We are so proud to announce the sponsorship of up-and-coming Costa Rican surfer girl, Nazareth (“Naza”) Del Mar.
Naza is a 10 year old shredder from Pavones, Costa Rica that has dreams of becoming a professional surfer. The SWA sponsorship offers Naza’s family financial support, giving their daughter a chance to travel to different locations and compete in the national circuit of Costa Rica, while also being professionally coached by SWA instructor, Gabrielle Guyon. With this sponsorship, we hope to inspire girls and women of all ages and nationalities to achieve their surfing dreams and inspire others.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT NAZA
Nazareth Del Mar Velasquez is the oldest of two girls. Her mother, Sylvia, was born and raised Costa Rica, and her father, Jonathan, is from Nicaragua. Nazareth only started surfing three years ago and participated in her first local competition just a year ago, but her love for the ocean comes from before she was born.
Nazareth was an active baby in the womb, constantly moving and kicking her mom’s belly. Her mom Sylvia found that whenever she entered the ocean, Naza would instantly cease her kicking. Since then, Nazareth has felt attracted to the sea but until recently, was never allowed to enter the water. Jonathan, her dad, has an enormous fear of the ocean and marine life. He doesn’t know how to swim and believed it safest for his family to avoid the sea.
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Naza’s parents lost their jobs. With more and more time spent inside at home, they realized that there is more to life than work. They wanted to enrich their lives, take advantage of every day, and learn to be more open-minded and flexible. Wanting to ensure their kids also learned this valuable lesson, they realized they could no longer keep them out of the water, especially with a perfect left point-break in their backyard. Jonathan began to teach Naza the importance of bravery by overcoming his own fear of the ocean. Three years ago, they started taking surfboards with them into the water and eventually learned to surf together. Nazareth’s love for surfing and sharing the waves with her dad grew daily.
While learning to surf, Nazareth experimented riding both shortboards and longboards, and has come to love both. After only three years, she can already walk to the nose of her longboard, make cute turns with her shortboard, and even ride switch stance, all incredible talents for a young, self-taught surfer! Naza grew up watching Leilani McGonagle and Leon Glatzer surf, two professional surfers and Olympians also from Pavones. She continues to be inspired by them and dreams of having a life like theirs. Nazareth already knows she wants more for her future than her small and remote community can provide. She is different from other village kids, and her parents recognize and support that. When her parents asked if she was ready to put in the hard work to have the life of her dreams, she instantly replied with a big “YES!”
At the moment, Nazareth is one of the only young local girls surfing in Pavones.
In Latin America, it is uncommon to see girls practicing sports or doing manual labor. Culture dictates that these are activities for men. None of the other young girls from town surf, but Naza’s family thinks outside of cultural/social norms and is very supportive of her following her own path. Despite being the only local girl in the lineup, she claims she doesn’t mind surfing with the boys her age. It has only challenged her to surf more. However, from time to time, the boys aren’t the friendliest to her. They once told Naza she didn’t belong in the water and that she should go back home and stay in the kitchen. Some of the families that Naza goes to school with also don’t approve of her being a surfer. But none of their opinions stop Naza and her family from believing in her dream. Naza’s behavior has even started to inspire other young girls in Pavones to play sports.
A NOTE FROM NAZA’S SURF COACH, GABY-
As her surf coach, I see a lot of potential in her. She’s extremely passionate about the ocean, surfing, and competing. She is intelligent, mature and willing to learn and has a generous, loving and curious personality. It is a great pleasure to dedicate my time to teaching future athletes. I love working with deeply motivated students, committed to learning both as surfers and human beings. I like to use a holistic approach in my coaching, including nutrition, fitness and sports psychology. I want to work with elite surfers because, at that higher level, they must dive deep into the technicalities of surfing and connect with their bodies in order to perform at their best. I’m constantly learning more about this holistic approach to coaching. The more I know, the more I want to share, so I hope to keep working with students that are willing to put in the work. — Gabrielle Guyon, SWA surf instructor and Naza’s coach
Nazareth’s parents are working hard to make money to support their daughter’s dream. They each have two jobs and various side hustles. Traveling to competitions and professional coaching come with a hefty price. Surf With Amigas is helping to cover some of the expenses, but there is still a need for donations.
If Nazareth’s story resonates with you and you feel the urge to offer support, please contact Gaby via email, or donate by scanning the QR code below. To watch Nazareth’s progression in competition, follow along on Instagram at @nazareth_del_mar or @gabrielleguyon.