Introducing Camilla Kemp - dryrobe® Ambassador

Blog - Introducing Camilla Kemp - dryrobe® Ambassador

Introducing Camilla Kemp - dryrobe® Ambassador

10 minute(s) de lecture

We’re stoked to announce that professional surfer and 2024 Olympic qualifier Camilla Kemp has joined dryrobe® as an ambassador!

Camilla has been a competitive surfer for almost as long as she has been surfing. Raised in Portugal with her German family, she was initially inspired to surf following her older brother’s interest in the sport. However, like a duck to water, it soon became apparent she had a natural affinity with surfing, and her love for riding waves transpired into her life’s sole purpose and motivation.

She first competed in the WSL Women’s Qualifying Series in 2012 and has been a friendly face in the WSL Women’s Challenger Series from 2021 to 2023. Bound for the Paris 2024 Olympics as the first female surfer from Germany to represent her nation at an Olympic Games, it’s a truly exciting year for Camilla.

Before heading back to Tahiti for more training at Teahupo’o ahead of the games, we caught up with Camilla to learn more about her journey as a professional surfer and where she’s at as Paris 2024 approaches.

We’re so proud to have supported your film ‘Camilla’ last year, which provides an incredible insight into your journey as a professional surfer. You talk about how you only wanted to pursue surfing growing up, and you describe it as an addiction. What is it about surfing over other sports that you love?
I think it's a very magic sensation that you get from surfing, and it’s very addictive. Everyone who tries it the first time feels it and wants to go again. And I think it’s because you can’t control anything (in the ocean), and every day is a new challenge, and with every wave, there’s a different way you can surf it. It’s a sport where you never find perfection, you just find your own rhythm, and that’s the special part of surfing.

I think it’s just a connection we have with nature that you don’t find with other sports, maybe a couple, but it’s just a special connection for me. Growing up close to the sea, it’s always been there, and it never goes away. I’m 28 years old now, and I still feel like a kid when I go surfing, and I think that’s the special part of it.

Camilla Kemp walking along rocks carrying her surfboard whilst wearing a green dryrobe changing robe

We love your message that surf culture needs more women in the water. Why is it important to you to be that push to support women’s surfing, especially in Germany?
I think, in general, it's growing, and you can see female surfing being pushed into bigger waves and more progressive manoeuvres, which is amazing. I think we deserve the platform that we’re getting now, and I think it’s cool to be part of this whole progression. I think now being the first-ever female German Olympic surfer, is going to be my way of showing that it’s possible and giving other girls the chance to dream big and think that even in Germany, that’s possible and we get the structure that we need to be one of the best.

I want to be someone who inspires younger girls to achieve big things and believe in themselves. I think it’s a privilege now that I get to talk about it and be that push. I get to inspire, even if it’s just one little girl to go out there and try her best, that makes me happy and makes everything worth it.

Camilla Kemp walking towards the sea in a green dryrobe carrying her surfboard under her arm

Has the opportunity of competing for Germany in the Olympics given you an extra drive?
Definitely, yes. Even now, the fact it’s held in one of the scariest waves, I think it's pushed my surfing to the next level, and I think I’m really reaching my limits and coming close to them

That’s the cool part, surfing is always evolving, and being a part of that and being a part of the generation of female surfers pushing the limits, I think that’s just cool. And for me, to represent Germany on such a big stage like the Olympic Games is just a privilege, and I hope I can do my best and represent everyone the best I can.

Camilla Kemp stood on a rock looking out to sea holding her surfboard whilst wearing a green dryrobe Advance changing robe

Massive congratulations on becoming the first-ever female German surfer to qualify for the Olympic Games! How did it feel when you knew you’d be surfing for Germany as an Olympian?
It’s been a lifelong dream. It’s just the second Olympics cycle for surfing, so just a handful, or two handfuls haha, of surfers have ever qualified for the Olympic Games. So being part of those few is amazing and being the first ever for Germany… that’s what we dream about as little kids and to achieve that is an honour. It still feels crazy to me, and it doesn't really feel real.

I’m getting more into the feeling it’s real now, as now comes the preparation, and I’m going to Tahiti again and all this new stuff on my calendar, it’s been amazing. It’s starting to feel real, but I’m still speechless, honestly.

It’s a dream that maybe a couple of years ago, I would never have even thought about. And now that I’m here, I can look back, and I know that everything I did was really for one purpose, and that’s awesome. That’s the moment we live for in surfing.

Camilla Kemp in the sea sat on her surfboard

In 2020, you felt that you were ‘exactly where I want to be’ after making the change to surf for Germany. Why was this such a defining moment in your career?
I think the transition from growing up in Portugal and then deciding to pursue my career for Germany but to continue surfing for a different country, it was kind of like I had to erase my history and start a new one which was crazy at the time. But I knew as soon as I made the decision, and I started my journey in Germany, it was the best decision I’d ever made.

I got the structure that I always wanted, which I didn’t have. I got an awesome team that I know without them, I couldn't have made it now to the Olympics - I joined a little family and I think that’s what made it all worth it.

We are such a bonded team in Germany. We have all these people from different cultures, with the German passport obviously, we don’t all live in Germany. But that made us grow together and get strong and really be a team on the ISA World Surfing Games and everything we do together. And I think that’s why I felt it, I felt like I was part of something more, I was part of something bigger. And obviously, now, with the Olympics, I’m part of something bigger than just my sport, I’m part of a big team and the best athletes in the world, and that’s what made me feel like I belonged there and I was really happy with my change.

A shot Camilla Kemp surfing in a wetsuit taken from a distance

A month ago, you were in Tahiti for training and surfing Teahupo’o - one of the most iconic but challenging waves in the world! Have you surfed there before, and what was it like to surf those waves?
It was my first time, and it was amazing and scary at the same time. It was a feeling that I’ve never felt before. It’s a fight in your mind - you really want to go out there and do your best, but at the same time, you’re kind of cautious. You want to see where the reef is, and you want to figure everything out.

In your mind, it’s saying go but also don’t go too hard! It’s a crazy feeling. It’s such a strong wave, it really humbles you. You really go back to the basics of surfing, which is amazing. You see all that beautiful paradise and nature surrounding you. It’s a really nice feeling and really scary feeling at the same time.

Everyone who goes there, even if you just stay in the channel and feel the ocean, it’s like you’re connected with the sea which is insane and amazing.

Close up shot of Camilla kemp surfing

What size were the waves when you were there?
I got some small days and also some big waves. I got a bit of everything, I saw all the colours of Tahiti. The wave itself is always a scary wave, it’s always a big wave. It’s never easy, it always has its challenges. It’s a wave you want to get to know as much as you can and spend as much time there to train and prepare.

How has training been going in general, and where have you been training outside of Tahiti?
Good. I’ve been training all over. I got to try the first-ever wave pool in Germany, which is amazing. We get to have a little training spot in Germany as well, which is really cool. It’s a big thing for German surfing and I was very lucky to try the first waves - that was a really cool feeling. So obviously, I got a lot of training done there.

Also, in Portugal, I’ve been training a lot with my little crew here. I’ve been to Tahiti once, and I’m going back in a couple of weeks. Training has been harder than ever, a lot going on right now, it’s a very big event, so I want to be as prepared as possible - no days off until the Olympics is done, haha!

Camilla Kemp smiling whilst lying on her her surfboard in the ocean

What are you most looking forward to about competing at the Olympics?
The moment I compete is going to be awesome. I will feel everything when I’m there in my jersey and waiting to jump in the water. I think that’s going to be the moment when it feels real — finally! And besides that, I’m just excited to experience something bigger than my sport. I’m excited to meet other athletes, talk to other athletes, and see what their journey has been like. I think that’s a cool bit about the Olympics is that you get to meet and see other sports and other athletes and that’s going to be really, really cool.

What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?
After the Olympics, my European season starts, so it’s going to be an exciting time. I’m excited to compete one more time in the qualifying series in Europe and hopefully qualify for the Challenger series again. I did qualify this year, but I said I’d not be doing the Challenger series this year because of the Olympics - I wanted to be 100% focused on that. So I’m very excited about the new European season, and I hope I get to do my best, show my surfing, and have a lot of fun, obviously. And get some good results in Europe!

Camilla Kemp stood next to rocks wearing a green dryrobe advance changing robe

Follow Camilla

Instagram: @camilla_kemp
Facebook: Camilla Kemp
YouTube: @camillakemp7352