Pro Surfer Malia Manuel Took Inspiration From Her Natural Surroundings During SI Swimsuit Feature

The athlete was at home on the waves of Turks and Caicos.
Malia Manuel was photographed by James Macari in Turks and Caicos
Malia Manuel was photographed by James Macari in Turks and Caicos / James Macari/Sports Illustrated

For Malia Manuel, spending the day by the beach isn’t anything out of the ordinary. As a professional surfer, she spends much of her time in a swimsuit on the waves.

So, when she accepted the offer to pose for the 2020 SI Swimsuit Issue, the experience wasn’t far out of her comfort zone. In fact, it was quite the opposite. While on set, Manuel spoke of her personal motivations, and we couldn’t help but notice that it was likewise the perfect reasoning for taking to the SI Swimsuit set.

For her, motivation comes from the “environment. Work for me, for the most part, is in nature, in the ocean; I’m constantly motivated and inspired with all that surrounds me in the water, whether that’s other athletes, friends, kids learning to surf for the first time, or just the stillness between waves,” she explained on set. “Every day is so different in the water, I’m constantly inspired to flow and learn to be present with my surroundings while I surf.”

Posing in a series of neon bikinis and one-pieces for her brand feature in Turks and Caicos, that motivation was evident. Manuel looked at home as she stood before the blue ocean and even took her surfboard for a spin on the waves. If nothing else, the photos depict an athlete aligned with nature—and they are absolutely stunning, too.

Below are just a few of the best photos from Manuel’s time on the SI Swimsuit set.

Malia Manuel was photographed by James Macari in Turks & Caicos. Swimsuit by Hunza G.
Malia Manuel was photographed by James Macari in Turks & Caicos. Swimsuit by Hunza G. / James Macari/Sports Illustrated
Malia Manuel was photographed by James Macari in Turks & Caicos. Swimsuit by Andi Bagus.
Malia Manuel was photographed by James Macari in Turks & Caicos. Swimsuit by Andi Bagus. / James Macari/Sports Illustrated
Malia Manuel was photographed by James Macari in Turks & Caicos. Swimsuit by Andi Bagus.
Malia Manuel was photographed by James Macari in Turks & Caicos. Swimsuit by Andi Bagus. / James Macari/Sports Illustrated
Malia Manuel was photographed by James Macari in Turks & Caicos. Swimsuit by TeenyB Bikini Couture.
Malia Manuel was photographed by James Macari in Turks & Caicos. Swimsuit by TeenyB Bikini Couture. / James Macari/Sports Illustrated

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Martha Zaytoun

MARTHA ZAYTOUN

Martha Zaytoun is a Lifestyle & Trending News writer for SI Swimsuit. Before joining the team, Martha worked on the editorial board of the University of Notre Dame’s student magazine and on the editorial team at Chapel Hill, Durham and Chatham Magazines in North Carolina. When not working, Martha loves to watercolor and oil paint, run or water ski. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a huge Fighting Irish fan.