By Chloe Borich for Tidal magazine www.tidalmagazine.org
“I just feel so blessed” - Hanalei Reponty // Underneath salt water, sand rests for miles, the unknown existing within it’s mass that stretches for what seems like forever. The water is a sacred place that people return to time again to be lifted or to be grounded. The ocean offers release, a place to regain balance through the barrel of a wave or along it’s stretch to the shore.
One woman who knows this all too well is twenty four year old water baby, pro-surfer and international model Hanalei Reponty. Born and raised on the heavenly island of Tahiti, Hanalei learnt to swim before she could walk. Her salt crusted upbringing ignited her mermaid like tendencies and unconditional love for the ocean. By immersing herself within the deep blue came the natural ability to ride above it too. Hanalei began surfing for Ripcurl at age fourteen which kickstarted her career that was to revolve around what she adored most, the ocean. Hanalei and the Reponty family would often take camping holidays at Noosa, making it a very nostalgic, special place for them all. After completing her studies in Sydney, Hanalei migrated to California to take on her international modelling career - and catch some waves too. Ultimately, influenced by travelling, modelling and surfing Hanalei decided to develop a creative outlet for herself, something entirely her own. And so Abysse was born, a locally produced swimwear label imbued with her respect and passion for the conservation and general wellbeing of the ocean that has kept her afloat her whole life. Something to share with individuals like herself that call the ocean their home. A night to celebrate the release of Abysse was in order and where better than on Australian shores in the paradise of Noosa at fashion forward Alterior Motif.
We arrived to sparkling lit trees that stretched the length of Hasting Street and to the sound of waves gently crashing on the shore. Laid-back music and laughter welcomed us into Alterior Motif where we were greeted with smiles and champagne. A spread of delicious cheeses and seasonal fresh fruits took over the centre counter, the store was glowing and the sense of blissful excitement permeated the air. Full and radiant, the party spilled out onto the street where guests milled about and spoke of their latest creative endeavours and afternoon set of waves. Fashion blogger Amanda Shadforth of Oracle Fox Blog, and fellow photographers and designers felt at home amongst the racks of Sass & Bide, Bassike, Bec & Bridge and Zulu & Zephyr. Alterior Motif is in it’s eleventh year of business and prides itself on high end, fashion forward labels that reflect the chic though laid back lifestyle and approach to dressing on the Sunshine Coast. Thus, making it the perfect Australian home for Abysse where Hanalei’s childhood memories run wild.
Hanalei herself graced the scene with her ever so easeful presence and calm, laid back nature. Upon chatting with her, Hanalei told us of how Abysse stemmed from her early experiences with uncomfortable and impractical wetsuits. “The wetsuits girls had to wear were not made with our needs in mind. I was always trying to cut off the knees of my wetsuits so they weren’t as irritating, but I wasn’t allowed!” Alternatively the comfy boyfriend cut triumphs the Abysse aesthetic and adapts to the body is dons. Abysse reflects aspects of comfort and functionality while remaining fashionable and flattering to the female body. “I want to be able to pull on my swimmers and for them to stay put, once they’re on they’re not going to move,” says Hanalei on the design. Not only are they functional, the swimwear is made of eco friendly Japanese Limestone Based Neoprene, which is a limestone based neoprene material. More durable and water resistant than petrol based neoprene, this material boasts heat retention, longevity and a massive environmentally friendly tick! The preservation and conservation of the the ocean is close to Hanalei’s heart and limiting the impact on the environment is fundamental to Abysse’s ethos. Partnering up with charity organisations such as Sirens for the Sea, Abysse is spreading environmental awareness nationwide. In addition to the collection, Alterior Motif had white, light weight shirts locally printed on with Hanalei’s own handwriting, quoting prose in relation to the meaning of the mermaid’s name, ‘crescent moon’. The perfect personal touch specially crafted for the night to serve beach goers during the day.
Abysse not only empowers female surfer’s in the water to surf with confidence, comfort and style, but gives back to the ocean. It’s the go-to swimwear label for all avid ocean explorers and island hoppers. Hanalei’s idea that perpetuated from Californian shores to ours, and now hangs on the racks at Alterior Motif.