Surf Her Way Photographer – Claudia Tivendale

Published on 01/03/2024

Welcome to our Surf Her Way Photographer for March – Claudia Tivendale. As we continue to highlight amazingly talented female photographers in the surf community, we are excited to showcase the Phillip Island native’s work. Claudia seems to be able to capture the moment when a surfer is experiencing “that feeling” that only comes from surfing. We caught up with Claudia to find out what she aspires to capture in her journey through women’s surfing behind the lens.

Hey Claudia can you give us a little description of yourself and how surfing is a part of your life?

Hello! I’m Claudia, a 27 year-old photographer living in Phillip island. You will usually find me in the ocean on a longboard or with a camera. 

Spending many school holidays and weekends in Anglesea growing up, I quickly fell in love with the ocean. As a kid, I would carry my pink foam surfboard and drag my Dad to Point Roadknight, so I could master my pop up or fine tune my turns. 

I was (and still am) obsessed!

When I started photography as a fun way to document adventures and time with friends, it became a no-brainer to combine this with surfing.

Where do you surf/photograph the most?
Phillip Island for sure! Living there it is really easy to quickly take my camera or longboard to the beach. It’s always a tough choice to decide whether to surf or photograph.

What does surfing mean to you?

Oh where to begin! It’s everything!

When it comes to surfing there is always more to learn, not just technique but about yourself. 

Sometimes you need to be brave, sometimes you need to be kind to yourself, sometimes you need to not take it too seriously. 

Surfing inspires a love of learning in a playful and fun setting. Learning and making incremental changes with curiosity and kindness is a great way to look at life in and out of the water. This mentality is also something I apply to my photography. 

Can you tell us about one of your favourite surfs?

I feel like everytime I get out of the water, I say it’s my favourite surf! 

I don’t think I can pick just one. I will say I think some of my favourite surfs have been surfing with friends and being able to chat between waves and cheer each other on.

What was the best surf photography session you had?

Probably one of the longboarding comps in Phillip Island. Great atmosphere, blue skies, perfect waves and talented surfers! It was the best!

What makes you feel most confident/comfortable when out surfing?

For both surfing and surf photography, it all comes down to mindset. I am most comfortable when I believe in myself and don’t take it too seriously. 

Just got smashed by a wave or tried to noseride and instead belly flopped onto the water? Take a few deep breaths, have a laugh and get back out there!

What inspires you to surf/photograph? What is something that you are striving for in your surf journey?

When it comes to surf photography I am inspired by the beauty and power of women’s longboarding. 

Longboarding requires a unique combination of athleticism and creative expression, with each longboarder having their own unique style. 

Watching women and other under-represented groups filled with stoke as they glide across a wave in what is a cis-male dominated sport is pretty magical to photograph. 

One of my photography goals this year is to create imagery that provides an authentic portrayal of women and their stories, both in and out of the water.

What excites you most about elevating the representation of women and girls in and out of the water?

Seeing more women out in the water, seeing women’s surfing getting the recognition it deserves and having this reflected in the media. Hopefully my photography is a small drop in the ocean (pun intended) when it comes to improving the representation of women in and out of the water.

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