In the Studio With...Lara Einzig

In the Studio With...Lara Einzig


Lara Einzig is the author of Women Making Waves, a celebration of the sisterhood of surfing. In her book, Lara profiles more than two dozen inspiring female surfers from around the globe—from activists to artists—who are finding healing, joy, and community on land and in the water. We caught up with Lara to chat about inspiration for her book, finding solace from grief through surfing, fashion and more!

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As a women's surf brand, surfing is in our DNA. We don't just make swimsuits: we aim to foster the growth and participation of women in surfing across the globe to create a more inclusive and diverse surf community.

This is the first installment in our new series "In the Studio With..." where we'll share stories and highlight women - from artists to activists to scientists to stylists - who we find inspiring and all share the common thread of a love for surfing and the ocean.  We feel privileged to continue amplify female voices in a still male-dominated industry.

Without further ado, we're excited to launch this series with Lara Einzig, author of Women Making Waves. 

Don't forget to check out her hand-picked assortment of her Seea favorite styles and enter our special giveaway! Giveaway details after the interview.

{Lara wears the Maxine One Piece in Basilone} 

Seea: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background

Lara: I'm Lara and I'm from Australia. Brisbane is my hometown and where I grew up. Brisbane is about an hour and a half from the coast - but my grandparents had a beach house in the Sunshine Coast area, which was fantastic. So my cousins and I and our families would spend our summers there. It was a big house. It could accommodate most of us - we'd sleep in the garage with mattresses.

All my male cousins surfed - I didn't. I boogie boarded and body surfed and at that time surfing just wasn't really what girls did. This was back in the 80's. I just didn't see it, so it wasn't part of my consciousness even though I was with surfers all the time. It didn't feel like something I could do even though I was a water woman from a young age - I did every other water sport. I was always at the beach, lived at the beach. 

Once I finished university I moved to Sydney for a few years, lived at Bondi Beach. Moved to London - lived there for about 12 years but every chance I got it was about finding the nearest beach.

Seea: What brought you to London?

Lara: It was about the adventure of doing something different - working and earning the pound and being able to travel through Europe. It's a bit of a right of passage for Australians because we're within the Commonwealth, so it's easy to get a visa. You can get a working holiday visa for two years, so my plan was really to stay for two years. I had a marketing degree so I was working in marketing at the time, so it was relatively easy to dip in and out, save up money, and travel, then come back and work.  It was an absolute adventure and the best thing I've ever done.

I met my husband over there and had my three boys in London. It was a great time, but I was always thinking about my next adventure to the sea. The sea has always been a massive draw for me.

I knew that living in London wasn't really the life I wanted my boys to have. I wanted them to have the outdoor life I experienced.

We planned to move back to Australia, but in the end we moved to LA. I found myself here and you know, we sort of pitched up in Ocean Park, which is an amazing, small, really beautiful part of Santa Monica. It's very walkable and there's a real community feel. It just felt like Australia. It didn't feel foreign at all. It felt normal.

So, I decided I needed to learn how to surf. Finally.

Not long after we arrived I found out that my younger sister in Australia died - she took her life. From the age of 13-30 she really struggled with mental health issues so 6 weeks after we arrived moving from London to LA we found out. We all went home back to Australia to be with the family. A few weeks later, we came back to this place where I didn't know anyone, I had three babies at home, and my husband was traveling and the grief was intense. That's when I decided I needed to be in the ocean. I tried stand up paddle boarding and thought it was so boring so I thought, okay, I've got to learn to surf! I can basically roll my bike from my house down to the beach so I thought, now's the time.  From the time I had my first lesson, I was immediately hooked and from the first surf the grief started to lift. It started to become more manageable, and I was able to move through that phase through surfing. It was very unexpected, but very very powerful.

So, having experienced that, I couldn't believe this new found community in the water. I dove head first into what surfing was about, surf culture, watched every film, bought the books, bought everything. I bought into that lifestyle in such a big way, and it was just very obvious to me that it was very misrepresented. Whatever break I was surfing in Los Angeles or beyond I just couldn't believe the amount of amazing women that I would meet in the lineup.

All very interesting, very strong, great backgrounds, amazing careers... And yet, I wasn't seeing that in any literature or any of the culture that I was diving into outside of the water. I thought that was just so weird. It just wasn't my experience, and it just came to me one day. I'm so sick of these books - looking at these books with men ripping big waves - it's so boring. I thought "maybe I could do this." My husband, who had designed and produced many coffee table books throughout his life, was like, "yeah you could do that." And so it was one of those ideas that just stuck in my bones, and I just had to do it. 

I wasn't a writer, I'd never done a book before, but I definitely had the know-how of how to pitch an idea, how to market an idea, and how to market myself... I was very quick to find some friends who had contacts in the publishing world, and they hooked me up, and I pitched it. Penguin Random House were the ones that said "yes" first so that's where it all started.  It was a huge accomplishment for myself in the sense of "I'm a nobody" and the biggest publisher in the world is giving me a book deal - they are crazy! What is going on! It was such an imposter syndrome moment. But it was also, like, "I know I can do it."  So that's how my journey led to this idea and the actual book. 

{Photo Credit: Cait Miers}

Seea: It seems like a full circle moment in a lot of ways because imagine if you had a book like this when you were younger going to the beach. It's amazing how just having representation, or having media that calls you in or shows you that you can be doing this. You know?

Lara: Well yeah, if you can't see, it you can't be it! I think even as I started this process which is think was 2019 - that's when I had the idea. You know, it was very important to me that the women represented in the book were fully diverse from all parts of the world: diverse in age, shape, political view points and so on. It really had to be the real female surfing. Not just one specific ideal which we had been fed. And it was really interesting - I was sourcing imagery online, or wherever I could find it, for my pitch document, and it was really hard to find beautiful imagery of women of color surfing. It was crazy - and that was not that long ago. It was only four years ago. Obviously that has changed dramatically now. I think I got lucky, I had the right idea at the right time.

Seea: It's amazing what can happen in just a few years, and I think it's exponential growth - like one thing builds on the next. You know, you were having a hard time finding imagery of women of color or of different shapes or styles of surfing but even in the last few years with the emergence of women-led media, like Emocean and With It Girl and so on I think it's all growing at an exponential rate and it's really beautiful. I mean, of course, as a women's surf brand we love seeing that. 

So how did you decide who to feature in your book?

I like how it's broken into the "culture shifters" and "the environmentalists" did that just kind of happen organically or did you go out choosing these women with those categories in mind?

Lare: The criteria for the women that I chose was that the women needed to really live a life of purpose and be driven by social impact. It was really important that they had something that they stood for from a positive impact perspective. I wanted to represent as many women from different countries as possible, so that was the first criteria. And then, in the sense of the way that I was able to chapter those women within those headlines, that came at the end. Once I had a list of women who all said yes, that's when I was able to naturally put everybody within those sub-heads. I wanted those sub-heads to just be as impactful and as strong as the women themselves. That part it was actually very easy because I think the curation of the women had such a strong, strategic kind of mindset from the beginning. Purpose. Passion. Social impact. It just fell into place.

Seea: Are there any stories or women that stand out to you, in particular? 

Lara: Zara Noruzi  - Byron Bay, Australia 

{Photo Credit: Cait Miers}

I first heard Zara’s story on Lauren Hill’s “The Water People,” podcast, and I was instantly engaged - a survivor warrior badass woman! Exiled from her family and home in Iran after writing articles on women’s rights and participating in protests, Zara fled to Australia and settled in Bryon Bay.  She met some local surfers who took her out (“what’s surfing?” she said), and the practice allowed her to heal from her physical and emotional pain as many more challenges crossed her path.  She has the most incredible energy and optimism, has written a book about racism and is an environmental and race activist.  She’s a frothing "surf rat,” and cuts stylish lines up and down the Northern NSW coast in and out of the water! I had so much fun surfing with her for the book.

Seea: Do you have plans for another book?

Lara: When I came up with the idea for this book, I was envisioning it as a docu-series or a documentary as well, so I was trying to get them going in tandem. But the priorities for the book sort of took over. I see all of this on a screen, and I would love to show this side of surfing in its purest form to the masses. It's sort of been a start-stop exercise. I'm trying to get it up and running - it's taking much longer than what I was hoping. It's not my wheelhouse. I've certainly never produced any type of film so it takes time. And then I have a couple ideas for a second book, which probably wouldn't be surfing dominated, but it would be nature based. It's just a case of timing of if and when that next book comes. 

There's a lot of heartache in this book - a lot of triumph. There were tears in the interviews. We were able to crack open some of the deep stories, and I think by sharing them we can only help to lift each other up and know that we're not alone. 

I think another interesting thing about this book is that it's all female based. When I got my book deal I said I wanted an all female team. From the production to photography to the contributors it's all female, so I was mindful of that from the beginning. Obviously, when you're creating a coffee table book you have to have amazing imagery. I was very certain that I wanted great stories, and I wanted to tell the stories as well as I could. For me, that was the most important part of it. It has to look beautiful but the depth of the stories is more important.

Seea: So when you're not authoring books what are you doing?

Lara: My day job is a wardrobe stylist so I create looks for catalogs, ecomm campaigns - any sort of content. I love it. It's a pure kind of creative expression. I get to work on my own projects for my own portfolio and curate great talent from LA. It's just been a really easy career for me - I've gone from working in big marketing to just solely concentrating on the creative side, and it's really really nice. I've been a big fashion fanatic since I can remember. My mum was always into fashion, and she would make all of her own clothes and make all my barbies clothes. She'd go out for dinner at night and come down in her latest look, so I was just enamored by my mother from a young age so I've always carried through that fashion thread.

Seea: How would you define your personal style and how does this inform your approach to work?

Lara: My personal style is modern, minimal, unfussy, comfortable with the odd trend and investment pieces thrown in. I don’t follow any fashion rules, they’re antiquated and irrelevant. I do love to dress up at night, mostly in black. I adore the comfort and ease of dresses. My 12 years living in London really cemented my love of fashion and defines how I approach my styling work - I’m not just interested in trends, it’s about a mood, an attitude, a character perhaps, and the surroundings.  I am forever inspired by European women on my travels, they posses such an intuitive fashion sensibility.
{Lara styles the Maxine One Piece for a night out}
{Lara styles the Palomar Crop Top in Magma for brunch} 
Seea: What's your dream surf-trip destination?
Lara: Somewhere a little bit wild, adventurous, foreign, a little bit luxe where I can charge perfect waves with friends and then go back to a luxury house and relax by the pool and have the best and freshest locally made food and cocktails, perhaps a body treatment or two. I’m thinking Costa Rica or somewhere in Indonesia might tick the boxes! 
Seea: And your ideal surf day?
Lara: Dawn raid somewhere hot with glistening, warm peaky 4-6 ft waves. Slow and steady long rides, maybe the odd bomb thrown in just to mix it up and challenge me. My first session would be 2 hours and then break for a fresh breakfast. Then another 2 hour session, fabulous lunch with a glass of rosé, a one hour nap and then a 1.5 hour afternoon session. With a group of girlfriends all feeling the stoke and having a laugh. The reality though, is a cold one hour surf in average conditions in between calls! Ha!
Thanks to Lara for taking the time to sit down and chat with us.  From March 8 - March 16, 2024 you can enter to win a signed copy of Women Making Waves plus a Seea prize package. Head over to Instagram to enter now.




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