Imogen Caldwell: Raised By Nature, Afraid of Nothing

Morgan Masseen traveled from the Outback to Iceland and back to film the deceptively rugged Imogen Caldwell

The filmmaker shares a bit about the making of his video featuring the fearless 23-year-old surfer

Imogen and Ziggy, her family’s kangaroo. Living as remotely as the Caldwells do, stray kangaroos that are abandoned by their parents often find their way onto their property whilst looking for food and water, before quickly becoming situated and relishing the human interaction.

Imogen Caldwell was born and raised where the Outback meets the sea in Red Bluff, Western Australia—one of the remotest regions I’ve ever traveled to, known for its abundance of perfect waves, outback dust and treacherous wildlife. She has a knack for charging massive barrels, making her unquestionably the most rugged woman I’ve ever pointed my camera at.

Imogen, at home at Red Bluff, doing what she does best.

Taking a break from the relentless heat of the Mentawaiis, where the water was almost as warm as the air but the barrels were endless.

I first met Imogen as we groggily-boarded Martin Daly’s infamous Indy’s Trader 1 in the unforgiving heat of a random Marshall Islands sand atoll. Most everyone in our crew navigated to a flat surface to find sleep after the grueling journey, but I watched with great fascination as this still-teenage woman explored the ancient vessel, brimming with both wide-eyed fascination and the confident knowledge of someone who had spent more time on the sea than land. We chugged slowly towards Martin’s paradisiac island Beren, where we spent the week shooting, of all things, fashion. Imogen proved herself to have the beauty akin to those who walk fashion shows for Karl Lagerfield, and the work ethic of someone with unfettered hunger for opportunity… but continuously, in random moments of free-diving or exploring the island’s gnarled clumps of jungle, I found myself watching this young woman show off traits of someone raised by nature, afraid of nothing.

Imogen Caldwell, at her childhood home in Red Bluff. Situated far north up the coast of Western Australia, this territory is where the Outback meets the sea, space is ample, and wildlife is everywhere.

That was in 2016, and we’ve now forged a relationship that has taken us across around the world. Starting in her mystical home of Red Bluff, Australia, and adventuring out to the fjords of Iceland, ferry rides in Indonesia, and forests of France, we’ve shared many moments with both friends and wildlife that will stay with me forever. To be able to capture her on film was both an immense challenge and honor, and my humble attempt at making a scratch on the tip of the iceberg of her remarkable story.

Imogen is always keen to explore, and there are no elements of nature that intimidate her. This was arguably the coldest day of our lives (something Noah Waggy can definitely attest to), but exploring the calving glaciers and drifting icebergs of Iceland was like no other.