Watch: Professional Surfer Malia Manuel’s Beautiful New Documentary

The athlete traveled around the world to showcase her favorite surfing spots.
Malia Manuel

Malia Manuel was photographed by James Macari in Turks and Caicos.

Professional surfer Malia Manuel knows a thing or two about finding the perfect wave. While she started surfing when she was just 3-years-old, the Hawai’i native eventually started competing at the age of 10. In 2008, Manuel became the youngest surfer to ever win the U.S. Open of Surfing at 14.

Manuel, now 29, recently partnered with award-winning filmmaker Morgan Maassen on a documentary that showcases her skills on the water—as well as gorgeous scenery and local culture. The two created the picturesque project over the course of several months while they traveled to some of Manuel’s favorite surfing destinations, including Indonesia, Tahiti, France, South Africa and others.

The one-time SI Swimsuit model unveiled the project, sponsored by Lululemon, in an Instagram post late last month.

“The last few years I’ve had a burning desire to create a film around my travels and experiences as an athlete and I finally had the opportunity and time to do so this past year,” Manuel wrote both in her caption and on her website about the documentary. “My vision for this film was to emphasize the beauty in simplicity... I hope you can feel the serenity from watching this and it be a reminder the most peaceful moments can come from the simplest things.”

Check out five of our favorite strappy neon swimsuits from Manuel’s 2020 SI Swimsuit photo shoot in Turks and Caicos here.

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Cara O’Bleness


Cara is a trending news writer/editor for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. A passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media, she loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. Prior to joining the team, Cara worked as a writer and editor across a number of content verticals, including food, lifestyle, health and wellness, and small business and entrepreneurship. In her free time, Cara loves reading, spending time with her family and making her way through Michigan’s many microbreweries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.