Georgina Monti has always been a water baby. By the age of 7 she was not only swimming, but also waterskiing, bodyboarding and surfing. Born and raised in Essex, UK, she simply couldn’t resist the call of the ocean and competitive kitesurfing brought her to Cabarete, a watersports haven in the Dominican Republic. Fast forward almost 6 years on and she’s no longer competing, but Cabarete has become her home. It’s a place she gets to wake up every day and surf, freedive, and kitesurf inbetween skating, tennis, working out and work.
So when it came to finding someone to rigorously test Vivida’s newly improved sustainable surf swimwear, we couldn’t think of anyone better. Georgina provided detailed feedback on every item of Vivida swimwear after putting it through its paces on land and in the water. She even co-designed one of the pieces, the Georgina One-Piece Swimsuit, and arranged the beautiful photo shoot of the collection in Cabarete. We caught up with Georgina to understand her experience testing, developing and designing surf swimwear and to find out a little more about her journey so far…
When and how did you first get involved with Vivida?
“Time really has flown by. I met CEO David back in 2015 in Cabarete. We shared all tips kite and Cabarete related and from that day, we’ve been friends since! At that time, David was just working on the Vivida tees, so it was still early days for the brand. In 2016, I became an official Vivida ambassador and I’ve been repping, bouncing ideas and creating with the team ever since.”
You've helped the Vivida product team test and develop Vivida's new swimwear collection. What does testing surf swimwear involve?
“I’m a bit of a perfectionist but fortunately, so are the Vivida product team, so no matter how small the tweaks, they were stoked to make it happen.
The testing part is a whole lot of fun because I get to go surfing. Surfing is the leading test because there’s always a lot of water moving in all different directions and you’re moving your entire body, so a suit that can withstand that can withstand anything.
First and foremost I check to make sure that the suit is comfortable, both when dry on the land and when I’m in the water. Between paddling and popping up, I want to ensure it doesn’t rub anywhere, feels supportive and holds everything exactly where it should. No-one wants to be continuously adjusting their suit whilst trying to surf. I also like to test it in some heavier waves and wipeouts so I can whole-heartedly say, this suit is surf-proof.
I fully test for comfort, functionality and support in a variety of conditions. If it passes the beach break test, it’s a big yes from me!”
Tell us about the new Vivida surf swimwear options. What makes them special?
“The cuts. The material. The colours. The combos. The cuts in this collection are so flattering on all body types. Even during the product shoot, every style looked so good on every model. With a wide range of styles between rash guards, tops and bottoms, there are so many options to mix and match along with the fully-reversible colourways. The material is also the softest yet and is crafted from certified recycled post-consumer plastic bottles, which would otherwise have ended up in landfill or our oceans.
With the option to have 4 bikinis in 1 that support, flatter and keep everything secure whilst utilising plastic waste, this really is the best collection yet.”
You personally co-designed the Georgina One-Piece Swimsuit with the Vivida Lifestyle team. What were the main elements you wanted to bring to this suit?
“My vision was to create a one piece that everybody could feel confident, fearless and supported in. With this, we revised every detail including the cut and fastening points to best support both smaller and larger chest sizes without compromising on a flattering cut. Whether you’re learning to surf, throwing handle passes with a kite, or just relaxing at the beach, my goal was to create one suit to conquer them all and help women to feel confident in whatever activity they’re doing. You can give it your all and fully focus on having fun instead of adjusting and checking that everything is in place.”
With so many swim brands out there, why do you think Vivida's swimwear is so popular? What makes it stand out in a sea of swimwear, and what makes it stand the test of time?
“Vivida swimwear is so much more than just the material on your skin. It’s the carefully thought out designs, from the material down to every seam and fastening point and this meticulous attention to detail, shows in the final product. Every design is tried and tested to ensure it’s the best it can possibly be and no stage of this is rushed. Vivida isn’t “pumping out” products to make a quick profit. The brand is about crafting the best possible product they can for women of all shapes and sizes to look and feel fabulous and confident in, no matter what they’re doing. With this, you know whenever you buy Vivida, you’re buying quality.
Alongside the superior product, is the community. Vivida has curated such an incredible group of humans and it really is an ode to the brand and to David. It’s inclusive, welcoming and just such a fun community to be a part of.”
What more would you like to see from Vivida swimwear in the future?
“I would love to fine tune some more options for those with larger chest sizes. I have friends who really struggle to find suits that make them feel fully-supported, but also flatter and compliment. As I mentioned, I want every woman to step onto the beach or into the water feeling confident and supported. With that you can conquer the waves, wind, world, you name it.”
You're an experienced kite surfer, surfer and freediver. What is it about these sports that appeals to you the most?
“The freedom. There’s no engines, no noise pollution, just you, harnessing the wind and waves and it’s honestly the best feeling in the world. There’s not a time or place where I feel more grounded than when I’m in the ocean. Freediving offers up a whole other world entirely where it’s truly silent, you’re completely weightless and in this world you can fly. Whether you’re swimming with ocean life, diving through caves or just laying on the bottom watching the sun beams break through the surface, there is nowhere more magical and relaxing than the ocean.”
How did you first get into watersports? Have you experienced any barriers as a woman in watersports?
My dad was a competitive waterski racer and windsurfer, so growing up, we were always by the water. Even once he stopped, my brother and I couldn’t stay out of the water. My parents would ask us every year if we wanted to go to Disneyland, to which we’d reply, “No, we want to go surfing in Cornwall”. As my brother was also a water baby, there was always an unannounced competition between us in all of the sports, which definitely pushed me a lot.
Fortunately, I have always been surrounded by incredible humans who supported and pushed me to reach my potential. Often I was the only girl or one of few practicing the sport at my local spot so honestly, I often just felt like one of the boys. At primary school I ended up being the only girl on the football team and even back then, no-one treated me any differently. I do feel incredibly fortunate to have had all of these people by my side through all of my various sports who never made me feel anything less than amazing!
It also plays into why I want all women to be able to feel the confidence and support going into whatever sport they choose, because I have been so blessed to have it throughout my life. I want everyone to feel that.”
Is there any watersport you haven't yet tried that you'd like to?
“White water rafting looks so much fun. I’ve always wanted to try it and perhaps this will give me the nudge to do it before the end of the year! I also love sailing and would love to crew a hydrofoil catamaran. It looks absolutely incredible, although it certainly doesn’t look easy!”
What does water mean to you?
“Everything. It’s my playground, my therapy, the place where I feel most relaxed and where I can just let everything wash away and be me. I feel so grateful and blessed to have grown up living a life so closely intertwined with the water. “
How long have you lived in the Dominican Republic? What do you love about living there?
“I’ve been coming to Cabarete for almost 10 years and been based here for the last 5. Even with my travels to a variety of other locations, I have never found anywhere that feels like Cabarete. I can wake up every single day and surf with the wind picking up around midday into the afternoon, there’s plenty of time for wind sports too. With warm turquoise waters, mountains, jungle and everything in between, there is never a shortage of things to do. I have also never found somewhere with such prime conditions year round for both wind and wave sports. We have days when the line up looks like the Maldives with perfect crystal clear waves, and the wind is unbelievably consistent. The warm humid climate also means this island grows almost everything. Fresh avocados, coconuts, mangos, pumpkin, you name it, which makes it easy to live a clean and healthy lifestyle.”
If you could go anywhere in the world right now (time and money are no object), where would you go and why?
“The Mentawai Islands. It’s been on my list for a while but I would love to go and surf endless glassy and perfect waves until I could no longer lift my arms. They also have some amazing free diving conditions.”
How do you live your Vivida Lifestyle?
“For me, it’s all about being able to go to sleep every night excited to wake up for tomorrow because I’ve created the life I’ve always dreamt of. Whether it’s sports, adventures or projects, living a Vivida lifestyle is creating a life that I can’t wait to wake up to and live every single day.”
Words by Georgina Monti, as told to Miranda Mazzarella.
Miranda Mazzarella looks after Ecommerce and Marketing at Vivida Lifestyle. When she's not making sure the website's working as it should be or creating our next email campaign, she enjoys meditation, yoga and woodland walks. Her happy place is sea snorkelling amongst the fishes.