But that’s not all. Claudia Cox is bodyboarder, model, stunt woman, designer, photographer, and the closest thing to a real live mermaid we’ve ever seen. She charms the Instagram world with crisp photos and videos of her underwater adventures where she can be found exploring new depths of oceanic beauty, encountering sea creatures, and taking stunning self portraits. Take a dive into the nautical fascination that is Claudia Cox through the dialogue below.
What do you think it is about the ocean that enchants and captivates you?
I was literally born on the beach. My parents had a hotel/restaurant steps from the sea that was also our home and where I was born. So, my love and fascination with the ocean came naturally. The beach was my playground, the ocean treasures were my toys, and the sea creatures were my pets. My first pet growing up was a baby penguin that we found on the beach and raised until he was old enough to join his friends. Since then, I have only lived by the sea. From Brazil to Hawaii, and every other place I go, I need to be by the sea.
Spending so much time in the water leads to some compelling encounters with aquatic animals. What is one of your most memorable experiences?
In Hawaii I’d have to say that almost every time my friends and I are diving, we get surprised by a giant pod of wild dolphins. I’ve had many encounters with them but every time is different and equally special.
The most memorable experience that I’ve had so far with marine mammals was on one of those diving days. My friend and I were waiting for the dolphins to return and swim by us, I was next to my longboard as I saw a shadow swimming towards me. I thought, “Oh no, is this a shark?” As the shadow got closer and came directly under my board I saw that it was a young monk seal! He was moving his little arms around like he was dancing and only moved away from me when my friend came closer to photograph him. The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world and is listed as endangered.
Another very cool experience I had was last summer, when I got to swim with stingrays and blacktip sharks on the island of Moorea, Tahiti. The stingrays were so friendly and large; just like spaceships flying underwater.
What has been one of the proudest moments in your diverse career of bodyboarding, modeling, design, and photography?
I know! I am still figuring out how to consolidate my numerous artistic interests into one job title! I go from one thing to another. I just recently became certified as an MUA so that I could be a one woman show on my photo shoots. I do the make up, hair, styling, and photography. Lots of my own photos are self-portraits, even underwater.
With that said my proudest moment was being able to finish my job as a stand-in on the tv show LOST which was filmed in Hawaii for 6 years! I was very proud of myself for sticking to a project from beginning to end.
What was it that drew you to Hawaii in particular? The landscape, the culture, the people?
As a child I was fascinated with the Elvis movies that were filmed here; the hula, the palm trees, and the crystal clear ocean. When I started bodyboarding and then competing in nationals it led me to Hawaii. I first came here to compete in the Women’s Bodyboard Competition at Pipeline. I came over every winter after that for a couple of months at a time until I decided to make Hawaii my home.
What are three places in Hawaii that you would say are a must-see for travelers?
We have so many beautiful islands, my favorite is called the Big Island. It has that feeling of old Hawaii, just magical.
Kauai is also very pretty. It’s called the Garden Island, with green valleys and luscious vegetation.
At Oahu island at winter time the waves get huge, like mountains made of water – especially at Waimea Bay, it’s fascinating to see.
What words or philosophy do you live by?
I have to quote Cinderella’s mother on this one:
“Have courage and be kind…. Where there is kindness there is goodness, and where there is goodness there is magic.”
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
The producers were very kind to me and let me do some stunts when I worked as a stand in on the television series LOST for the character of Kate. The stunt coordinator told me that Kate was going to be in a helicopter scene and asked if I would like to double for her, I said, “Sure!” On the day of the stunt, as we were getting ready to fly out, my stunt coordinator asked me if I wanted a harness or a seat belt? I asked what he thought and he answered, “Well, with my experience with aircrafts, if this one goes down, you don’t want to be attached.” The helicopter had no doors. In the scene, my character had to kiss the other stunt man as he jumped from the helicopter. All while I was supposed to be watching him with my head hanging out of the door and holding onto a fake baby in my arms! It was very exciting and intense, I thought to myself, “Well, so much for the girl that only came to Hawaii to surf, yet ended up doing Hollywood stunts!”
Be sure to check out Claudia’s thrilling Instagram account, you’ll feel like you’re one with the sea.