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The direction of the interview: Meet Hanalei Reponty-Gudauskas— surfer, mama, business owner, sister, daughter, designer, and so much more. Dive deep into her intrinsic connection with the ocean and what inspired her to create a brand that inspires women across the globe and how that led her to a symbiotic partnership with Roark. 


We recently sat down with Hanalei in her quaint, sixties-style home (which is a dream by the way) in San Clemente to talk all things about her limited-edition collaboration of swim and wetsuits with Roark Women’s. Sipping mint tea in her living room, we chatted about family life, business, design, color palette preferences, and even how she takes her morning coffee. 

​Everything in Hanalei's home felt warm, timeless, and vintage-inspired. It's no wonder that she managed to breathe life alongside Roark Women's into truly timeless, elevated, and adventure-ready swim to take the adventure beneath the surface for the first time for all Roark Women. 

 

Faye | High-Cut Bikini - Abysse x Roark - Leopard | Sustainable Swimwear

MEET HANALEI — Co-Founder of ABYSSE


Nestled within the idyllic walls of her vintage, sixties-inspired home in San Clemente, we recently sat down with Hanalei Reponty Gudauskas to discuss her exclusive new collaboration with Roark Women’s. From the moment we stepped foot in her thoughtfully curated space, it was evident that every corner whispered of creativity and warmth. Settling into her inviting living room, bathed in natural light, we sipped warm mint tea and chatted all things business, design, family, color palette, and even how she takes her morning coffee. Together, we unraveled the inspiration behind her creative vision, the nuances of her unparalleled aesthetic, and the complete symbiosis of the collaboration between two brands striving for functionality and authenticity. 

"Just being surrounded by it, seeing it, being immersed in it. I think that that was really my first love."

In the vast expanse of Tahiti, where the turquoise waters merge seamlessly with the sky and wifi signals are few and far between, lies the origin of Abysse—a brand born from the depths of a love for the ocean and dedication to sustainability. Embodying the ethos of its co-founder, Hanalei Reponty, Abysse is not just a small, family-owned brand; it is a testament to a lifelong communion with the elements, a union of creativity and conscience that finds its roots in the pristine nature of Tahitian shores—bringing women together all over the world.



Tell us about how and why you started Abysse (the inspiration). 


Because I grew up in a place like Tahiti, I feel like I really fell in love with nature and the ocean—that was really something that impacted me every day. Just being surrounded by it, seeing it, being immersed in it. I think that that was really my first love and at a really young age, that blossomed into this intense inspiration and I really got into sustainability. I was obsessed with learning about recycling. And I think I was a very sensitive child in the way that I couldn't understand why the world would pollute and create all these things that were so damaging to our planet. So as a teenager when I started surfing and being sponsored by RipCurl and traveling the world, getting really lucky to have opportunities that not a lot of people had. I think it almost made me realize that I could merge the two. So I went on to Sydney University and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Marketing. And you know, you have to understand at the same time, my mom was instrumental in the process. She’s always been my number-one cheerleader. She always said to me, “Hey, if you have a dream—you’ve just got to go for it. You make your own destiny.” And so, together, we created a brand that merged all those aspects of our lives that we treasured—which was to create a sustainable brand for women who love the ocean. Our first year was 2015 and at the time, sustainability was not at the forefront of a lot of brands ethos and vision, especially in the surf industry. I also felt that quality product with design tailored to a woman’s body was something that was very much so missing, in my opinion. And so it was such a fun journey because it started as a concept and something that I wanted to do for myself and people like me and it's grown, grown into such a beautiful journey and sharing that with so many ocean women over the world and seeing so many cool badass women doing what they love in our products has been like really, really cool, so inspiring.



So, tell us about team Abysse. 


It's awesome because my whole family works for Abysse now. So originally team Abysse was just myself and mom, who we call Mama Bear. She was my business partner from the start. She said, OK, let's do this. She's always been an incredible business owner and had her hands in multiple businesses. So she was a really good balance to my creative side because I was way more into design and marketing and she had that business mind which made it all come together naturally. And then now after several years, my brother Romi now works with us too. My dad is a full-time doctor, but I would say he also is a full-time Abysse man because he’s on the team now so he’s definitely in the trenches with us. He’ll run all of the Google Advertisements and he’ll call me with a new idea and ask “So, what do you think about this?” And it’s just so funny, he’s a surfer so he loves it and he’s just a very proud dad. He’s up for any challenge because he loves learning. So yeah, it's a family affair. My husband, Pat, I call him the man of Abysse because every time I need something, he’s my guy. So the whole team, the whole family is there. The little babies just wear the wetsuits, they’re my models. And to me, that's perfect. And I have an incredible team here in San Clemente at our storefront, Motu. I have Sara who works as my warehouse manager and a bunch of really cool people that we work with along the way. But yeah, we are a close-knit family business. We get to create something that we all very much believe in and that brings us closer together as a family at the same time and that’s really special. 


"Quality design tailored to a woman's body was very much so something that was missing in the Surf Industry."

 

Poppler | Crop Rashguard - Abysse x Roark Leopard | Sustainable Swimwear

Have you ever done a collab before? What made you choose to do one with Roark?


So we've done collabs in the past, but we haven't done a big collab such as Roark in a very long time. What’s more unique to this specific collaboration is that we've never done a collab on Abysse products. So how it worked was we brought our design to Roark versus all the other collabs who brought their designs to us. And I think for us, we're very selective on who we work with and both brands really need to be aligned on almost every single thing for it to work.  So it was really exciting to have Roark come to the table for the challenge. It felt so symbiotic from the beginning. We've had a lot of creatives that work with us that also work with Roark which we felt was a good sign too. In the beginning, it was exciting knowing that especially because we felt even more secure knowing everyone is creatively very aligned in that. And at the end of the day, Roark’s whole ethos of being an outdoors brand made for the outdoors, made for quality and function, I think that really resonated with what we do at Abysse. Filling the gap in their market with swim and wetsuits was really exciting because that's what I feel we’re trying to do at Abysse is revolutionize the way women’s, wetsuits and swimwear is designed and crafted to shape and enhance a woman’s body. And I think bringing that vibe to Roark was really beneficial for them and also for us to just be associated with everything they've done as a brand and how they’ve impacted the outdoors industry. I felt it couldn’t have been a more symbiotic relationship.



What’s your relationship with surfing, past, present, and future?


So growing up in Tahiti, surfing has always been a part of my life. I mean, my dad put me on a boogie board before I could walk and just would push me on the waves. So I feel like the ocean has always been really present in mine and my family’s lives, and with Patrick's journey and now with our own kids. My whole life it has brought a constant of nature and freedom. I feel like every time I jump in the ocean, no matter what, it revitalizes me. It realigns me if I have a bad day, I feel like the ocean will always just make it better—anything. It always puts you back in your place if you need to. I think it's just a very healing feeling and learning to surf and now teaching my kids to surf is, I mean, it's a full circle of life for Patrick and I feeling more joy watching our kids surf than we actually get surfing ourselves anymore. They just want to be in the water whether it’s surfing or boogie boarding or Canyon just loves getting washed in the shore break. But that's okay, the ocean is here and to see them enjoy it is really, really amazing.





You grew up in Tahiti. Can you tell us about what that island means to you?


Growing up in Tahiti really impacted a lot of who I am today. I had a beautiful childhood that I now look back on and hope to give to my kids. We grew up on an island surrounded by a crystal lagoon with mountains—nature is so present in the islands and we spent every day in the ocean. I remember that’s what we did as a family every single Sunday. We would wake up at 5 AM—me, my brother, my mom and my dad and we would go surf all together. That was our little tradition as a family. Every Sunday. 


Where are we sitting now? 


Ok. So we're sitting in our little sunroom, which is actually my favorite room in this house. This is our family home in San Clemente, California overlooking the ocean. We bought this house when Patrick and I got engaged and every year I feel like we've made it a little bit more our own and it's a vintage little sixties house where we feel at home—seriously it was built in 1961. And, I think a home is a reflection of who you are and where you are at in your life. And right now it just feels like very much a reflection of us and a growing family having the kids sometimes it gets, you know, trampolines and skateboards and everything here. But we're very lucky to be in such a beautiful spot that we've made our own. I think my favorite thing is the nature and outdoors surrounding the house because it's, I mean, we live our lives outdoors so having just so much light and being open and just being in the canyon, this is our little tree house. 


"I feel like all women are intrinsically a community because we tend to gravitate towards one another and towards supporting things that other women support."


Lotte | Long Sleeve Spring Suit - Black 2mm | Women SpringsuitLotte | Long Sleeve Spring Suit Abysse x Roark - Leopard- 2mm | Women Springsuit

Walk us through a morning with you and Pat.


So, the reality of my morning routine is as soon as the sun comes up, my babes come up. Usually, we have one or the other. It's been really hard for them to sleep in at the same time, you know. So we have either Canyon or Hawk waking us up, probably around 5:30 or 6AM. It's early. I know. But they usually climb up in bed with us. We snuggle, we read books, and we'll usually come out in the kitchen soon after. Pat's usually the chef for breakfast. So he'll make pancakes or whatever the boys want. We have dance parties. It's a high energy for us in the morning—a lot of excitement. And then, we usually try to get out of the house by nine. So we can do like a little morning activity and just get all their high energy out and we'll probably usually head to the beach if we can.


What three words would you use to describe Abysse? 


Oh that’s hard. Can I do four words? I mean, I'm gonna go very simple but it's kind of our DNA and our pillars—our ethos. It would probably be ocean, women, empowered, and sustainable. It was hard to do three. I truly feel like we've created such a cool community of women which is why I chose the word women instead of community. Because women, in and of themselves, bring such a strong bond of that community. I feel like all women are intrinsically a community because we tend to gravitate towards one another and towards supporting things that other women support. So we have inherently like this insanely strong community. If you're a woman, you're a part of the community.



How do you take your coffee?


So, I'm more of a tea girl. My mom's Italian, she drinks six black coffees a day. Yeah, she’s on a different level of caffeine, but I don't need it. I'll go chai latte, Macha, Earl Gray London Fog. You name it. I'm a morning person who loves waking up with the sun and with the boys. So, not too long ago I just decided I'm gonna have a tea in the morning instead of coffee, and then, when I really feel that little slump after I have lunch, I'm just like, this is where I get to have my coffee rush. And being French, I don't know, people are gonna hate me for this but I take my coffee with the milk and sugar.

 


What inspires you most about Roark Women’s? 


I think what has inspired me most about Roark and Roark Women's is that they don’t have a boxed-in view of the outdoor world, they have a fresher and more modern perspective on what it can encompass. You know what I mean? I feel like they don’t put themselves in a single category, but just in the entirety of the outdoors world. When I reflect on my life or everyone that I know, everyone is so versatile and lives so many lifestyles that I love how Roark is approaching not just the surf world, but everything else too. I think it's something that they have done really well. And bringing Abysse to Roark has been so symbiotic because we both believe in quality and function and seeing their athletes and their women perform at the best is their pinnacle, they want to have an authentic story—and so do we. I think when you follow along these lines, it’s such a beautiful meeting of two different minds and brands and DNA. 




Describe your color palette. 


Ok. Well, if you know me, I think my color palette would be best described as earthy, but not necessarily only neutral—I love a little color. But even in color it’s something that's very toned down in the way that I love. Natural wood, natural colors like earth textures, clay—I feel like that resonates so much with my living environment and obviously through design, I've always been inspired by the duality of just very neutral tones and shades with a little pop of color.


And I think through our journey out of this, everything has been very tonal and wearable, but also a little bit unexpected. So I feel like it's a mix of that vintage island coloring with a neutral palette. Yeah, that’s a hard one to describe but—there it is!









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