Hanli Prinsloo

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Hanli Prinsloo

Hanli Prinsloo speaks with animation and passion about freedom, fear, risk and purposeful living. Stories of record breaking deep freedives to swimming alongside great sharks, communicating with a sperm whale or the grace of giant manta rays adds to the journey the audience is taken on. Her visual material from the underwater world combined with her vibrant storytelling captures the imagination and inspires audiences from all walks of life.’

Hanli is a multiple South African freediving record holder and Founder of I AM WATER Ocean Conservation. Growing up on a horse farm in rural South Africa her love of nature and the human need for wilderness were instilled at an early age. With a background in social-political documentary filmmaking, Hanli has travelled the world seeking and telling stories of transformation, hope and inspiration. Hanli excelled at competitive freediving and is a sought-after coach having worked with professional rugby players, cyclists, runners and big wave surfers.

At present her energy is channeled into ocean conservation through human experience, reconnecting people with nature through the innovative I AM WATER ocean workshops offered to underserved coastal communities globally. As co-founder of for profit company I AM WATER Ocean Travel, she also takes paying clients on extraordinary ocean adventures around the world, teaching yoga, freediving and big animal interactions as a fundraising tool for the work of the foundation. Her personal quest being freediving with marine megafauna has resulted in numerous exhibitions, films and articles about the human/animal connection. She is an acclaimed international speaker, Young Global Leader under the WEF and a Dangote Fellow.

Recent clients and events include:
2020 – Virtual:

  • Inspirational keynote over MS Teams, Coca Cola South Africa September 2020
  • Keynote and sustainability panel for Adidas on MS Teams
  • Keynote for Bank of America Europe and Africa, internal streaming platform

Selection pre 2020 on location:

  • Keynote for UBS Philanthropy in Chicago at Philanthropy Event – focus on purpose, meaning and social entrepreneurship
  • Panel and keynote for PlayingBigger San Francisco with Kelly Slater amongst others.
  • Keynote for Credit Suisse in Lisbon at Roundtable Client Event on the Blue Economy and Impact Investment – focus on human connection to ocean, ocean inspiration, challenges etc (*link below)
  • UBS client event Zurich, Women in Philanthropy
  • 15 minute informal Keynote // Ocean Plastics Solution Day in Cornwall with Surfers Against Sewage (July 2018), Finisterre and others. (** link below) – focus on ocean conservation through human experience and connection ‘we protect what we love’

Apart from her over thirteen years of competitive freediving and 11 national records, Hanli Prinsloo has a background in documentary filmmaking which has taken her into the front-lines of social political conflict all over Africa, from Burundi to Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe to name a few. Hanli is a strong believer in the greatness of the human spirit under the toughest of circumstances, having seen beauty and hope flourish where least expected.

Her experiences underwater inspired her to found the I AM WATER Foundation, where Ocean Conservation Through Human Experience is in the spotlight. Through her sport Hanli has trained an array of corporate clients to world-class athletes; working with mental toughness, mind over body control and mindfulness.

Weaving in universal truths learnt underwater and at the front lines of non-profit scaling about leadership and how to live a purpose driven life, Hanli brings fresh perspectives to these important topics. She is a Young Global Leader under the World Economic Forum as well as a Dangote Fellow.

Hanli Prinsloo speaks with animation & passion…… about freedom, fear, risk and PURPOSEFUL living.
Stories of swimming alongside tiger sharks, to what it takes to communicate with a sperm whale or the grace of giant manta rays adds to the journey the audience is taken on. Her visual material from the underwater realm combined with her vibrant storytelling captures the imagination and inspires audiences of all ages and walks of life.’

Topics Covered

Topics covered (or a selection) in a keynote speech, told through anecdotes with spellbinding visual elements:
– The human connection to the ocean / nature
– Competitive career, failure vs. success
– Overcoming limiting assumptions but respecting limitations
– Fear and our relationship with it
– Mental strength – we are not our thoughts
– Near death experience underwater
– Finding purpose and meaning (and what is that?)
– The importance of the ocean on human life on earth
– Our effect on the ocean (and no, it’s not just about plastic!)
– Finding hope in what seems like desperate times


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