The father and daughter duo first appeared in a 2014 issue of AA Directions where they introduced their mission to create generational change by educating and inspiring families on the ocean and its inhabitants through Young Ocean Explorers.   

Steve: “In the days prior to lockdown, it was becoming pretty obvious that schools would close and I thought, ‘there’s going to be a whole lot of parents and kids at home scratching their heads.’ Live in the Lockdown was born from our idea of wanting to create a series of daily live videos with various marine gurus and share the message of the ocean and what lies beneath.

“We featured professional American surfer Bethany Hamilton, fisherman and television presenter Clarke Gayford and professional sailors Blair Tuke and Peter Burling among others and kids could ask them questions. Our ethos has always been to send daily inspiration into homes and it was as though the children were echoing that exact philosophy with their feedback about Live in the Lockdown.

“We gave away daily prizes thanks to generous local organisations and we were in full-on production mode; we almost needed a holiday after lockdown! It was a rich time for us as a family and we learnt many gold nuggets from those we spoke to.

“Live in the Lockdown has led to a new Young Ocean Explorers initiative called The 21 Day Challenge. Next year, we’ll collaborate with New Zealand schools on restoring the moana in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, the threatened species and serious issues facing the ocean. It will put tools in the belts of children and enable them to think about the actions they can take. I’m absolutely convinced we can change the course of a child’s life and impact them in a positive way.”

Riley: “I was privileged to spend lockdown in a house by the ocean and to have my family around me. We would go for walks along the beach every day and were busy with Live in the Lockdown; my 17-year-old brother was our live producer behind the laptop!

“Everyone we profiled had one thing in common: a love for the ocean. It was difficult to pick a favourite but a standout for me was Bethany Hamilton who survived a shark attack in 2003 in which her left arm was bitten off. Interviewing her was a dream come true; her positive vibe is contagious.

“I was public speaking through Young Ocean Explorers before lockdown and of course, big events were the first to go, so I had to slow right down and learn to enjoy the little things like exercise along the beach and playing board games as a family.

“I’ve since started work as a teacher aide at a local school in Snells Beach. I’m still so passionate about Young Ocean Explorers and receiving the kid’s feedback has given me so much new inspiration. I love how curious kids are and how they are so willing to learn.”

Reported by Monica Tischler for our AA Directions Spring 2020 issue

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