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Frescobol Carioca

Issue 4 - 2016
Words by Nadia Balame-Price · Images Jorge Monedero

The founders of the lifestyle brand talk beaches, breakers and the Brazilian outlook on life that inspires them

Issue 4 - 2016
By Nadia Balame-Price · Images Jorge Monedero

The founders of the lifestyle brand talk beaches, breakers and the Brazilian outlook on life that inspires them

Playing with a bat and ball is a summer pastime the world over, but the way the Brazilians play it makes it seem like an Olympic sport.

“We joke that it’s Brazil’s national sport after football. Every household has a set of these bats,” laughs Harry Brantly. And he should know: the very British sounding Brantly’s father is Brazilian and he spent much of his childhood in the country. No surprise, then, that what Harry describes as the Ferraris of beachbats, lovingly handcrafted from driftwood, are at the heart of Frescobol Carioca, the business he and schoolfriend Max Leese launched in 2009. Indeed, the brand’s name literally means “beach bat from Rio”.

The two friends and business partners came up with the idea six years ago when they were on holiday in France. Both are keen surfers, but bad weather meant they were shorebound. They remembered they’d packed a set of Brazilian beach bats and started playing. “Everyone on the beach commented on them,” remembers Max – and so the idea was born.

The heartbeat of the brand is Brazilian culture and lifestyle, and the idea was always to launch a lifestyle and resortwear brand that embodied the carefree, sexy, laid-back attitude of Rio de Janeiro. The design inspirations for the collections, which now include shorts, linen towels, hats and shirts, come directly from Rio’s streets, explains Max. “The house print on our shorts [a vibrant wavy design] mimics the patterns of the Copacabana sidewalks, and our activewear was inspired by the outdoor gyms that you see every few metres along the beach.”

So what is it about the Brazilian way of life that people so fall in love with? Max explains: “There’s a warmth and a passion there. I’ve been visiting with Harry a couple of times a year since I was 13 and I love it. Of all the places I’ve travelled in the world, Rio is my favourite. You’re always meeting new people, experiencing new things.” There is also the design appeal of the country, rich as it is in striking modernist architecture and a burgeoning contemporary art scene.

And then, of course, there’s the sea: both men love to surf and dive. Much of their travel is now for work, though they still manage several weeks a year in Brazil. So which are their favourite beaches?

“Mine is Lopes Mendes, where we did our first campaign,” says Max. “It’s in the Angra dos Reis, a little archipelago, and the only way to get there is a 40-minute boat ride. It’s totally secluded, just beautiful white sand. It has a little surf break at one end so you can stop the boat, jump off with your surfboard and swim straight into the break.”

For Harry it’s a beach called Joatinga. “It’s in the middle of Rio so it’s difficult to access. You have to park high up and then walk down. This means only people who really want to be there are there, so it’s less crowded. It has beautiful boulders and forest around it, it’s like a Jurassic Park beach but in the centre of the city.”






The eyes of the world, of course, will be on Brazil this summer, when the Olympic Games kick off in July. “If you thought beach volleyball on Horse Guards Parade was awesome, imagine what people are going to feel when they see it on Copacabana beach at midnight under the lights,” says Harry. “It will be just incredible – there’s no city in the world quite like Rio.”

Call Scott Dunn on 020 8682 5030 to arrange your tailor-made holiday to Brazil

frescobol’s travel list

Favourite destination
Harry: The Gili Islands in Indonesia. I’m a diving fanatic and once spent a whole month exploring the incredible reefs there.
Favourite hotel
Harry: Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole. It’s traditional and steeped in history, but lots of fun people go there. It’s family-owned and run with passion.
The place you love to return to
Max: I love to ski so Lech in Austria probably. We used to meet up with my German family and spend Christmas and New Year there.
Harry: My parents’ farm outside Rio. It’s up in the mountains surrounded by lakes, horses and wild wolves.
Must-have luggage
Harry: It’s really girly, but a brown and blue Celine pouch that I keep my passports in.
Max: A silver Rimowa suitcase. I actually have two. It just makes life so easy, one for hand luggage and one for the hold.
Go-everywhere item
Max: My Bose bluetooth headphones. If I forget those I’m really upset.

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