(Supplied: Nusa Indah) “I plonked a girlfriend down on the sand dune near our house under an umbrella with one of my boards, I never expected it to set my brand in motion.” Ms McNeil’s surfboards are brightly coloured, depicting textiles she’s collected throughout a lifetime of adventures, paintings from local and international artists, and inspiration from her family. New South Wales surfboard designer Jada McNeil set out to empower women to battle the waves. Having surfed since the age of five before filming for a surfing coach and opening her own surfing school before heading to university, she said she had a lot of her childhood around the ocean to be thankful for. She is now creating ripples in American fashion. Photo:
Ms McNeil’s said an Indonesian legend that tells the story of a woman who collects green things inspired her first surfboard design. Plastered on the back of her branded t-shirts is “surf like a girl”, but Ms McNeil said this did not mean you have to be the best. “Now having grown up I continue to go there and stay with the same family who have also inspired me as a business woman. “I have been visiting a small remote island called Nusa Lembongan since I was five years old, at that time it was a four hour boat trip with local farmers and their chickens and motorbikes,” she said. External Link:
The photo that put Nusa Indah on the map
“Then suddenly thanks to social media it was a product women wanted.” Finding confidence in a male-dominated sportSince becoming a mother of three, Ms McNeil noticed a massive shift in her life. “In the beginning it was just a personal board for myself. Ms McNeil recently returned from the Bahamas and the opening of a new hotel extension where her boards decorate the poolside. “To inspire myself to get back out there socially after being at home for so long I needed a new dress,” she said. (Supplied: Nusa Indah)
A life directed by the ocean
Jada and her little people
Ms McNeil said she felt her life had gone full circle. “I was commissioned by a New York artist to design 22 boards, it’s been a really exciting development,” she said. “Then when I saw my shabby old yellow board in the corner, I needed inspiration there to boost my confidence so I searched for a board maker to create something beautiful.” Now she applies the same logic for other women seeking inspiration.”My designs are particularly feminine and they are designed to motivate women to get back into the water,” she said. “It was really special to see how the local people received the works and exciting to start looking at a global market.” Ms McNeil is now in conversations with American Vogue about designing fashion boards for a 2018 release. “It is a male-dominated sport and it takes a lot of passion and physical drive, and there is no reason you can’t feel beautiful while you ride a wave.”If you feel confident as a woman out there, you will be surprised by the support you receive from those around you.”
Surfing since she was five, Jada McNeil said holidaying in Nusa Lambongen inspired her initial works of art. It was a green batik and then my sister-in-law wanted one and it just spiralled from there,” she said. “Nusa Indah means ‘beautiful island’ in Indonesian and that is also the name of the homestay I stayed with as a child, now it’s my business.” The next fashion trend? Suddenly being confident in social situations and in the waves was a challenge. The psychologist-turned surfboard designer never expected an Instagram photo taken on the New South Wales mid-north coast to capture attention across the globe, let alone the likes of cosmetics giant Estee Lauder. “It was a total spur-of-the-moment thing,” she said.
(Supplied: Nusa Indah) ABC Mid North Coast
December 21, 2017 15:01:50
Jada McNeil never expected designing a board for herself would gain international attention.
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