Lea Taylor is someone who doesn't sit still. She is a professional skater and surfer, a lifeguard, plays guitar and writes music, a youth ministry leader, and trains in Jiu Jitsu. She is living life to the fullest.
I think the first time I shot Lea was at a Soul Bowl contest in Huntington Beach around 10 years ago. I knew her name because I had shot photos of her brother Adam at a Danm Am contest a couple years before. She has style, tricks, and you can see by watching her, she has fun doing what she does. I just recently found out she was Christian when she posted a photo of the Sanctuary on Instagram. When she broke her ankle earlier this year, she found out that Lonny and I were Christian when Pamela Brodowski, Lonny and I prayed for her before she went to the hospital. I knew she would have a story to tell after she was healed, so here we are. I did a short email interview with Lea, which went like this:
How old are you now?
Sponsors (skate and surf)
hoopla skateboards, wise fool, Jiu Jitsu League, Carozza Surfboards, Body Glove, Vans Flow, Freestyle watches and Jesus of course!!!
So Lea, what’s your testimony? How did you come to the Lord?
I came to Jesus when I was 14 at a youth group called Keep the Lights On. I had just moved down the street from the church in a small town called Indialantic in Florida. It was right after my Mom kicked my Dad and I out. Turns out the church had a skateboard ramp,and of course I'm gonna go skate it. Ended up going to the youth group. They offered me somewhere to skate, and free pizza. A kid can't pass that up. Within six months, I accepted Jesus into my heart to consume completely. It was during worship they played the song called Beautiful Things by Gungor. I fell to the floor and felt the Holy Spirit for the very first time. To me, youth Ministry saved me, and being a part of skateboarding church ministry can be a way to speak truth. I am living proof that by simply just asking a student to come to church, have some pizza and hanging out can really affect this generation. We have to just listen to what the kids have to say about their lives, what they are dreaming about and what God is putting on their hearts.
So, you healed up from shoulder surgery, and then on your first night of youth ministry skate night, you snap your ankle. What were you feeling after that?
After breaking my ankle right after having shoulder surgery, I began to think what now? I began to feel defeated by the Lord. What good comes from this? One injury after another. I remember going to the ER that night and hearing the doctor tell me I needed another surgery. I couldn't t believe it. I needed my ankle to be put back together. I spiral fractured my fibula in 3 places and dislocated it. So they needed to put seven screws and two plates to put it back together again. Right when I just started skating and surfing again with confidence. I began to go into a deep depression stuck in my dark room for 1 month. I couldn't walk or drive anywhere. I was embarrassed by what people would think. People saying, “Why skateboard? You should quit.” To me, skateboarding is God’s way of using me. In the end, God gave me the talent, and simply by a skateboard being at a church is what brought me to the Lord. He uses me in different ways. I got to get to know more about other people and reading the bible while I was in bed. He gave me hope and I knew things were somehow gonna turnout okay. He starting placing certain people in my life.
Lea shows off her surgery scar
Coming back from this injury makes me appreciate the things I always took for granted. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what sponsors you have, or tricks that you learned, it's your relationship with Jesus and people you can fellowship with and surround yourself with love.
And now, you’re living with your dad and brother right by the HB skatepark. It must be so cool now that you have your family with you instead of across the U.S.
My family finally moved out here with me in Huntington Beach. After being in Florida this whole time. I have been figuring things out on my own. Having my family around makes me feel safe. We have each other to support and encourage each other.
What’s next for you?
What's next for me is to continue living my life for Christ. Always have fun on my surfboard or skateboard. Keep a strong work ethic at being a Huntington Beach Lifeguard, work towards my schooling EMT classes, and maybe enroll in the Fire department and follow in my Dad’s footsteps.
Do you have anything else you would like to share?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. The big sets will come and knock you down. Jesus will always be your duck dive to help you get to the outside, which is the reward and riding that wave is heaven and you get to be there for eternity.
Thank you to Lea for agreeing to the interview and her honesty. I'm excited to see what God has in store for her.