Janet MacPherson, my mother-in-law and muse, is a trailblazer for female surfers and is still surfing in her 80s (!). She tells stories of surfing in cashmere sweaters to keep warm before the advent of the wetsuit by her late friend Jack O'Neill. She was the first female to try out his new contraption, but over the years always lamented the lack of options in wetsuits for women. Some bits from an interview I did with Janet in Whalebone Magazine:
Did you ever feel like surfing was this feminist move? I never thought about it. Some of the guys were really nice to me and some of them weren’t. Some of them didn’t really like a gal out there with them.
What did you wear surfing in the early days? We used to go to the thrift stores and buy cashmere sweaters and wear them out in the water to keep warm. We didn’t have brands back then [laughs].
Who are some of the people you remember surfing with “back in the day”? JM: Philip “Flippy” Hoffman, “Renny” Yater, Tom Morey (Morey invented the Boogie Board in the 70s), “Grubby” Clark, Gus Gustafson, Jim Foley, the Van Dyke Brothers and Jack O’Neill (of O’Neill wetsuits). I’ve been surfing with them since we were all in college.
The perfect pairing
You can imagine how excited Janet was when I took her to my friend (and Montauk neighbor) Cynthia Rowley's showroom. An avid surfer herself, Cynthia pioneered fashionable wetsuits for women. For Janet, her dream of looking stylish while surfing had finally been realized! We partnered up to create a capsule collection of five colorful cashmere sweaters and corresponding wetsuits in honor of three generations of surfer girls. The result was a capsule collection featuring surf girls in Montauk and a big party honoring Janet.
(We have relaunched three styles from this capsule in celebration of summer! Click here to buy!)
Janet MacPherson surfing in the 60s.
Janet among a group of Kiwi surfers, circa 1966.From left: Jonette (Jonnie) Mead, Cyndy Margaret Webb, Pauline Thompson,Gail Pattie, Janet at the back, and Joan Pattie.
Poles Beach at Ditch Plains, Montauk, 2017. At 80 years old, Janet still makes surfing an almost-daily ritual.
In celebration of three generation of surfer girls
In honor of three generations of amazing surfer girls, we threw a party at Cynthia's Montauk store, featuring our LFxCR capsule collection and her wetsuits.