Acclaimed fashion designer Cynthia Rowley holds strong ties to the Hamptons and a deep passion for surfing the waves that rise and fall off the shores of Montauk. Her connection to the ocean and love for the very end of Long Island’s South Fork inspired her beautiful new swim and surf gear line. The collection of wetsuits and surfboards are perfect for enjoying a day of fun-in-the-sun or exploring the beach. Each surfboard is made to order and handcrafted by Jeff “Doc” Lausch at Surf Prescriptions in Huntington Beach, California, and features signature Cynthia Rowley floral prints. Hamptons Social interviewed Cynthia Rowley about the moment she was inspired to start surfing in Montauk, what life lesson she would pass on to her daughters, and her insider guide to the Hamptons.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: What inspired you to create your surf and swim line that launched this summer?
CYNTHIA ROWLEY: I live in the water! Love the beach and every sport, so it was natural to want some cool surf and swim-to-wear. No one was making beautiful, fully functional wetsuits, so we had to figure out a way to translate our collection’s aesthetic onto sustainable neoprene, water-based glue and recycled materials.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: Could you tell us more about your connection to Montauk and take us back to the first day you went surfing?
ROWLEY: I bought my first house — a little shack in Montauk in 1999. It’s the most magical place on earth. When I bought the little shack, a surfer friend said, “You can’t have this place on the best break, and not surf.” So he took me out and that day changed my life. I always say I’m a much better designer than I am a surfer, but my passion for both is extreme.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: What are your favorite memories of surfing in Montauk?
ROWLEY: The surf in Montauk is pretty unpredictable. It can be blown out or flat, and the next day huge and scary, but that’s what it’s all about. Being at the mercy and glory of Mother Nature. It’s always special, but my best memories are just being with all my friends, catching little rollers and telling funny stories, and just hanging out.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: What do you love about having a boutique in Montauk?
ROWLEY: Having a shop, especially in Montauk, is so nice. It’s very chill and I come and talk to people to learn and be inspired. We started a new way of working to create a more sustainable business, so we make smaller quantities and replenish as things sell out so there is no waste — things sell out pretty fast, and we do a new version way more fun and fast and fresh!
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: What is a life lesson you learned from being an accomplished fashion designer that you would like to pass on to your daughters?
ROWLEY: Don’t do it! Kidding. They are very self motivated kids, and I support and love and encourage them to figure out their passion and go for it. I work very, very hard, and they see that and know that’s what it takes. That’s the best I can do for them.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: We’d love to hear about your insider guide to the Hamptons. What would be on your list?
ROWLEY: Ball out James Bond style and fly Blade.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: How about your number one place for coffee in the Hamptons?
ROWLEY: Coffee and avocado toast at the pop-up at our shop.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: Favorite place for a celebratory dinner?
ROWLEY: Barbecue with friends.
HAMPTONS SOCIAL: Best place to watch the sunset?
ROWLEY: On a board in the ocean.