican whale guide out there. And we take people swimming with humpback whales. Tonga is been a whale sanctuary since the 70’s, late 70’s, but it’s one of the places that basically lost 80% of the population due to whaling in the 50’s and 60’s, and no one really knew why the population of humpbacks in Tonga was so low until probably about 15 years ago when I think it’s the granddaughter of one of the captains discover a diary where he had recorded every whale that he had taken and there was like thousands. So some guy became a century and basically to the day is one of the only places that you can swim with carves. So the humpback, the baby humpbacks. And I guess besides ecotourism, it’s a little bit in our behalf. So the people that I work with were really focused on putting a little bit of education to our guests and just making it a beautiful experience, but something that we should treasure because it’s a privilege even though you pay money obviously for it. I think the fact that we can do is a privilege.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah. And did you have to fast track on Marine biology to actually get qualified for the job? How did that pan out?

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yeah, it was a fast track, studying and reading, but for me, that’s never been a problem, I love reading and learning new things. And also there’s a course that you have to do and pass that it’s run by the government in Tonga with a lot of aid from Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. And they put the guidelines and regulations. So they teach you a little bit about their behavior, but also how to enforce the regulations to make this a sustainable practice. Because good tourism has that we’d borderline in between being something that could be really good, and educational, and promote conservation, and also deep into exploiting the resource so much that eventually gets damaged.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah. So what is the job of a whale guide? What’s the role?

Heidi Talina Tapia: So I guess number one, it’s to inform our guests of the guidelines and regulations that we have to follow if we see a humpback. And the second part of my job when I’m there is spotting the whales. So I’m at the front of the boat, and I mean, everyone’s looking of course, and if a guest spots a whale, we go for it. But yes, spotting the whales, and then I go in the water first and see if that whale is interested in a human interaction or not, or see their behavior. Yeah. But there’s signs that definitely we pay attention and we respect a lot. So one of the signs that tell us that the whale doesn’t want to interact with us is if they’re lashing their tail on their water, or if they’re blowing bubbles underwater, or if they just basically turn around and go. We don’t really chase whales and we are very respectful when they have a young calf, their space and their time, because there’s basically having a newborn baby. There’s people that don’t mind, five days later they want everyone to visit and there’s people that want to give themselves two weeks, three weeks to spend that time with a newborn and hang out. And I think it’s the same, we’re very similar animals. But yeah, we basically, I look for the signs or think that the whale is willing to interact, then I call my swimmers. That is only four swimmers at the time with me, and we keep this of five meters, and we just sit there and interact with the whale.

Imi Barneaud: That must be an amazing and magical experience.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yes it is. I mean for me, basically, I feel like every time is the first time. Like every time I still cry, I still laugh. I still, yeah, it just gives you a different type of awareness, and I just kind of am not owed by it. If you’re seeing a spaceship, but it’s like a live spaceship that is looking at you like you’re locking eyes with these mammo that it’s huge and it’s completely aware that you’re there. So that’s just like, I don’t know how to explain it but it just makes me, yeah, it is amazing. You should come one day.

Imi Barneaud: I’d love to, that sounds like such an amazing experience. So is there a season where you have to go? Does it work by my seasons or like you go year round, how does that work out?

Heidi Talina Tapia: No. Yeah, the humpback whale season in Tonga will be the same one that’s here in Australia. So the South hemisphere, they made during July to October. So that’s when they live Antarctica, they go up and they hang out there for a few months, and then they go back. And the interesting thing is whales, so whales that have been born in Tonga, they will go back to Tonga. Even though they all meet back in Antarctica and they might hang out with whales from Australia and New Zealand, they all go to their places where they are born to mate. And I mean, the trip takes about six weeks to get up there. The females, as soon as they get pregnant, they go back to Antarctica. And then moms, when they give birth in Tonga, they stay around a month, it depends until the baby’s strong enough to make the trip back to Antarctica.

Imi Barneaud: And what happens in terms of feeding and everything because the mothers, do they have enough fat leftover to feed their babies and to feed them food in the water. What happens to the humpbacks?

Heidi Talina Tapia: Well, the adults don’t eat ado when they are in Tonga.

Imi Barneaud: Right.

Heidi Talina Tapia: So their feeding time is Antarctica, and each humpback whale, each adult humpback whale, it’s around one ton of [inaudible] and other little shrimp at day.

Imi Barneaud: Wow.

Heidi Talina Tapia: So they put on so much weight when they’re in Antarctica, it’s like let’s get fat. And then they make the trip up there because I guess traveling for six weeks will take a lot. If the whale is pregnant, when they get to Tonga, they give birth, they feed their baby around 400 liters of milk a day, and they don’t eat nothing. So the water in Tonga is so warm that it doesn’t have the nutrients for them to eat, and they spend so much energy eating because it’s a big effort. So they would spend way more energy trying to eat than actually just maybe not eating.

Imi Barneaud: Wow. Wow. That’s really interesting.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yeah. So baby humpback puts on about, this is all approximate, right? But it’s about 50 kilos a day.

Imi Barneaud: That’s extraordinary. And it must be so amazing to actually participate in that whole moment in life when the calf is born, and the bonding with the mother, and everything. And do you male humpbacks get in the way? I mean, is there a threat between the mother, and the father/mother and the calf during that season as well?

Heidi Talina Tapia: Well, the males are basically there to mate so it’s really interesting. I mean, there’s so many behaviors that are very, very cool to see. And one of them is the male behavior when they’re mating. So if a female is available, she has behaviors like pec slapping on the water, breaching, or like tail slapping. And she’s basically saying, boys, I’m here. So one might come around, check her out. They are playful for a little bit, but she keeps calling because she’s not, she wants to see who obviously is the strongest animal kingdom all the way. So then another one joins in. So we’ve been in heat runs, that’s how we call them from the beginning. So we have had a female that’s playful. We’ve seen the first male, the second, the third, the fourth, fifth. She even has eight males hanging.

Imi Barneaud: Really?

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yeah. And she still keeps playing until the males decide to, okay, let’s see who is the strongest? And they start basically fighting.

Imi Barneaud: Wow.

Heidi Talina Tapia: So how they fight, they hit lunch on top of each other. They peck slash, peck lap, breech on top of each other. So he gets aggressive in, even though whales, humpback whales are not aggressive at all. This display of power, it’s like, wow. Like you can feel it. It’s complete adrenaline, and you can see how much energy they’re spending, like breathing and the blow holes like going, going, going any other time they’re cruising, you see they breathe and you don’t see them again for 20 minutes. So this is awesome because he’s like, it’s basically like a fight in a pub, I guess, for the hottest chick. And when one wins, off they go,

Imi Barneaud: They can find another lady. That must be really full on. And I guess it’s super dangerous to be around if you’re in the water or whatever that’s going on.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yeah. We, I mean, we have been in heat runs, we’ve dumped in the water. Because [inaudible] such a mission. As I said, they’re never aggressive to humans. Obviously there is a method of how to get in the water with them in any situation, and we’re very respectful of that. So we jump to the side of the heat run, never at the front, never at the back. And you see five seconds of it because they move like they’re going, they’re chasing each other, they’re definitely, they got tail on their mind, and that’s about it. And they are just going for it. But you get to see how they blow bubbles underneath, how they’re slashing each other underneath. And I mean, they carry around half a ton of barnacles in the lower part of their head, and in the pectoral fins, and in the tail. So when they slashed each other with it, that’s like little knives.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah. Wow.

Heidi Talina Tapia: So it is like, I mean, everyone is screaming and laughing, it’s such an energy, it’s energy that you just get these energy off that.

Imi Barneaud: That’s incredible. So I guess your free diving competencies has been extraordinary, being a well guide. Could you tell us a bit more about how you got introduced to free diving as well, but you told that earlier in Bali, you’ve introduced to free diving, but you’ve actually become even more professions, do you think you can just tell us a bit more about free diving and apnea.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yeah, free diving is one of the sports, it’s a very mental thing, and you can take it to many different levels. So this sport as such has evolved and transformed in my eyes in the last five years. The first time I did free diving, it was like six years ago and I’m not a competition freediver. And for me, being a part of complimenting my surfing and just doing something fun, and having the opportunity to see the underwater world. But freediving is great for anyone, I recommend anyone to do it. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to take it to 30 meters or 10, there’s really cool things to see at five meters, and if you don’t want to go deeper than that, that’s totally fine. But we are wired, our body, our system is wired to free dive, and there’s many things that happen in our physiology when we get in the water. So there’s a thing called the mammalian dive response or mammalian dive reflex. And that basically puts your body in a standby mode when you’re in water, or when your face is immersed in water, and when you’re doing free diving, that kicks in and keeps your system working. So all the body, I won’t go super technical on it, but all the blood from your limbs, moves into your heart, lungs, and your brain. So all the oxygen in your bloodstream comes into your main organs to keep them nurtured and functioning. So you can just still go in and hang out in the water. The more you get to your limit, the more your carbon dioxide increases because you are just holding your breath with one breath hold of oxygen, the stronger the urge to breathe gets. So it’s not the lack of oxygen or the high carbon dioxide that gives you that need to breathe. And once that happens, you get signals in your body that tell you you need to come up. So eventually you train that and you get to know your limits. And for me, I’m not in a rush, and so I’ve always been really patient with my signals and just listening to what my body’s telling. But I think that’s one of the main teachings of freediving that I can see that will help humanity in a lot of different ways. And it sounds so simple, but if you’re connected to what your body’s telling you, it’s easier to connect to things outside of you, to other humans, and to plants, and to animals. And if we had that ability really developed, I think our planet would be a completely different place. And so I think that that’s one of the main things that I love about free diving. It’s like once, I mean, the water, and it doesn’t matter, as I said, it could be 10 or it could be 30 meters, I’m with myself, I’m with my thoughts, I can hear my heartbeat if I pay attention, even though it’s really slow, it’s just like meditation state that I can not find even when I try to meditate in land.

“If you're connected to what your body's telling you, it's easier to connect to things outside of you.”

Imi Barneaud: Yeah. Yeah. That’s really interesting. That’s something that you’d never think about, when you think free diving, you just think people going down coming up again, but you don’t actually necessarily think about the meditative states and how powerful that is for the body and the mind. That’s really important.

Heidi Talina Tapia: And I guess basically has a lot of benefits, because you’re holding your breath and your blood is basically slowing down so much so your heart can slow down up to seven beats per minute. So then when you breathe again, there’s these like massive floods of blood. Basically your system is flooding again with blood or your spleen is releasing heaps of toxins, so it’s like a detox every time you hold your breath. Besides it burns like I was reading the other day, it burns around a thousand hundred calories per hour on a wetsuit. And I mean, and I guess you can pee in your wetsuit. Yeah, because your spleen is going crazy every time you hold your breath and you breathe again, it’s like, here we go, toxins out.

Imi Barneaud: So I guess you obviously need to get proper training to actually achieve those levels of breath holds and things like that. What would you recommend listeners if they wanted to still in quite a bit more on free diving, where should they go and check things out

Heidi Talina Tapia: There is, by now, as I said, this sport has grown so much that it’s very easy to find instructors wherever you are in the world. Just look for someone that is properly certified, and do have a lot of fun. I mean, the first rule of freediving is never to do it alone, basically for safety reasons. Because if you get to the point that you need to breathe and you have been ignoring those signals and you black out, someone can be there to rescue you. But the beauty of it is like it’s not when people, when people blackout, because we have been in a relaxed state, and because our body is drawn into these dive reflex, what happens besides all the blood going into your main organs is that your trachea shuts closed–

Imi Barneaud: So you can’t drown.

Heidi Talina Tapia: So you can drown. So there’s no air coming out, there’s no water in, and your brain is basically going, okay, shut down mode, we’re just waiting. If someone pulls you up to the surface, there’s a method to rescue people like blow top talk, it’s called. And after that, people come back like that. So there’s no CPR involved if it’s just a blackout and you have someone there.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah, yeah, that’s amazing. Yeah. We must warn the listeners that they have to do it in a safe environment. It’s totally not do it alone.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Never.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah. Everything will be alright, but that’s a great experience, it’s amazing.

Heidi Talina Tapia: And it just brings so much fun and joy into your life. Even when you just go snorkeling, the things that you are able to see just because you can dive down to five meters, you know? And it’s just like, I mean, to me, at the beginning it was funny. Even though I could stay down, I would need to come up and be like, did you see that? It was like, so yeah.

Imi Barneaud: Oh, that’s brilliant. So maybe moving on in the interview, basically you’re a super multipotentialite, like you’ve done so many different things, but also that have a meaning, there’s a baseline here. And last week you mentioned that you were thinking about starting two new businesses. Could you tell us about that?

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yes. One of them is bringing stuff made in Mexico to Australia, and lots of them are handcrafts, and I guess you can call it fashion, more in this low fashion realm of things. And that is because I’ve always thought that handmade things have a very powerful meaning. And anytime I travel and I get to buy something that is from the place, I can see the lady doing it there, I’m like, this is great. Like I’d rather do that than buy it in a shop. So that’s a little bit of what I would like to bring to Australia. So we have been working with a few families that waive bags or they, I kinda remember the name for a–

“Handmade things have a very powerful meaning.”

Imi Barneaud: They make crochet or?

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yeah, like they sew, but it’s also like a cross stitch embroidery. And we know these families and what they make, and I always think it’s beautiful so I wear a lot of it. And that’s one of the things I would like to introduce to Australia. And the second one is more directed to helping our earth process our waste, and that will have to be more with composting. So that’s a system that has been proving in Mexico for about 10 years, and I haven’t seen anything like that here. Byron Bay being a place where people are aware, they trying to make things better, I think it will be a great place to introduce it.

Imi Barneaud: So it’s a composter, it’s a kind of compost machine sort of thing.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yeah, it’s a compost system, it’s not a machine. It’s basically we have to put their work in, but I believe that that’s part of our responsibility to manage our waste. And that’s something that it’s truly missing. And until we don’t realize that, I think not many things that are going to change. And I leave this in the Island, for example in Tonga because it’s such a small place that we do have to deal with our rubbish. Like anything that comes into the Island has, we have to take it out. So you really get to see your waste. When you just put the bean outside the house, you don’t know where it goes, you don’t know how it has to be handled. And when you have to do that yourself, you learn a lot. And then from there, I’m hoping that people learn to consume better and inform themselves better what am I getting into my house? What if I have to deal with this for the next three months, because here, I mean, Australia has a great system of recycling and same, you just put the bean out every week, adios. You don’t see it again.

“Part of our responsibility is to manage our waste. And that's something that is truly missing. And until we don't realize that,... not many things are going to change.”

Imi Barneaud: You had to have it with you all the time.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Imi Barneaud: And also for the soils that are getting depleted because of pesticides and because of the exploitation, it’s really good to be able to give back to the soils with a nice rich compost.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Yeah. And it’s easy enough to do these beans, as I said, they’d been tried in homes, there’s nothing industrial, there’s nothing scientific about it, it’s a chemical process. But a chemical process, like cooking is a chemical process. So we do these things every day, we just need to put a little bit of time, and it takes five minutes. And so if you do it right, you have very rich soil that you can use for warm farms or for gardens and, and if not, you’re just paying back a bit of the nutrients that we’ve taken from the soil into the land back again.

Imi Barneaud: That’s extraordinary. So what do you in need of to actually get these two projects off the ground?

Heidi Talina Tapia: Well, number one, yes, I would love to get more into the business side of things. And the second one is I would like to contact people in Australia that are dealing with manufacturing, things made out of recycled plastic, because these beans in Mexico, they’re made out of recycled plastics. So we’re trying to use that, give it a better, better use because we know that recycled plastic is very resistant, it doesn’t really go anywhere. That’s what we’re trying to do, so if there’s anyone out there that knows any of those things, keep me up.

Imi Barneaud: I guess what we could do is do a recap of how to get hold of you so that people can reach out to you to give you a helping hand, so where can we contact you?

Heidi Talina Tapia: So my handle at Instagram is @talina, so T-A-L-I-N-A_Marina like from the ocean, M-A-R-I-N-A (@talina_marina). And the same for my email, Talina, well actually not the same, it’s my name so it’s talinatapiamar@gmail.com.

Imi Barneaud: Okay, well, that’s great. Well, we’ll put that in the show notes as well so people can contact you directly.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Gracias.

Imi Barneaud: No, that’s fantastic. And we’re about to finish this beautiful interview, slapping up the sun, and everything is just fantastic day. I was just wondering if you could tell us what you felt when you caught your first wave.

Heidi Talina Tapia: I think I was like, it was a bit of a shock. Because I was telling you before, I was like, it wasn’t a small wave. Yeah, it was probably like a four foot wave and it was a little bit scary for a beginner, I guess. I just remember, my eyes were bigger than my head, and I was screaming all the way down. But yeah, it was such a big emotion that just got me hooked.

Imi Barneaud: Well, that’s amazing, that’s wonderful. And the last thing is the four questions that I like to ask my guests at the end of the interview, and sentences to finish. So the first sentence is I LOVE,

Heidi Talina Tapia: I love the ocean.

Imi Barneaud: I WISH.

Heidi Talina Tapia: I wish. I wish we humans will be more willing to connect with ourselves and then therefore it will be easier to connect with our surroundings and environment.

“I wish we humans will be more willing to connect with ourselves and then, therefore, will be easier to connect with our surroundings and environment.”

Imi Barneaud: And I MISS.

Heidi Talina Tapia: I miss Mexican food so much.

Imi Barneaud: Is it really not as good here.

Heidi Talina Tapia: No, I miss my mom’s cooking.

Imi Barneaud: And then the last one is I WANT.

Heidi Talina Tapia: I want, I want a sailboat.

Imi Barneaud: Yes.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Shout out to anyone out there that doesn’t want a sailboat anymore, I’ll take it.

Imi Barneaud: Okay. Well, Heidi, this has been a wonderful conversation. Thank you very much for joining me for this special time together.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Thank you. Thanks Imi, it’s been lovely to surf again with you.

Imi Barneaud: So take care and all the best of luck with your project.

Heidi Talina Tapia: Thank you so much. Bye, adios.

Imi Barneaud: Adios.

She enjoys this exchange. She’s certainly an inspiration for many of us, and I just love her salty lifestyle. You can find pictures of Heidi on theoceanriderspodcast.com, and reference to all matters discussed in the podcast, and the episode transcript on the website too. You can also find the info and transcript of the episode in your podcast app under the show notes. To get hold of Heidi, skip over to her Instagram profile @talina_marina where you’ll be able to see what she’s up to. If you like The Oceanriders Podcast, you can support it in a number of ways. First and foremost, you can head over to join the Facebook group at The Oceanriders Community, like my Facebook page at The Oceanriders Podcast. Or follow me on Instagram @theoceanriderspodcast. Second, you can rate and review the podcast on your podcast app. In fact, this helps me improve my ranking and increase my audience. Finally, and if you’d like to take your support one step further, head over to theoceanridersshop.com where I have a series of tee shirts, sweatshirts, and homemade goodies that are going out, that are selling fast.

Right now I’m collaborating with a new design studio to produce the sweetest women’s tee-shirt possible, and all the garments are certified organic, vegan and fair trade, and they’re so soft you won’t want to take them off. Also, 1% of my sales go to 1% for the planet organizations. Anyway, the sound and editing of this podcast wouldn’t have been possible without my awesome podcaster Leng Inque, she does a wonderful job and deserves the credit.

Thank you Heidi for your time and letting me surf with you, and thank you all for tuning in every episode and spreading the words to your friends and family. I can’t express how grateful I am. Next step episode, I’ll be having a chat with a fellow podcaster. She hosts the Weird Waves Podcast, and he is in fact a great late surface. I stayed tuned for episode 46 that will be out in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, take care, have fun, and enjoy the waves. Ciao.


Consider buying some Oceanriders merch'! Profits from the merchandise will be used to pay for equipment, podcast editor and promotion of the podcast on social networks. Find some beautiful art and limited 100% organic apparel. 1% of my sales will be donated to WIRES Australia (Australian wildlife rescue)

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