Forster mum Jada McNeill has found her happy place.
The one time surf school instructor/operator and enthusiastic traveller has fused her passion for fashion and surfing with her collective, creative talents into a successful and growing bespoke surfboard industry.
Primarily designed with the female surfer in mind, Jada’s unique surfboards are designed to be both functional and attractive.
It resonated with people and it inspired woman who wanted to try surfing.Jada McNeill
“It resonated with people and it inspired woman who wanted to try surfing,” Jada said of her unique surfboards.
“You can get out there and it makes you feel good.”
Working with a team of shapers and glassers, boards are individually crafted and decorated with beautiful silk batik sourced from Indonesia and exclusive artist designers.
During the more than 20 years Jada has been visiting the Indonesian archipelago she accumulated a colourful collection of fabrics, fabrics that were later used in her boards, and fashions.
However, she has since sourced a regular supplier of silk from Indonesia.
Surfboards were a natural addition to Jada’s successful homewares, jewellery and fashion on-line boutique, Nusa Indah.
Jada personalised a board for herself, and then her sister-in-law, with some batik fabrics for her vast collection, and she has been surfing with her dad and three siblings since she was a five-year-old.
The family spent many years surfing the breaks off Nusa Lembongan, a tiny island off Bali’s east coast, and back in those days an adventurous four hour boat trip shared with local farmers, along with their livestock and motorbikes.
Thirty-four-year-old Jada, her husband and children continue to escape to the small, remote island and stay with the family who has been an important influence for much of her life.
Since expanding her brand to surfboards, Jada has collaborated with the Sersale family, who own a luxury boutique hotel, Le Sirenuse in Positano on the magnificent Amalfi Coast in Italy
Jada provided the surfboards, while fashion entrepreneur Carla Sersale designed matching, stylish beach fashions.
An on-line relationship, Aerin Lauder, granddaughter of Estee, also has opened up markets in the United States.
“The American market is a very different demographic.”
Working with American interior designer Lulu DK, Jada sent 20 one-of-a-kind, handcrafted surfboards to luxury resort, The Cove Atlantis in the Bahamas which provide the Aussie finishing touch to each of the lavish cabanas.
Following her alliance with Lulu DK, Jada made contact with renowned fashion editor for Vogue America, Anna Wintour, working on a concept for the famous Met Gala, on what she called the Madonna Board.
“I could not believe I was made to feel so welcome.”
Jada’s introduction to business began when she was still a high school student, operating the Saltwater Surf School.
An interest in human behaviour led her to study psychology at Southern Cross University’s Coffs Harbour campus, graduating five years later with a degree in psychology.
At the same time Jada continued to run her Old Bar-based surf school.
But, her curiosity with human nature soon waned and she was lured back to overseas travel after meeting future husband Bill McNeil.
Today, the busy 34-year-old is mum to Ruby (9), Fin (8) and Hunter (5).
The seduction of the surf still beckons, but not often enough for this passionate and talented boardrider.
Describing her physical activities as therapy, Jada last month returned from competing in a half marathon event on the Gold Coast. She was thrill to achieve her goal – completing in under two hours.