Meet Hanalei — Co-founder of Abysse

Hanalei in Tahiti

Nestled within the idyllic walls of her vintage, sixties-inspired home in San Clemente, we sat down with Hanalei Reponty Gaudaskas to dive in together on all things about her new collaboration with Roark Women’s. From the moment we stepped foot into her thoughtfully curated space, it was evident that every corner whispered of creativity and warmth. Settling into her sunroom, bathed in natural light, we sipped warm mint tea and chatted about all things business, design, family, color palette, and even how she takes her morning coffee. Together, we unraveled the inspiration behind her creative vision, the nuances of her unparalleled aesthetic, and the complete symbiosis of the collaboration between these two epic adventure brands.

If you're here with us, it's time to dive in.

Hanalei in Tahiti
Hanalei beneath the surface

In the vast expanse of Tahiti, where the turquoise waters merge seamlessly with the sky and wifi signals are few and far between, lies the origin of Abysse—a brand born from the depths of a love for the ocean and dedication to sustainability. Embodying the ethos of its co-founder, Hanalei Reponty, Abysse is not just a small, family-owned brand; it is a testament to a lifelong communion with the elements, a union of creativity and conscience that finds its roots in the pristine nature of Tahitian shores—bringing women together all over the world.

Tell us about the inspiration behind Abysse and how it came to life.

Because I grew up in a place like Tahiti, I feel like I really fell in love with nature and the ocean—that was really something that impacted me every day. Just being surrounded by it, seeing it, being immersed in it. I think that that was really my first love and at a really young age, that blossomed into this intense inspiration and I really got into sustainability. I was obsessed with learning about recycling. And I think I was a very sensitive child in the way that I couldn't understand why the world would pollute and create all these things that were so damaging to our planet. So as a teenager when I started surfing and being sponsored by RipCurl and traveling the world, getting really lucky to have opportunities that not a lot of people had. I think it almost made me realize that I could merge the two. So I went on to Sydney University and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Marketing. And you know, you have to understand at the same time, my mom was instrumental in the process. She’s always been my number-one cheerleader. She always said to me, “Hey, if you have a dream—you’ve just got to go for it. You make your own destiny.” And so, together, we created a brand that merged all those aspects of our lives that we treasured—which was to create a sustainable brand for women who love the ocean. Our first year was 2015 and at the time, sustainability was not at the forefront of a lot of brands ethos and vision, especially in the surf industry. I also felt that quality product with design tailored to a woman’s body was something that was very much so missing, in my opinion. And so it was such a fun journey because it started as a concept and something that I wanted to do for myself and people like me and it's grown, grown into such a beautiful journey and sharing that with so many ocean women over the world and seeing so many cool badass women doing what they love in our products has been like really, really cool, so inspiring.

So, tell us about team Abysse.

It's awesome because my whole family works for Abysse now. So originally team Abysse was just myself and mom, who we call Mama Bear. She was my business partner from the start. She said, OK, let's do this. She's always been an incredible business owner and had her hands in multiple businesses. So she was a really good balance to my creative side because I was way more into design and marketing and she had that business mind which made it all come together naturally. And then now after several years, my brother Romi now works with us too. My dad is a full-time doctor, but I would say he also is a full-time Abysse man because he’s on the team now so he’s definitely in the trenches with us. He’ll run all of the Google Advertisements and he’ll call me with a new idea and ask “So, what do you think about this?” And it’s just so funny, he’s a surfer so he loves it and he’s just a very proud dad. He’s up for any challenge because he loves learning. So yeah, it's a family affair. My husband, Pat, I call him the man of Abysse because every time I need something, he’s my guy. So the whole team, the whole family is there. The little babies just wear the wetsuits, they’re my models. And to me, that's perfect. And I have an incredible team here in San Clemente at our storefront, Motu. I have Sara who works as my warehouse manager and a bunch of really cool people that we work with along the way. But yeah, we are a close-knit family business. We get to create something that we all very much believe in and that brings us closer together as a family at the same time and that’s really special.


You grew up in Tahiti. Can you tell us about what that island means to you?

Growing up in Tahiti really impacted a lot of who I am today. I had a beautiful childhood that I now look back on and hope to give to my kids. We grew up on an island surrounded by a crystal lagoon with mountains—nature is so present in the islands and we spent every day in the ocean. I remember that’s what we did as a family every single Sunday. We would wake up at 5 AM—me, my brother, my mom and my dad and we would go surf all together. That was our little tradition as a family. Every Sunday.

"I feel like all women are intrinsically a community because we tend to gravitate towards one another and towards supporting things that other women support."

Where are we sitting now?

Ok. So we're sitting in our little sunroom, which is actually my favorite room in this house. This is our family home in San Clemente, California overlooking the ocean. We bought this house when Patrick and I got engaged and every year I feel like we've made it a little bit more our own and it's a vintage little sixties house where we feel at home—seriously it was built in 1961. And, I think a home is a reflection of who you are and where you are at in your life. And right now it just feels like very much a reflection of us and a growing family having the kids sometimes it gets, you know, trampolines and skateboards and everything here. But we're very lucky to be in such a beautiful spot that we've made our own. I think my favorite thing is the nature and outdoors surrounding the house because it's, I mean, we live our lives outdoors so having just so much light and being open and just being in the canyon, this is our little tree house.

Hanalei showing us the Poppler Top
Hanalei and Hawk

What three words would you use to describe Abysse?

Oh that’s hard. Can I do four words? I mean, I'm gonna go very simple but it's kind of our DNA and our pillars—our ethos. It would probably be ocean, women, empowered , and sustainable . It was hard to do three. I truly feel like we've created such a cool community of women which is why I chose the word women instead of community. Because women, in and of themselves, bring such a strong bond of that community. I feel like all women are intrinsically a community because we tend to gravitate towards one another and towards supporting things that other women support. So we have inherently like this insanely strong community. If you're a woman, you're a part of the community.

How do you take your coffee?

So, I'm more of a tea girl. I'm a morning person who loves waking up with the sun and with the boys. So, not too long ago I just decided I'm gonna have a tea in the morning instead of coffee, and then, when I really feel that little slump after I have lunch, I'm just like, this is where I get to have my coffee rush. And being French, I don't know, people are gonna hate me for this but I take my coffee with the milk and sugar.

I'm like, you know, I'm not, I'm not there. My mom's Italian, she drinks six black coffees a day. So she's on a different level of caffeine, but I don't need it and am content being a tea gal. I'll go chai latte, Macha, Earl Gray London Fog. You name it.

Hanalei collage

What inspires you most about Roark Women's.

I think what has inspired me most about Roark and Roark Women's is that they don’t have a boxed-in view of the outdoor world, they have a fresher and more modern perspective on what it can encompass. You know what I mean? I feel like they don’t put themselves in a single category, but just in the entirety of the outdoors world. When I reflect on my life or everyone that I know, everyone is so versatile and lives so many lifestyles that I love how Roark is approaching not just the surf world, but everything else too. I think it's something that they have done really well. And bringing Abysse to Roark has been so symbiotic because we both believe in quality and function and seeing their athletes and their women perform at the best is their pinnacle, they want to have an authentic story—and so do we. I think when you follow along these lines, it’s such a beautiful meeting of two different minds and brands and DNA. 

Describe your color palette.

Ok. Well, if you know me, I think my color palette would be best described as earthy, but not necessarily only neutral—I love a little color. But even in color it’s something that's very toned down in the way that I love. Natural wood, natural colors like earth textures, clay—I feel like that resonates so much with my living environment and obviously through design, I've always been inspired by the duality of just very neutral tones and shades with a little pop of color.

And I think through our journey out of this, everything has been very tonal and wearable, but also a little bit unexpected. So I feel like it's a mix of that vintage island coloring with a neutral palette. Yeah, that’s a hard one to describe but—there it is!

Watch the Full Interview

Shop the Collection