Interview with Cayden Naughton


Cayden Naughton floats to melodies of the waves, and seemingly holds an intrinsic ability to be at one with her natural environment. Affected by the interconnectedness between human habits, environmental impact, and self-awareness this surfer, new mama, and ocean supporter shares that being in tune with one’s environment includes listening to its needs and advocating for its well being.

Prescribing to what F. M. Alexander wrote: “People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures”. Naughton takes us on a journey of how joy and self-preservation are inextricably linked to the health of the natural world.

What led you to surfing?

I was so small when I started surfing, it has always been a part of me. My dad is the best surfer I know. So it didn’t take long for me to find my way onto a surfboard and into the ocean

What is your relationship with the ocean and how does it inform your sense of self?

So hard to put into words. Surfing is my inroads to connecting to something deeper; the ocean. Warm sand, salty hair and sunbleached days where time evaporates and the sun determines your schedule are some of my favorite byproducts of long days surfing. Floating to the rhythm of water insync with the moon is a humbling experience reminding me of my humanness. My relationship with the ocean is one of reciprocity, she shapes me and I practice environmentally informed decisions hoping to keep her healthy.

“Being in her presence is enough for a good day!”

What does it feel like to be on top of a force of nature?

Exhilarating, unpredictable, intoxicating! It’s the feeling of your heart actually smiling.

What are some simple ways we can help safeguard our oceans?

Advocating for our oceans wellbeing and future is completely in our hands. Its survival is dependent on our daily actions and choices. Beginning to implement conscious practices and habits is a great place to begin. To name a few:

+ Pickup after yourself when you spend the day at the beach. This means leaving nothing behind and maybe even collecting others trash.

+ Say no to single-use plastics. This means bring your own shopping bags and drink from your own travel cup. Don’t use plastic bags, don’t buy plastic bottles!

+ Choose to support businesses that are conscious of their impact and have environmental standards.

+ Be aware of runoff. This means reducing your use of water and chemical pollutants that make their way into the water system.

+ Eat sustainably when it comes to seafood.

+ Choose detergents and nontoxic washes and lotions because even your face wash runs down the drain and into the ocean.

Can you share some of your favorite sun care and after suncare products?

Finding ocean and reef safe sunscreen is difficult. The challenge is finding one that is nontoxic and doesn’t leave white paste on your skin. I use Cocokind Daily spf for these reasons and because it’s gentle on the skin. I use Arbonne’s rescue and renew detox gelée. It’s so cooling and refreshing, similar to aloe, but so much better!

Let’s talk about swimsuits! What are some of your most loved?

Swimsuits may be my love language! My absolute favorite brand is You Swim. Their suits are the most comfortable pieces of clothing I own. They are also ethically and sustainably made, cute, and one size fits all. Which is always the struggle it seems. I have two of their suits, both fit me through my entire pregnancy and still fit now. They are the most comfortable pieces of clothing I own.

Is there a trip you’ve taken or a place that makes you feel deeply connected? Can you tell us about it?

I’ve done a bit of traveling and each place I find something new to appreciate. One place in particular that I hold near and dear to my heart is Baja. My connection there is so raw. I’ve been traveling there regularly, multiple times a year, for over a decade. There is so much untouched land, beautiful coastline, insane cactus fields, and waves just waiting to be surfed. I find myself thinking what could have been. What California could have been without all the people, noise and pollution. There is something intrinsically wild about nature uninterrupted that speaks to me.

Switching gears a bit, you just had a baby! What has been most rewarding about becoming a mama to baby Clay?

My goodness, his gummy smile brings me all the joy in the world. It’s so empowering that after a long nine months there’s a little human. He brings such a sense of balance and so much love. The experience has been unreal and I feel fortunate that I have a hand in raising a kind human for our future generation.

Where did the name Clay come from?

My great-grandpa's name was Clay and as a kid I spent a lot of time running around on his horse ranch. Such wild and free times! I can only hope for those lively feelings to contribute to my son’s sense of self. The name honors those memories I hold dear. The more I get to know baby Clay the more I’m finding the name so fitting.

What postpartum rituals became essential for your self-preservation?

Finding what was comfortable for my new body was the most important. Really basic things like finding a practical and comfortable bra has surprisingly been essential for adapting to my new normal. Another important part of healing was being sure I got a range of nutrients. Nourishing my body with food has been optimal for healing. One of the most important rituals has been taking a bit of time for just me, a few minutes does wonders for my mental health.

“One of the most important rituals has been taking a bit of time for just me ...”


How will you describe the ocean to your son?

I hope through his experiences, he will form his own descriptions and personal connection. I know he learns a lot by watching, so my husband and I plan to share the joy, love, and respect we hold for the ocean.

How have the recent protests and calls to action across our country made you feel?

As a kid I remember wanting to play an active role in advocating and creating positive change in regards to the system. The peaceful protests are long overdue and I hope they will trailblaze a path towards equality for all humans. As a new parent, educating myself on how to parent is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. The pattern of systematically oppressing individuals is not a way forward for our generation or the ones to follow.

How do you achieve your eupnea?

Before Clay, I’d find it easily floating in the ocean, its rhythm relaxing me and bringing a sense of calmness. Now, I find myself attempting to achieve eupnea while holding Clay. I feel that if I’m in a tranquil state he will feed off of that energy.