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INTERVIEW: Pro Surfer Malia Manuel On Her Swimwear Collaboration With lululemon, Summer Essentials, Favorite Spot To Surf, And More

Nicole Barylski

lululemon x Malia Manuel Will The Wave Long Sleeve One Piece. (Courtesy Photo)

lululemon's first-ever swim line collaboration created with lululemon Elite Ambassador Malia Manuel dropped earlier this spring. We caught up with the professional surfer - who in 2008 became the youngest ever female or male to win the US Open of Surfing (a fête she accomplished at just 14-years-old) and earned the title of Rookie of the Year in 2012 - to learn about her fashion debut, swimwear musts, summer essentials, the best spot to surf, and more.

How did you initially get into surfing?

MM: My parents actually met surfing; we are a total surf family. They are very passionate about surfing so while I was growing up, I spent most of my days at the beach. My mom and dad would take turns sitting on the beach with me while the other one surfed, until I eventually was old enough to join them both in the water. Surfing was all I knew how to do.

You're a lululemon Elite Ambassador. What drew you to the brand?

MM: What I have always loved about lululemon is the quality of their product. I really appreciate their attention to detail and their innovative designs that truly enhance your performance.

lululemon x Malia Manuel Will The Wave Bikini Top and Bottom. (Courtesy Photo)

Tell me a little bit about the pieces in the lululemon x Malia Manuel Collection.

MM: The lululemon x Malia Manuel collection is a functional, yet feminine collection of swimwear that is a combination of my design vision and needs in the water and lululemon's technical fabrics and functional expertise. Testing this product and working closely with lululemon's design team to get the details perfect was a highlight in creating this collection.

The collection includes the Will the Wave Top, Bottom and Long Sleeve One Piece. The Will the Wave Long Sleeve One Piece was designed so you can maximize distraction-free movement in the water, and offers sun protection without bulk or constriction.

The Will the Wave Top was constructed with a cross-back, designed to offer security so you can perform in the water without worry and the Will the Wave Bottom lays flat on the skin to prevent chafing and are cut to help you feel confident on the waves.

Is this your first fashion collaboration?

MM: Yes, this is my first fashion collaboration. I had the pleasure of working with the most amazing team at lululemon and it was a dream come true to be a part of this project. It was incredible to be involved in the design process and see how much thought and effort goes into each and every piece.

When you'll be surfing all day, what do you look for in your swimwear?

MM: When I'm surfing, there are so many uncontrollable elements to focus on, so I need a swimsuit that offers no distractions and helps me feel my best, and perform at my best.

When co-creating this collection, I wanted to offer products that were completely functional in the water, but also had feminine details, as I found I was sacrificing one for the other. You'll see these subtle, feminine attributes in features like scalloped edges, bonded seams, and digitally-engineered prints.

It's also important to me to keep my chest covered in the sun, so that's why my favorite piece in the collection is the Will the Wave Long Sleeve One Piece.

What's your favorite spot to surf?

MM: I love being home in Hawaii, the waves are so diverse. It's so amazing to be on an island knowing you can find a wave to surf every day of the year.

When not in the water, how would you describe your style?

MM: Minimal makeup and dressed for comfort. You will probably see me in lululemon Align Pants more often than not. I love being in my yoga clothes, it motivates me to get out and move.

Since summer is right around the corner, what are some of your must haves?

MM: With summer approaching, my must haves are mostly sun protection. Sunscreen, hat, glasses, and my Will the Wave Long Sleeve One-Piece.

Have you ever been to the Hamptons?

MM: I have yet to visit the Hamptons!

For more information about the lululemon x Malia Manuel collection, visit lululemon.com.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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