Imogen Caldwell tells us what it’s actually like being a female pro surfer in 2018

The pro surfer/model talks relationships, beating the boys and swimsuit malfunctions.

By: BTYB O’Neill

Not since Blue Crush have we been so into wetsuits and it's all thanks to Imogen Caldwell. The 20 year old pro surfer/model — who has a cool 100k Insta following (no biggie) — has been busy making it big time in the international surfing circuit.

Travelling the world in search for barrels (surfer talk, guys), Imogen is setting new standards for female surfers and pushing the boundaries one wave at a time. As an O'Neill ambassador, she's a part of the brand's "Like A Girl" initiative which supports The One Girl Foundation through limited-edition slogan tees. Add in a modelling career and photography project, and you can see how keeping up with regular life can be challenging.

We caught up with Imogen to find out how she manages to maintain relationships, stay fit and be the bad-ass babe she is.

When did you first get into surfing?

I started surfing when I was about 13 or 14, so I wasn't that young! I basically lived on the beach with my family who all surfed, so it was a given that I would end up on a board.

When did you know surfing was something you’d like to do professionally?

I started to take surfing seriously when I gained my first sponsor. Before then it was just something I did for fun; it made me happy.

What's the best moment in your career so far?

The other day I surfed a wave no female has ever ridden — a wave only a handful of men have surfed. Before I took off I was shaking with nerves but I did it and survived. The moments that come after accomplishing something like that is unbeatable. I live for that.

How do you manage to stay fit?

I'm restless, bore easily and thrive on being outdoors. I never work out intentionally; I just keep busy doing the things I love. I'm always cooking and love to eat healthy fresh foods. Being a frequent flyer, if I don't take care of my body my immune system deteriorates and I end up sick.

How did your modelling career begin?

Modelling was something that happened naturally for me. I was already travelling a lot for surfing and met photographers who shot me for surf companies. One thing led to another and I was being booked for fashion campaigns and editorials. I love it — it's something different.

You're always travelling — what are your favourite places?

Oh god that's hard! I just went to Europe for the first time so that's definitely high on my list of places to go back to. Then there's Whistler in Canada and home (Red Bluff, Quobba Station).

What are the biggest pressures placed on you as a female pro surfer?

I think the biggest pressure for me is achieving the same goals as the men I surf with. I doubt myself and my ability to take on the same standards of big waves that the boys do, but I have the greatest support team and always end up surprising myself.

How do you manage to maintain relationships while always travelling?

It's god-damn hard sometimes, I'm not going to lie! My fiancé and I are usually inseparable so when I travel it's a rude shock at first. On the bright side, it keeps things fresh and exciting — after five years I still get nervous when I am on the last flight home to him.

What are your beauty go-tos?

I use natural zinc products to protect my face from sunburn. I use numerous natural products as well as coconut oil to hydrate my skin after sun and during travel. I don't colour, blow dry or straighten my hair and only wear makeup at shoots.

How would you describe your style?

Comfort, comfort, comfort. I live in multiple styles of overalls at the moment but if I have an event to go to, I like to go big and really dress up.

What are your favourite O’Neill swimsuits and why?

O'neill make suits that are functional yet stylish, making it easy to surf without the worry of ending up nude! They have so much coming out I can't wait! I lived in their knits during winter.

What life mantra do you live by?

I don't live by a specific mantra, I just try to get out there and live until my feet are sore. My skin is sunburnt and my muscles ache... that's when I know my day was worthwhile.

Imogen wears Sierra Tee, $39.99 at O'Neill

Brought to you by O'Neill