Self proclaimed eco-athlete, Donica Shouse is a professional paddle boarder from Hawaii who identifies as someone ‘willing to push for what’s right but do it with peace and love’. Like more and more athletes nowadays, Shouse’s performance is fuelled solely by plants, however this lifestyle choice wasn’t just prompted by the diet’s health benefits. Donica rides exclusively with environmentally conscious companies in addition to running her own, in partnership with husband, Abraham.

“I don’t support Animal Agriculture” she says, realizing that the industry is a major factor in the planet’s water usage; “that alone cuts my water consumption footprint in half.”

Going further than most environmentalists, Shouse also chooses to wear bikinis made from recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles and use travel gear created from repurposed billboards. (How cool is that?)

“My paddle is made entirely of wood and bamboo” she said, before adding, “And I do my part to promote the ‘pocket of trash’ challenge where ever I go.” 

In a recent interview with SUP The Mag, Donica explains what she means when she she calls herself a ‘peaceful warrior’; “It’s as simple as being rooted in gratitude while promoting choices that benefit us as a whole. Ecology is the relationship of living organisms to one another and their physical surroundings. As an eco-athlete I want to draw attention to the importance of connecting to and protecting our environment. We are the land and the sea.”

Eating vegan since her teens, Donica first dipped her toe into the sustainable side of life back in college where she graduated with a B.S in Natural Resource Education and a minor in Environmental Science. Following education Shouse has taken steps to create an enviably green lifestyle by adopting a number of good habits into her daily routine including simple things such as bringing a reusable bag when shopping, composting regularly, sharing showers and supporting local organic farmers. Donica also advocates the ‘Stop Sucking‘ campaigns which aims to abolish the use of single use straws.

“Preparing my own food and eating mostly local produce cuts down on plastic packaging waste. Just being a plant strong eater minimizes my environmental footprint significantly. Animal agriculture is a major source of water consumption and pollution. Every bite and every dollar spent is a vote to support companies that share similar values.”

A genuine example of someone who lives in alignment with their core values, Shouse is not shy about advocating a vegan lifestyle. In an Instagram post featuring avocado-topped chilli, she captioned, “Out of tens of thousands of plants we could eat, mankind chooses to consume only about 30 of them. It’s crazy to contemplate how limited our diets are compared to all of the different foods we could be eating.”

So what does she eat? Well, if Donica’s IG feed is anything to go by, we’d hazard a guess that she follows a whole food plant based diet. Amid her beautiful under water shots you’ll find anything from kale chips, fruit smoothies, pitaya bowls and deceivingly meaty eggplant jerky. Donica, if you see this, we want your recipe!!


Image Credits: Abraham Shouse