08/08/17 by Maggie Magellan
This month we caught up with Caleb (otherwise known as Salty) Davenport, a good mate to Mizu and even better adventure photographer based out of Perth, Australia. Over the past ten years Salty has dabbled in a wide array of photography styles ranging from surf to fashion, but says his heart finally feels at ease with his latest pursuit: lifestyle and adventure photography. When describing his adventures, he once said he “knew the track I had to take, but I’m always more intrigued about the path I’m not supposed to take, and where that may lead me,” and that was enough to reel us in, knowing his pursuits were going to take him to territories not yet explored, surf breaks rarely ridden and trails with no other footprints in sight. And by that standard, we knew he was an adventurer after our own heart; the perfect soul to ride the Mizu Mission wave.
In search of beautiful hikes, vacant surf breaks, and incredible scenery, Salty and his girlfriend, Esa took to the South Island of New Zealand - it’s a mission that he had been cooking up for years and the puzzle pieces had finally all come together. So, he bought a plane ticket, got his hands on a 1966 VW Kombi and hit the open road. And by open road, he means it – sometimes they’d drive for miles up and down the winding roads of the West Coast without seeing another soul. “Those roads, along with the constant rain, made it a journey to get anywhere,” he says, but a wise man once said, ‘it’s about the journey, not the destination.” And a journey it was; that month-long mission lead him and Esa to the breathtaking sunsets of Gillespies Beach, on a boat ride through Milford Sound and aboard an awe-inspiring helicopter ride up to Franz Josef Glacier.
Salty recounts a one-of-a-kind surf trip via plane as one of the highlights of the trip. “For me, it’s always been about riding, skating or driving to the surf break; never have I hopped on a plane to suss out pumping spots and land in a paddock nearby.” Excited at the opportunity, Salty loaded the small plane with two boards and a backpack and he and his pilot, Blair took to the skies. After a short time in the sky, they located the perfect surf spot down below and did a quick fly over to ensure the chosen ‘runway’ was safe enough to bank a landing. After a brief circle and dip below the cloud cover, they banked a smooth landing, tied down the plane and hiked 2kms through thick forest to an empty reeling A-frame wave. “We had the wave to ourselves all day, but for me the surf came second to the idea of flying back to the car later that day, “says Salty.
But, just as important as that journey, is a commitment to protect those places we play - to protect our beaches, oceans, and mountainsides from single-use plastic pollution. At Mizu, our tagline, ‘Enjoy the Journey. Leave Nothing Behind” is embedded into every mission we support and seek out; every Mizu Mission goer makes a commitment to leave behind nothing but a few footprints in the dirt of an adventure traveled. We like to tell people that it doesn’t matter what you use, as long as you reuse. For Salty, that was a Mizu V8 from 3 years ago that he religiously carries with him on every adventure. “But on the road,” he says, “it can be hard to come by fresh water, and so I bought a 20L water container from a hardware store a few years back and I bring that along for every one of my trips. I fill up my Mizu each day and night and it hasn’t failed me once.”
Salty’s career and passion for adventure have taken him all over the world. From walking across an active volcano crater in Iceland as the ice nearly melted under his toes below, to sleeping on the beach in Nicaragua while an earthquake rocked him to sleep, to even an encounter with a great white as it launched up and out of the water just meters from him whilst surfing a secluded break near Margaret River. He even tells us of a situation in the Bronx involving a run in with a local gang and the cops (but that’s a story for another day). Yet through those travels both near and far, even in locations where the concept of reusing is both difficult and uncommon, his continued pledge to put his best sustainability foot forward has never wavered. “It’s heartbreaking to see how little people think about our environment. I try to pick up at least 5 pieces of trash every time I hit the beach or the bush.” He goes on to tell us that he’s forever pulling people up about leaving their rubbish behind. “If they can take those containers full of food or water up the hill, it’s even easier to take those empty containers right back down. There’s no excuse, we should all do our part to set a good example.”
And there you have it, that is why Salty Davenport is our honored Mizu Mission goer of the month. Do you blame us? Although we all can’t lead a wild, jet-setting, bush camping, van-on-the-open-road, glacier trekking kind of life, we all can do our part to protect the places where we play. It can be as small as picking up 5 pieces of trash next time you hit the beach, or purchasing reusable products for one less single-use plastic product in the cycle. Every little bit helps. And, if one day you do decide to live that Salty Davenport inspired life, he suggests you “go buy that plane ticket, because once you do there’s no going back. The rest always comes together and before you know it, you’re sitting on that plane about the have the best experiences of your life.”