We’re honored to have the incredible Nusa Indah Surfboards in our Montauk #BluestoneLaneBeachCafe for the second year in a row. We thought we’d share a little bit more about these beautifully crafted boards by having a chat with the inspirational woman behind them, Jada McNeil.
Hi, Jada! Thanks for taking the time to chat! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up, where are you based?
Hello! My name is Jada McNeil, I grew up in a surfing family and community on the East Coast of Australia. I was exposed to the world of surfing quite young; I started riding the nose of my dad’s surf board around age 5. I have deep family connections to the island of Nusa Lembongan, a small island off Bali; spending months here each year made for a pretty idyllic childhood. During my adolescent years, my parents co-owned a surf charter boat that operated throughout Lombok and Sumbawa; Desert Point enchanted me with the risk of battle wounds but world class, makeable left-hand waves. My first high school job was filming for Australian surfing coach, Martin Dunn. In year 12 I opened Saltwater Surf School and operated the surf school throughout the next 5 years whilst studying Psychology at University. After much travel and 3 babies later I have found myself back in the beautiful region I grew up in, my husband is a local GP, and I design Surfboards, jewelry, and homewares. We have a beautiful outdoorsy lifestyle- we love to spend our days between the local beaches and lakes, and taking in the rugged coastal walks with our beloved family dog, Juno.
Wow, what an incredible life you live! How did the beautiful Nusa Indah surfboards come to be? What was your inspiration or when was that “ah ha” moment?
Nusa Indah, meaning “Beautiful Island” in Bahasa Indonesia, is actually a name borrowed from the humble little bungalows that I have been frequenting since childhood. From a young age, I was inspired by the rich color and culture of island life, the creativity, and resourcefulness of its many talented artisans, and the vibrant textiles decorating the island. During a time I was surfing less frequently (after the birth of my second baby), I remember looking in the corner of my home and seeing a beaten up old surfboard I had been riding for years. It occurred to me that if it were more desirable- like a new dress or pair of sneakers- it would be much more motivating to get back in the water. I went in search of a craftsman who could help me create the vision I had in my mind- to adorn a new board in one of my treasure textiles.
The surfboards have given me the opportunity to combine my two loves: surfing and design. They have enabled me to play with color and shape, collaborate with artists, network with people, market my product and stage photo shoots. They have also connected my husband and I over our mutual love of surfing.
What an inspiring story! How and where are the Nusa Indah surfboards made?
My boards are made locally; I work with a team of Australian craftsmen who hand shape each board to design specifications; they have been selected for their ability to support my brand vision, whilst having the skills to create a quality, high-performance surfboard. Some of my designs are sourced from my travels throughout Indonesia and others are collaborative partnerships with artists I admire.
They truly are pieces of art! I actually felt inspired to learn how to surf after seeing them for the first time! I also imagine you’d have a lot of customers having them as decorative pieces in their homes between surf sessions?
Why thank you! As a surfer, the priority for me was certainly to have a high-quality performance surf board; however, they are also designed to be a visually captivating piece of art for the home between surf sessions. Most of my clientele are women who surf semi-regularly or are eager to learn (though we happily create for men too!) so the boards are designed to look good, but more importantly, make the client feel motivated to get out there and have a go!
Where’s your favorite surf spot in the world so far?
I am partial to Shipwreck surf break on Nusa Lembongan. It’s the first reef break I rode, and I’ve had some of my best waves and scariest moments on this break. My heart skips a beat just thinking about it!
What drew you to do a Nusa Indah x Bluestone Lane collaboration?
I first came across Bluestone Lane on a design program aired in Australia. The passion and integrity of Nick and Alex in introducing the laid back aesthetic and quality Australian cafe culture to the world resonated with me. I emailed them immediately and proposed we work together – the timing was perfect as they were preparing to open their Bluestone Lane Montauk Beach House. The surfboards were a great fit for their concept store.
What was the inspiration behind the Nusa Indah x Bluestone Lane “Meet me in Montauk” collection?
The Meet Me in Montauk collection for Bluestone Lane referenced the merging of two foreign shores. The sourced and exclusive artist designs were inspired by the palette of the Atlantic Ocean surrounding Montauk, and pay homage to the sunsets of the homeland, Australia. My team created a range of shapes to ensure mobility in the water, as well as maximizing wave potential in the fun Summer surf in Montauk.
Favorite thing to eat or drink when at Bluestone Lane?
Can you believe there is no Bluestone Lane near to where we live?! I lust over their delicious looking breakfasts and coffees, and my favorite place to put my design dreams on paper is in a cafe- I think there is a market for them to open in my hometown! Ps. I’ll see you in New York in November.
We can’t wait to have you here in November! Biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting and growing Nusa Indah? What advice would you give to anyone out there looking to follow their career or business dreams?
Believe in yourself. I have found that within the creative industry, there are no rules and no guidelines. This means that you cannot fail – follow your dreams, be inspired by others, work hard, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to reach out to experienced people. Everybody starts somewhere, generally from the ground up, and rarely at a time when they have abundant time and resources to create a business. It is amazing to see who will assist you on your journey if you have the courage to share your vision. Also, say YES! to every opportunity that comes your way and work out logistics later. Be prepared to hustle and work hard to make things happen!