Surf With Amigas offers surf yoga retreats that are open to all ages and all ability levels. We had a mix of all of that on this retreat at our Northern Costa Rica location – from ladies who had been surfing a while to some who had never touched a board. There was an awesome mother/daughters trio who shared a party wave with all three riding. So fun!
Our first ever retreat at our Pura Vista location was so fun! We had a mixed level group including one mother/daughter duo. We scored some awesome waves and got a chance to surf a variety of spots. After surfing we’d go back to the house, swim in the pool, and relax, enjoying the awesome view!
We do have several other retreats on our schedule at this location starting the week of Feb 23 if you’re interested in joining us. Check out the schedule page for more details!
We just wrapped up our very first beginner surf retreat of the season in Northern Costa Rica. While some of the ladies who attended did have prior surfing experience, we also had a handful who had never surfed before. This sand bottom bay is the perfect spot for learning to stand up for the very first time. It’s also a great spot to refine existing skills.
We had some incredible dancers join us this week. They were busting a move on the beach, during late night dance parties in the yoga studio, and on their surfboards. Watch the video to see all the moves.
Our first retreat of the new season was an advanced shortboard retreat held in Northern Costa Rica. We scored some pretty amazing waves and most mornings we paddled out just after dawn which means we had the lineups to ourselves. Check out the highlight video!
SWA founder Holly Beck talks about returning to her home in Northern Nicaragua for the first time since protests erupted into civil unrest last spring, causing us to temporarily cancel all Nicaraguan Retreats.
Traveling to Nicaragua
I was in Costa Rica running retreats last spring when civil unrest erupted in my adopted home country of Nicaragua. I’ll be honest that even despite hearing from our friends – both local and expat – that now it is all safe and fine to visit, I was just a little bit nervous about coming, particularly since I had two young kids with me. I hadn’t been back in 8 months and had been following the social media accounts of protestors that made things on the ground seem scary. As usual what you see on the news is only a tiny piece of the story. The majority of the unrest has passed. The violence has stopped. Protests are now minimal and confined to the cities. Things look a lot like the US where the majority of the population isn’t happy with their president. Throughout even the worst of the unrest, the beaches never experienced any issues. Now everything is completely peaceful at the beach. The roads from the airport to the beach are free and clear, totally normal. It’s true, I saw it for myself!
Pam LeBlanc is a journalist for the Austin Statesman. She joined us on a retreat this past summer to learn to surf and wrote about her experience. An excerpt from her exciting story is below, along with a link to the full article. Enjoy!
The waves await
On the last day of surf camp, we head across the muddy gravel road in front of our cabins to a stretch of beach where the waves break big.
There, the ocean curls over into industrial-size rolls of carpet, crashing in rapid-fire explosions of greenish-gray spray. The roar drowns out the squawking of the scarlet macaws, and I can’t draw my eyes away. Those waves look huge to me, much bigger than the “cute” ones we’ve been practicing on all week, even though I know that for seasoned surfers they’d present no problem.
Surfboards in tow, 10 other women and I stare out to sea. Then we wade into the surf. We dash out, a few at a time, between the biggest sets, springing onto our boards and paddling furiously, jumping off and “turtling” them overhead to get through bigger waves.
It takes 30 minutes for all of us to work our way safely past the break. Then we sit up, watching intently for just the right set.
After a week of practice, now comes the test……
Before the first ocean session at all-women’s Surf With Amigas camp in southern Costa Rica, we gathered beneath a covered pavilion for some dry land briefings. We learned the parts of a surfboard, the basics about wave formation and how to get up on a surfboard. Instructors broke the pop-up technique into steps, and we practiced on yoga mats.
Then we headed to the beach in a van loaded with colorful boards, music pulsing out the windows. For the next five days, our group broke into two — beginners like me and more experienced paddlers. We visited two nearby beaches, and one day rode a boat to catch a wave off the Osa Peninsula. We paddled into swell after swell, missing some and catching others.
Gradually, things got easier. I grew comfortable hopping onto the board and easing myself into the standing position. I didn’t always get it, and fell off pretty quickly when I did, but I swooned every time I felt that sweet push when I caught a wave just right. After a few days, I could turn down the line, riding a small wave as it broke toward shore. The other campers and I cheered each accomplishment, and at the end of every session we snacked on fresh watermelon and pineapple.
“These trips are confidence-boosting, girl power.”
Lucy Schwartz, 27
Then we headed back to our cabins, no-frills, cement-floored shelters without air conditioning or hot water but with plenty of charm.
Sure, we all went nuts when a local woman stopped by to paint toucans and palm trees on our fingernails, we descended like vultures when organizers pulled out an array of teeny-weeny bikinis available for purchase, and we staged the greatest slumber party of all time one night when we made chocolate from scratch, sipped wine and braided each other’s hair.
But make no mistake: This was no frivolous get-together. We came to surf.
To read more, click the link below for the full article:
In April, Civil Unrest Temporarily Put Retreats on HOld
Up until June 2018, Nicaragua was the primary location to join Surf With Amigas on a weeklong adventure of surf, sun, new friends, and awesome good times. When anti-government protests broke out in April of 2018 and turned violent, we hoped they would pass quickly. Months later, daily bad news led us to make the very difficult decision to temporarily shift all our retreats to Costa Rica. You can read more details about the situation in a blog post we published in June via this link.
Right now the situation is much calmer, but the struggle isn’t over. The Nicaraguan people have decided they want a new president, but his term isn’t up until 2021 and he has shown no signs of stepping down early.
Nicaragua is safe for tourists
For now the situation in some areas of the country, particularly the areas around universities, is still tense. Protests and the government response to those protests are ongoing. But, word from our friends on the ground is that everything at the beach is now, and has always been, totally peaceful. Tourists can travel freely and safely between the Managua International Airport and the coast. Once at the beach, the situation is like it was eight or nine years ago – great waves with many fewer surfers in the water!
Most of our staff that had built a life in Nicaragua are returning this year. I am going myself for two weeks in October and bringing my 2 and 4 year old kids. I obviously wouldn’t be doing that if I was worried about safety. I will also be there for a month in Jan/Feb and we have decided to add one retreat to the schedule during that time.
Join us for One retreat this winter in Nicaragua February 9-16
February 9-16 we will be running a one week retreat at our old home base in Northern Nicaragua. We’ll open it up to men and women in case you ladies would feel better bringing your menfolk along. February is a great month with all day sun and typically awesome wind patterns. That week also has high tide mornings which is ideal for the best breaks in the area.
I am incredibly excited to host this retreat alongside our team. Will you join us? For more info on the location click here: Northern Nicaragua Eco Resort
Our local friends and partners might be even more excited than I am. The sudden drop in tourism has left so many Nicaraguans without work, struggling to feed their families. They need us to return!
During retreats we focus on avoiding crowds altogether as much as possible, but we know that most people don’t have the luxury of living in a spot or having a schedule where it’s possible to avoid other surfers. For all of you living a city surf lifestyle, here are some tips you can use to catch more waves even at a crowded spot.
In July we hosted an advanced retreat in Southern Costa Rica. The advanced retreats are open to ladies that do have a solid amount of prior surf experience and are working on more complex turns, style, and higher level skills. This particular week we were a bit unlucky with swell. The waves were on the smaller side, but as you can see, it’s never flat and we still had plenty of surf to work with. The guests got video coaching with former pro surfer Holly Beck and participated in classroom sessions on style, how to read a surf forecast and the differences between surfboards.
It’s so fun to share the joy of the ocean with the next generation of little surfers. If you have kids that you want to get into surfing, bringing them to warm water waves with an easy channel for paddling out is the best way to do it! SWA founder Holly Beck has two kids that she’s been surfing with and has honed a program for getting kids up and riding that she wants to share with other parents! Older kids riding their own boards get to benefit from all the in water help as well as video coaching that the adults enjoy.
Check out the highlight video above from our first family friendly retreat in Costa Rica. This week we had kids from age 1-12 join us along with their parents and a few friends on a week of surfing, yoga, chocolate making, horseback riding and dance parties. It was so fun that we immediately put a couple more family retreats on the schedule.
Bring your kids, no matter their age
If you have kids that you’d like to get into surfing, or kids that surf already that would love to join us for a weeklong adventure in warm water, or kids that are too young to surf that you’d like to setup with a nanny so you can go surfing…. join us on a family retreat!