We believe that having the best team makes for the best experience for our guests. Unlike most other surf camps that offer volunteer/work trade jobs and have a constantly rotating cast of characters, we invest in our team, offering higher pay and intensive training in surf technique, instruction, safety protocol, and emotional support. This guarantees that the fun, enthusiastic, instructors on hand to support you in achieving your surfing goals are the most capable out there.
Not all instructors are at all retreats.
Email [email protected] to find out which instructors will be attending your retreat.
Holly Beck grew up the oldest of five girls in Palos Verdes, CA. She always loved the water and wanted to learn to surf around age 12 but her very old-fashioned mother would not allow it, telling her, “surfing is for boys, you’ll never get a boyfriend out there competing with them. You should be sitting on the beach looking cute in a bikini!” By age 15 Holly had saved up babysitting money, bought herself a surfboard and a wetsuit and never looked back.
In June of 2001, Holly graduated from UCSD with a degree in Psychology and won the amateur National Surfing Championships. She turned pro and spent the next 10 years traveling all over the world for contests and photo shoots including to many very remote locations. On a trip to Nicaragua in 2006 she fell in love with the warm water waves, friendly locals, and laid-back lifestyle, bought land, and began to fantasize about moving to Central America full time.
While still traveling as a pro, Holly earned an MBA in Marketing and crafted a business plan to start a women’s surf school in Nicaragua. In 2010, she founded Suave Dulce, later changing the name to Surf With Amigas. After 10 years running retreats and as a mom of two, she was ready for a new challenge. She recently completed a second Master’s degree, this time in Counseling, planning to eventually get licensed as a therapist focusing on surf therapy. She spent 2021 as a Surf Therapy intern for the Groundswell Community Project and was able to help craft Holistic Surf Coaching curriculum that ties emotional awareness and mindfulness with somatic practices to enhance surf coaching techniques. She is taking individual surf therapy clients and weaving the new curriculum into the SWA culture as a whole, as well as the retreats she will be leading in Central America.
To learn more about Holly’s new projects, click here.
Jackie George grew up spending the majority of her time on the beaches of her southern California hometown, San Clemente, where she developed her expertise as a water woman and beach bum. In high school, she embraced the path set before her by previous generations of lifeguards, swimmers, surfers, and water polo players and devoted her time and energy to exactly those things. Jackie went to on to study cultural geography and Spanish at Humboldt State University where she was able to explore California’s more remote coastline, the home of bigger waves and colder water. It was in Humboldt that she developed a love for a natural and slow-paced lifestyle, but eventually tired of the cold weather, and decided to head south to Nicaragua for the winter. That first winter working with Holly quickly turned into eight months, which eventually turned into a business partnership and friendship that is going on 11 years.
Before heading to Nicaragua, Jackie worked as a surf instructor up and down the coast of California, a beach lifeguard, a swim instructor and coach, and a whitewater rafting guide, and spent any free time she had traveling the world in search of adventure. Surf With Amigas seems to be a culmination of her university studies, guiding and ocean experience, and inherent love of travel coming together to provide her dream lifestyle. In her time off from retreats you can find her hanging with her family at home in Southern Costa Rica- surfing and fishing around the Gulfo Dulce, or making her yearly pilgrimages to the mountains, deserts and coastlines of the Western US and Atlantic Canada.
Cherise Richards grew up in Ashland, Oregon and spent almost twenty years in the modern dance world as a performer, teacher and choreographer. She has a BFA in Dance from UCSB and an MFA in Choreography from California Institute of the Arts. She has also been a member of the Capoeira community for 20 years and has taught Dance and Capoeira at Loyola Marymount University, CalArts, UCSB and ACDFA among others. She had her sights set on a dance teaching career at the college level, but found her time and attention being dominated more and more by her growing love of surfing and the beach lifestyle. The shift from dancer to surf instructor/full time beach dweller was made official when she packed her belongings into a storage unit and started working for Surf with Amigas in Nicaragua.
Paul and Suzee Grilley have been her Yin yoga mentors for 22 years and she has been teaching yoga for over 9 years. She is the featured model for the book “A complete Guide to Yin Yoga” by Bernie Clark as well as featured in several of Paul Grilley’s DVD’s. As a teacher she particularly enjoys tailoring yoga classes to the special needs of surfers and finds Yin lends itself particularly well to this aim. Cherise now has her own jewelry company and loves her life traveling the world surfing and teaching yoga with Surf With Amigas.
Shelly Massie is the youngest of six kids and grew up on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. She spent her childhood following her brothers around playing all sports but her favourites were soccer and bodyboarding. When she reached 15, she ditched the bodyboard and taught herself how to surf. Shortly after, she started teaching at a local surf school on the Sunny Coast.
She studied primary school teaching at university whilst working with children in outdoor education and spent most of her holidays traveling down the east coast of Australia in her van or quick trips to Indo and Fiji. The travel bug kicked in and when she finished her degree she decided she wasn’t ready to get back in a classroom. Instead, Shelly started traveling and finding jobs around the world where she could share her love for surfing. She has worked as a surf instructor/guide in Portugal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, El Salvador and now in Costa Rica.
She believes the most important part of surfing is to have fun. If you’re not having fun you’re doing it wrong! You can often find Shelly in the line up goofing around on all different sorts of boards, trying to call every wave a party wave. If she is not surfing she is more than likely cracking into coconuts or playing some pranks on her friends.
Chloe Piester grew up in St. Augustine, Florida, a small beach town where she learned to surf with her family. She remembers learning how to pop-up on her boogie board and the surprise of receiving her very first surfboard at 7 years old. The ocean has always been home and surfing has always been a part of life. She landed her first “job” as a surf instructor at an all-girls summer surf camp when she was just thirteen and has been working as a surf instructor at various surf schools ever since.
Chloe studied Global Business Management and Marketing in San Diego and traveled to work retreats with SWA during her semester breaks for years. When she graduated from college in 2020 she swiftly moved down to Central America with a plan to coach surfing and work remotely in Social Media Marketing . When she’s not out in the water or editing a cute new SWA post on Instagram, you might find her roaming through the city streets of Nicaragua or on a search for fun beaches and friends along the coast.
Megan Halavais grew up in San Diego playing in the ocean with her 3 older brothers. At the age of nine her mom enrolled her in the junior lifeguard program and this is her first memory standing on a surfboard… she was hooked. She also played waterpolo and swam competitively from the age of 11 thru college.
Laila Bosma was born in a small coastal town in The Netherlands. She grew up traveling with her twin sister and parents and spent summer holidays camping on remote European beaches with her family too. After receiving her teaching degree, she taught middle school for 2 years. She felt like she needed more “life experience” to be a good teacher, so she decided to spend most of the winters in Central America where it’s warm and the waves are pumping! There, she fell even more in love with surfing.
After traveling, it was hard to get back to a full time teaching job, so Laila decided to devote her life to surfing and traveling and make it happen. These days she is traveling in a camper with her husband and dog through Mexico and Central America- surfing and smiling all day long!
Marin Gerrish was born in Miami FL, but at age five moved to Costa Rica. Her family had dreams of raising their kids with a slower pace of life, to spend more quality time together and pass lots of time in the ocean. Surfing was always a part of her life but she was not always nearly as passionate about it as she is now. At around age 11 is when she began to surf with friends and that’s when she fell in love with the sport. Ever since, waves waves waves have been on her mind.
When Marin was 16 her family decided to move back to Miami. After finishing high school there, Marin picked up and moved to Prescott, AZ. There she studied environmental science but eventually decided it wasn’t for her. She spent some time sailing in the Caribbean before making the move to Crested Butte, Colorado- because the mountains were calling. She loved learning how to snowboard and even spent a summer as a raft guide on the Taylor River in Colorado. Then, after nearly two years of living a life away from the ocean, she decided to move back down to Costa Rica!
Marin now lives in southern Costa Rica and joined the SWA surf coach team to work a full surf season in early 2022. She’s stoked to be able to share waves with Amigas in the special place where she grew up and continues to follow her passions in surfing.
Alli Powell grew up in San Clemente participating in all things water – surfing, water polo, life guarding and swimming. She was a part of the high school’s National Championship Surf Team and went on to University of California at Irvine to play water polo. As soon as college was over, she and her partner were off to Oaxaca, Mexico and lived in Salina Cruz, the land of the right hand point breaks. For 5 years they lived the slow paced lifestyle where warm water and amazing surf were all major draws. During that time she also went through her first yoga teacher training and ran yoga/adventure retreats to Italy.
In 2014 it was time to live closer to family. Alli moved back to Southern California, became a licensed personal trainer, furthered her yoga teacher studies, coached water polo to youth in San Clemente and also co-owned a non-profit called Surf Skouts, that empowered young girls through surfing.
In recent years, starting a family changed the priorities and her family moved back south to Costa Rica to live the slower paced life and enjoy warm weather that she had been missing since Mexico. She now works for Surf With Amigas, does marketing for women-owned, small businesses, and lives the pura vida with her family.
Natalie Small grew up on the east coast sailing and boogie boarding with her family from North Carolina to Florida until she moved to Los Angeles at age 10. As soon as she had her drivers license she learned to surf and hasn’t stopped since. Her love for the ocean lead her to call “Mi Corazon”, a 28 ft sailboat in San Diego harbor, home in her 20s. Most recently home has been Huanchaco, Peru, known as the birthplace of surfing with the longest left in the world (Chicama) only an hour away.
Angie Medina was born on the ocean in her father’s fishing boat in Southern Costa Rica. She grew up there in Costa Rica in a small coastal community called Pilon and still lives in the area now. Her father was a lifelong fisherman and her family has been lucky to have access to the ocean and so many perfect waves.
After seeing amazing waves and other surfers over the years, Angie told herself, “I need to learn to surf!”. At 14 years old she got her hands on a board and began to teach herself. Angie is the oldest girl in her family and some of her 8 brothers and sisters surf too. She started on a small 5’5 board, taught herself how to ride waves, and has been passionate about surfing ever since!
She says that her dad’s life as a fisherman and all of his time spent in the water is where her love for the ocean comes from. When Angie isn’t surfing or sharing her beautiful home and waves with her surf students, she loves to go fishing with her brothers and spend more time out in the water.
Xiquiu Acosta (pronounced CQ) is originally from La Guaira, Venezuela. She grew up with the Caribbean ocean as her backyard, playing in the waves, body surfing, diving for shells, and doing whatever she could to stay in the water as long as possible. When she was 12 years old she was introduced to surfing. Only few years later, Xiquiu joined the Venezuela surf selection, where she had the opportunity to participate in international surf competitions like ISA and ALAS. In 2012 she traveled to Costa Rica to receive training for the upcoming competitions, where she fell in love with the country.
After high school she stopped competing and decided to go to college. Her passion for the ocean led her to study Marine biology and aquaculture. Then, at age 19, Xiquiu made the move to Costa Rica, where she still lives now. This country motivated her to form such a passionate relationship with nature. She’s not only addicted to salt water, but she’s also a waterfall hunter, and she loves hiking and exploring the jungle. Whether it’s your first time surfing or you’re eager to progress your skills to the next level, Xiquiu will blissfully share her surf knowledge with you.
Emma Roggenkamp, also known as Beany, grew up in California, just north of San Francisco. Her playground has always been the outdoors and ocean, even if it meant a long car ride to a cold, windy coastline. After spending years playing water polo and soccer, Emma got tired of staying bundled on the beach while her dad and brother went out surfing, so around 15 she finally gave it a go. Since then, her obsession with surf has only grown, chasing waves around the world from Mexico to Indo, New Zealand and Europe. In 2021, after four sun-filled years surfing too much with her friends, she graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Environmental Science.
She loves working with her hands, whether it’s gardening and wrangling worms in compost or strumming a tune. You can often find her cracking jokes and eating rice and beans. Looking to travel and go on an extended surf trip after graduating, Emma set off to Costa Rica to slow down and spread stoke with Surf With Amigas. Emma believes surfing is all about letting loose and having fun. Party waves and board transfers make the world go round.
Wilmer Vargas López grew up in Punta Banco, a small beachside community outside of Pavones, Costa Rica, where his family has lived for generations. Wilmer was raised next to the ocean and as a kid watched on as his father dedicated his life to his work in sustainable tourism and agriculture, while his mom cared for him and his brothers at home.
Wilmer knew at a young age that he really wanted to surf! He lived so close to the ocean and watched other locals (including his dad) with their surfboards and just had to give it a try. At only 7 years old Wilmer fell in love with surfing and the feeling when you can forget what is happening on land and just focus on catching the best waves.
Wilmer remembers beginning to surf alongside his dad and learning from him, and he also remembers when the sport became a real passion in his life and he knew he wanted to share it with others. Surfing is a huge part of Wilmer’s world and he’s so happy and grateful to have grown up where he did. It’s just another way he’s been able to really appreciate and enjoy his family’s home, the little slice of paradise Punta Banco, Costa Rica.
Brianna Moshenko was born and raised in Orange County, California. She grew up near the ocean as the oldest of four. Her family vacations were spent beach camping or houseboating on the lake. Being in or around water quickly became a staple in her life. On her 13th birthday she begged her dad to teach her how to surf. Luckily he did, and she’s been hooked ever since.
In college, Brianna began volunteering with recreational programs for adults and children with disabilities. Naturally, her favorite programs involved water – kayaking, paddleboarding, and swimming. She attended Cal State Long Beach, where she received her bachelor’s degree, teaching credential, and master’s degree in kinesiology, with an emphasis in adapted physical education and pedagogy. After graduation, Brianna attended her first Surf With Amigas retreat in Nicaragua. Always looking for other women to surf with, she finally found it there. The laughs and connections shared on retreats continued to draw her back for many more.
After 8 years of teaching adapted PE in San Diego, Brianna decided to take a year off and pursue her passion for traveling, surfing, and education. Surfing has had a huge impact on her life; introducing her to beautiful places, lifelong friends, and new cultures. She dreams of creating a surf therapy program for individuals with disabilities, so they too can experience the many benefits surfing has to offer. You can catch Brianna singing in the line up, dancing like a fool, or perfecting her “coffin” on an inside nug. Brianna’s goal is to share the stoke with others and support them in stepping out of their comfort zone, both in and out of the water!
Kasey Martin grew up in a small town called Thirroul, on the South Coast of NSW, Australia. Her Dad started pushing her into waves on a surfboard when she was 6 years old, and that’s where Kasey’s love for the ocean and surfing began.
Growing up, Kasey spent her Australian summers camping with her parents, sister, and two brothers in their on-site caravan down the south coast of NSW where they would spend their days surfing, swimming and fishing. She also competed in junior, local, state and open surfing competitions before qualifying for the World Qualifying Series (WQS) in 2015.
These days Kasey works as a professional Ocean Lifeguard for Wollongong City Council and as a surf coach for Surf With Amigas. She is a lover of vanlife regularly doing camping trips with friends or saving up for that next overseas trip.
Kasey knows just how lucky she is to live a beautiful life on the coast and looks forward to sharing her experiences and helping other women reach their surfing goals with Surf With Amigas.
Alexia C. Echeagaray was born in Mazatlán, México, and has lived there most of her life. She wanted to learn how to surf in her early teens but wasn’t allowed by her mum as, “it was a very dangerous sport within a heavy environment for a girl, as there were lots of drugs around”. It wasn’t until she was 17 years old when she went on a trip with her cousins to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca and took a surf lesson. Once she tried surfing, Lexie fell instantly in love! She started giving lessons back in 2012 to girls that requested them around her area, and then opened her own surf school in 2021 called, “Lexie Surf Academy”, where she met her second passion, teaching. Alexia went to college in Australia and is currently studying to receive an online business degree too!
Lexie has stayed active in competitive surfing within Mexico, representing her state in several national surf competitions and has competed in some other international competitions. She’s traveled all around Mexico and has also chased waves in El Salvador, Nicaragua, California, Hawaii and Australia. Now, she combines her passion for surfing, teaching and traveling to coach Amigas at SWA retreats.
Anne Leerink grew up in the Netherlands, where her family spent all of their free time and holidays sailing, windsurfing, or doing other outdoors sports. While on a windsurf trip with her family in the Canary Islands, Anne asked if she could try out the other kind of surfing, and her entire family took a surf class. Once she stood up on that first wave, she thought, “alright, now I know what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life!”
Ever since, Anne has built her life around surfing. After finishing university in 2017 she took off to surf around the world without any plans. During these travels she went on so many adventures- from teaching kids to surf from the villages in South Africa and managing a surf camp in France, to giving English classes to groms in West Java, Indonesia and living with Maoris in New Zealand.
After a few years of world travel Anne realized it was time for something new. In the beginning of 2023 she bought a van in the Netherlands, spent 3 months converting it with her grandad, shipped it over to Mexico, and then drove down to Southern Costa Rica within a week. Anne is currently living in her van in Southern Costa Rica and working for SWA. She believes that life is one big fiesta and we can party wave through it. She is ready to take you on that party wave and share her passion for surfing and life with you!
Tori Cummins grew up on the east end of Long Island, New York, where she spent her childhood frolicking around in the ocean. Whether it was body-surfing the shore break, or fishing with her dad, she always loved to be in or near the water. Tori also grew up playing sports like swimming, volleyball, and lacrosse. She worked as an ocean lifeguard as well as a swim coach so that she could continue to pursue her passion for the water and waves.
Tori started surfing when she was 10 years old, and her passion for the sport expanded when she went on a Surf With Amigas retreat in Northern Nicaragua when she was 14. Surfing became a therapy for her and eventually lead her to move to Nicaragua in 2020. Ever since, she has never been happier. Tori feels like she found her home in Nicaragua where she can play in the ocean, surf every day, and engage with the local community. She has recently found a passion for diving and spearfishing!
In 2022, Tori became a certified yoga teacher and is currently going to college online to become a therapist- so that she can be more involved with surf and yoga therapy. Working as a surf coach for Surf With Amigas is a dream come true for her. She loves being able to meet incredible women, spend hours in the ocean, and feel the stoke as she watches Amigas surfing on waves, galloping down the beach on horses, or bonding over the great food.
Miguel Dinarte, better known as “Popsi”,grew up in the north Pacific Coast of Costa Rica in the Province of Guanacaste. His older brother taught him to surf when he was just 9 years old and after catching his first waves he knew that he wanted to surf for the rest of his life. Popsi grew his knowledge and passion for the ocean in a small fishing town called Brasilito and taught his first surf lesson when he was 17 years old. At that time he was studying in university to become an English Teacher, but his passion was, and still is, to make a living out of surfing. Now he has been teaching surf for more than 15 years. His love for surf and travel has lead him to Europe for more than 10 years in a row, where he has learned other languages and surfed the Atlantic Coast of Spain and France.
Popsi developed most of his surfing career on a beach called Playa Grande in northern Costa Rica where he has been living for over 15 years. He has a special attachment with Playa Grande because his grandfather is originally from there and because it is one of the best beach breaks in Costa Rica. Popsi joined them at SWA in 2021 and is stoked to spread the PURA VIDA and share his local knowledge with all of the Amigas that visit northern Costa Rica!
Lucia Muñoz caught her first wave when she was 8 years old, this was the fire starter to a long lasting obsession with surfing, the ocean and seeking a life full of adventure. She grew up with two big brothers and a little sister where they spent endless summers surfing, fishing, sailing and snorkeling, or creating some kind of mayhem. To keep the endless summers going, the Muñoz brothers decided to open up their own surf camp in northern Spain in which Lucia manages and coaches each summer.
Lucia spent most of her childhood living and studying in London which halted her surfing but made way to new found passions such as swimming, football and tennis. Lucia received a sports scholarship and managed to graduate with top grades and a masters degree in Sports Marketing, however she opted to follow a career in surf coaching to pursue her love for teaching and being outdoors.
When the swell is lacking, Lucia finds ways to keep busy by reading books, kayaking, playing chess, hiking or djing and dancing the night away. Lucia is happiest when she is surfing, enjoying nature and joking about with friends.
Mailen Roveda, born and raised in Argentina, had always dreamed of a life closely connected to the ocean. Her childhood summers were spent on the beach with her two brothers and these memories fueled her desire to live by the sea.
After completing high school, she embarked on a journey into studying psychology, driven by a profound curiosity about people and the complexities of the human mind. However, life had more in store for her. During a solo adventure to South Africa, Mailen had her first encounter with the world of surfing. At that moment, she realized her destiny really was intertwined with the sea.
Following her passion, Mailen made her way to the tropical paradise of Costa Rica, initially planning for a short three-month surf trip. That trip evolved into a remarkable five-year journey. Her love for surfing also led her to explore other countries. At one point Mailen moved to Europe but ultimately returned to Costa Rica, missing the tropical weather and the allure of the waves she had grown to love. Surfing has transformed not only her lifestyle but also her perspective on the world and her emotional landscape, and she can’t wait to share her passion for the ocean with Amigas.