Life as a Pro Surfer is Even Better than You Thought

Hang ten.

By Jenn Rose Smith
Quincy Davis Pro Surfer

What if you never had to get dressed for work again? What if your lifestyle took you from beach-to-beach, kept you in phenomenal shape, and provided you a free ticket to travel the world? No, I’m not talking about winning about the lotto — I’m talking about the real life job of Quincy Rose Davis, 21 year old professional surfer/influencer from Montauk, NY.

Quincy first stood up on a board at the wee age of seven, and had already turned pro by 12. Now she’s all grown up, and makes her living traveling the world in search of the best waves (oh, and doing a few modeling gigs here and there, too.)

Dream job? Undeniably. We met up with Quincy on the beach to talk about boards, bikinis, and why being a pro surfer is one of the best gigs a girl can get…. if you can stay up. Hang ten.

image by ladyslider

How long have you been surfing?

Since I was 7 years old. Wow, that’s a long time. 14 years! 

What do you love about your job?

I love the ocean, how unpredictable and beautiful and powerful it is. That’s where it all started. I also love that through the ocean I am connected to people all around the world as friends and sources of inspiration.

Through surfing I’ve met a number of creative people and I have been fortunate to inspire and collaborate on product designs from bikinis and beach apparel to jewelry and footwear. Designing is something I really enjoy and want to pursue more.    

image by ladyslider

How competitive is surfing for girls? At what age do most people turn pro, and how do they do it?

I started doing contests when I was 11 on Long Island. I remember it being so much fun! I would be at the beach all day in my wetsuit doing every division I possibly could. I surfed against boys most of the time because most of the girls were much older than me.

After doing well in local events I would qualify for other contests outside of the NY region like California. Volcom sponsored me at 12 when they saw me at a contest in Puerto Rico. They took me on team trips and I guess that’s when it became my “job” but it definitely didn’t feel like it!  

image by ladyslider

How do you get paid as a professional surfer? Is it mostly through sponsorships or are you paid to compete in certain contests and events?

All of the above. it depends on the contract, But sponsors pay athletes to represent and post for their brand. Additionally there are media and contest incentives. 

image by ladyslider

Walk us through your typical day. Are you waking up with sun to catch the good waves, or meeting with sponsors? Traveling?

My day really depends where I am as I travel often and location determines the day.  If I’m home, I love waking up early, with my body as my clock.  I usually make some coffee, go to the beach check the waves, if there’s surf I’m in the water throughout the day. If not I will do some sort of work out; I like going to Tracy Anderson classes or boxing.  Staying active is important to me, being outside when its nice out.

Since I travel a lot, when home catching up with friends is a priority. Some days I have photo shoots and I love going into the city as well. When home I usually go in and stay at least once a week. NYC is so inspiring.

It’s always great to travel for surf or photo shoots. Some of my favorite destinations are the Caribbean, South America and Tahiti and Bali.

image by ladyslider

Do you do any special physical training outside of surfing? Or surfing pretty much your full-body workout?

Yes! I like to change it up so I use different muscles and honestly don’t get bored with just one type of workout. 

I go to Tracy Anderson attain definition classes, I do some boxing and hot yoga is always great. 

image by ladyslider

When it comes to being judged in a surfing competition, is it all about how long you can stay up? Or do you get points for style, too? 

Ha-ha, I wish you got points for style!  We get scored on our top two waves per heat, a heat is usually 20 minutes long. The surfer is scored on how well they ride the wave from a technical and precision factor but actually, yes, style does factor in.

image by clayton burns

I’m sure you’ve been to some incredible beaches around the world. Any favorite surf spots? 

Wow, yes so many come to mind, Tahiti is jaw dropping beautiful. I also love the beaches on Hawaii, the sand there is so nice and there are so many fun waves. My favorite beaches are right at home though, there’s just something about eastern Long Island that is beyond special. 

image by morgan massen

Okay, so we all wanna know — what do you do to protect your skin? Do you ever get sunburned? Any favorite SPF products?

Unfortunately, sunburn comes with the territory. I try my best not to and apply sunscreen religiously. I use La Roche for my face. They have a tinted one as well I like. I use Sun Bum for my body. I also really love Avene products.

image by clayton burns

What types of swimsuits do you like to wear for surfing? One pieces? Bikinis? Rash guards?

I live in bikinis but lately I’ve been wearing one pieces. I love them because, well besides that there very cute, everything stays in one place. I don’t have to worry about any mishaps out there 😉 ha-ha 

What type of board do you have?

I use Channel Island Surfboards. It was life changing when I tried my first one, haven’t used any other since. They are my board sponsor now, thanks CI for the best boards!! 

image by morgan massen

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

Long flights… ha-ha no I think I’m extremely blessed. Even those long days of traveling, I get to travel to do something I love. I can’t really complain. 

image by ladyslider

Describe the perfect wave:

A long right point break, a little big overhead, warm water and no one in the water besides a couple friends! 

image by ladyslider

If you weren’t a pro surfer, what would you do for a living?

My passion besides surfing is fashion and photo shoots are such a fun part of my job. So I’d have to say fashion as a stylist with dreams of becoming a designer…

image by clayton burns

To a girl interested in learning how to surf (just for fun) what advice would you give? 

Start on a long board foam top — it’s easier to get up on. And get an instructor. 🙂