Q&A with Holly Beck: From Pro Surfer to Surf Therapy Intern

After a career as a professional surfer, SWA Founder Holly Beck ran off to Central America to find herself. She built Surf With Amigas (and a family) over the course of 11 years living between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. In 2021 she decided to move back to calling California home base.

The ocean was always a place holly went to escape and find healing.

Now, she’s pursuing a Master’s in Counseling on the path to become a licensed surf therapist. She’s interning with Groundswell Community Project and partnered with Jess Ripley to create and lead surf therapy programs in Southern California.

Q + A with Holly

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in working with women in the world of holistic surf coaching?

A: After spending the last 12 years involved in surf coaching, i’ve realized that beyond the physical tips like looking down the line, putting more weight on the front foot, and all the other common bits of coaching advice that i’m typically giving Amigas, there is often a mental component as well. Whether it’s the un-helpful voice of our inner-critic, a fear of bigger waves, anxiety about getting in someone’s way, etc., there’s a lot going on in our heads that affects our surfing performance. I’ve been really interested in exploring that internal stuff both in my own life and then also adding it to a coaching program to create a more holistic approach to surf coaching that would be even more effective in the water, but also spill over into benefits to someone’s personal life as well.

Q: You’ve made a few big career changes in the past year. Looking forward, what are you most excited about?

A: I see it all as just continued growth and improvement. I was a pro surfer for a decade and used that knowledge of travel, adventure, and surf skills to create a business geared towards helping women travel to surf. Then in a decade of running surf and yoga retreats, I realized how powerful the empowerment component really is. It felt so good to be able to facilitate travel and adventure and then realize that Amigas were leaving the trip inspired and empowered and even going home to make positive life changes as a result. Adding a more dedicated mental health component to the surf coaching just takes that one step further. So instead of a complete career change, I see it this new step a career enhancement. I’m still super stoked to take people surfing and help them achieve their surf goals, but if I can help raise someone’s awareness of what’s going on in their heads and how that relates to their bodies, then it becomes even more rewarding because I feel like I can have a positive affect on their relationship with themselves and other people around them. Making the world a better place! lol.

Q: What has been the most pleasant surprise in your new journey to becoming a licensed surf therapist?

A: I feel like i’ve learned so much about myself that has made me a better human in the awareness of my own patterns of communication and relating to others. I have a lot more compassion for myself and those around me for sure.

Q: What’s next?

A: There’s a four-week Holistic Surf Coaching program starting Jan 9, 2022, that will be a small group experience on Sundays at Trails in San Clemente, California. I’m also helping out with weekly (Thursday) meetups in Bolsa Chica!

You can find all the info here: surfwithhollybeck.com/coaching

 

Protecting Sea Turtles in Southern Costa Rica

TRAVEL WITH SWA, TRAVEL WITH PURPOSE

Each time you join a SWA retreat, you help to support important projects that impact the local communities aT our retreat locations.

For several years we’ve been supporting an amazing sea turtle conservation project in Punta Banco, a small beach community in Southern Costa Rica near one of our retreat locations. The project not only helps protect turtles from environmental threats and human consumption but also provides work opportunities for locals in the community. During retreats we’ve been lucky enough to watch the organization grow and help release hundreds of baby sea turtles alongside local volunteers.

In the last 7 years the project has been completely in the hands of the local environmental commission, which is part of the Punta Banco neighborhood association. While the focus with other organizations in the past used to be “just” conservation, the project now also tries to leave a positive socio-economic impact on the village community.

The project is almost fully funded by private donations which help the organization build hatcheries and pay local volunteers. Click here to learn more about the Punta Banco Sea Turtle Conservation Project and how you can support by adopting a sea turtle nest or donating to the project.

 

Surfing with Shelly in Morocco

With a gorgeous cliffside backdrop, super stylish surfer, and phenomenal videographer, this windy afternoon in Morocco was a recipe for greatness. Well, now that I think of it, the entire retreat season was destined to be great!

The retreat setup looked like this: We surfed long, peeling rights every single day, then relaxed at the luxury villa in between sessions. We explored old cities and shopped for Moroccan treasures, then slid down sand dunes at sunset. We laughed, cried, danced, and ate a TON of amazing food. For each and every one of us, it was the surf adventure of a lifetime.

Enjoy this video of SWA surf coach Shelly Massie taking an afternoon slide at our retreat location in southern Morocco

To learn more about our 2022 Retreats in Morocco, click here.

*videos captured by @itchyfeetmood & @amine_nader_photography

Inspired to Just Have Fun

Our friends at Seea just released a new short film, “Funboarding”, featuring Leah Dawson- a playful and stylish female surfer who surfs with the wave not on the wave. It’s a short + sweet surf video- full of graceful female surfers and super cute waves.

~Enjoy!

 

 

New Retreat Location: Why Peru?

Surf With Amigas Peru

We’re Going to Chicama, Peru!

Natalie Small

The idea of hosting SWA retreats in Peru was born in conversation with one of our newest additions to the Surf With Amigas surf instructor team, Natalie. Natalie has been living and surfing in Peru for the past few years where she’s hosted plenty of surf retreats with her non-profit organization, Groundswell Community Project.

The longest left in the world

After chatting about Peru, the waves, the history and the people, Natalie totally stoked us out on holding SWA retreats there and sharing waves in her backyard! The retreat spot, Chicama, is home to the longest left in the world. It was easy to convince the team that it would be EPIC to surf with Amigas on another world class left point break. You know how we love those!



Birthplace of Surfing

Not only is Peru a surf haven because of it’s beautiful waves, but it’s also chock full of surf history. It’s one of the birthplaces of surfing, where Peruvians first rode waves on woven reed boats known as, “Caballitos de Totora”.

Caballitos de Totora and surfboards have similar features, like rocker, and were first used to help fisherman move through the waves and ride waves back to shore. Some say that the ancient surf craft were depicted in paintings thousands of years ago, making Peru an extremely special place to learn about the origins of surf.


During our retreats we’ll explore and surf in Huanchaco, pictured above. It’s a historic beach town known as the birthplace of surfing! We’ll watch as locals put their “Caballitos de Totora” to use and we’ll even work alongside the locals to make our own.

You can learn more about our Surf & Yoga Retreats in Peru by clicking here.

~Nos Vemos en Chicama!