The amazing colors and patterns of the fish she saw while diving in the Great Barrier Reef inspired Israeli fashion designer Chana Weinberg to start a unique enterprise, The Surf Set, with Israeli surfboard maker Gal Larar.
“I promise you, this is the next hottest thing in the surf world,” says Weinberg, who met Larar seven years ago during one of her many trips to Australia – only to discover that his surfboard workshop is located in Netanya, not far from her Tel Aviv home.
Anyone can buy a custom surf suit and a custom surfboard, but a limited-edition surf suit and matching board is a completely new concept.
“It’s a way of expressing yourself not only with your surfboard but also with what you’re wearing,” Weinberg tells ISRAEL21c. “Everyone on the water is wearing the same surf gear and this makes it really individual.”
Every Surf Set is tailor made. Clients can meet in person or online with Weinberg and Larar to get the measurements and the pattern just so. The suits are made of polyamide lycra.
“There are a lot of different people in world, and everybody wants to be special,” Larar tells ISRAEL21c.
“Even when I was a kid, it was important to me how I looked, not only to other people but to myself. Sometimes I’d go to a surf shop and couldn’t find a board or suit I was happy with. That stayed in my head until Chana sent me an email with her designs. I thought it would be so cool to coordinate the board with the suit through color or pattern.”
Weinberg, whose Chanabana line includes modest activewear, even designed a Surf Set suit for women who want to cover their bodies modestly while surfing. She was inspired by a family of five surfing sisters from a religious family she met at the beach.
Patterned after nature
Weinberg describes the fish she saw in the Great Barrier Reef as “a disco party of color” that she wanted to translate into an appropriate fashion. Surfwear seemed the perfect vehicle.
“I found an incredible resemblance between the parrotfish pattern and the renowned houndstooth pattern from the world of textiles,” she says. “They say that everything comes from nature, and I like to believe that houndstooth is just the graphic version of the parrotfish pattern. This is what I was hoping to capture in the Surf Set.”
“Patterns are now being used underwater to repel sharks and other dangerous fish, and that could be another direction we’ll take it into,” says Weinberg.
“We want to take it to a place where people have the opportunity to come up with their own individual print, whether parrotfish or galaxy or whatever inspires them.”
A voracious sewer since age 15, Weinberg learned fashion design, printing and illustration at Israel’s renowned Shenkar College of Engineering and Design from 2011 to 2015. During her studies she designed a hand-painted Reflective Nature Swimwear Collection based on early-childhood memories of feeding ducks and watching their reflections in the water in her native Pennsylvania.
Larar learned to make surfboards during his time in Australia and then crafted them for friends for five years until opening his workshop in the Netanya industrial area last year. He meets with each customer three or four times to make sure the board is tailored to the surfer’s tastes and body shape.
He is sure that people sometimes make themselves surf suits to match their surfboards, “but the way Chana and I are packaging it is something new,” Larar says.
For more information on The Surf Set, email email@example.com