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 business 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.
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.
Coco grew up in the Caribbean on the island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands.. It was there that her and her two sister’s started surfing together. Unfortunately the waves weren’t very consistent so their new focus was to travel.Coco has surfed all over the world, catching waves in Australia, California, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Mexico, New York, Nicaragua Panama, Puerto Rico, and the British Virgin Islands.She has been surfing for more than 15 years, and in 2009 she earned a diploma in Sports Management & Surfing Studies from Southern Cross University in Queensland, Australia. In 2015, she was inspired to turn her love of the sport into her full-time career so that she could share her passion with others. She has taught professional surf instruction in Australia, Costa Rica, New York and the Virgin Islands.
Coco also developed an interest in Yoga after she used yoga therapy as a way to heal from an injury. She later went on to study Yoga at the Dyhana Ayurvedic Center in California. She got her 200 RTY in 2014, and now teaches restorative Yoga, focusing on practices and poses specifically for surfers. Coco loves sunsets, coconuts, running on the beach, being barefoot and hunting for perfect waves and empty line ups. She currently resides in Playa Grande, Costa Rica with her twin flame of 10 years.
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.
Gaby Guyon is from Montreal, Canada. In 2015, She changed everything. She traded the cold winters of Quebec for the Costa Rican sun. She finally started living the life she always dreamed of. Surfing has an important place in her heart because of her father. When she was six, he helped her catch her first wave. Since then, her life has revolved around surfing because she couldn’t see any other way to live happily. She spends half of her time studying new surfing technics and the other half sharing her knowledge.
She trains, eats and sleeps like an athlete because her goal is to be a better version of herself every day.
She is dedicated and passionate about learning everything regarding surfing, nutrition and fitness. She is deeply motivated to share her knowledge and experience with anyone open to learning. She believes surfing helps people become a better version of themselves, and with better people, we can create a better environment and world to live in!
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.
Naomi Blik was drawn to the water from a young age, swimming and boogie boarding. She grew up in San Diego and was enamored by surfing, but as the only surfer in her family and with very few friends to surf with, learning to surf proved difficult. Naomi grew up on Roxy ads and Blue Crush, dreaming of a day she would have her own girl gang of surfers to paddle out with.
It wasn’t until Naomi moved to Santa Barbara for college that her obsession with surfing truly took off. She found a community of surfer girls to share the waves with, which brought her to love surfing even more by adding another layer of happiness, confidence, and stoke. After 4 years of studying (and maybe a little too much surfing) she got her degree in Communication and a double minor in Spanish and Writing. She wrote for the surf publication, The Inertia, and used her voice to write about the female surfer perspective.
Naomi believes there’s something magical and empowering about women in the lineup. There’s a supportive and positive energy, which truly brings out the best of surfing. Her passion for surfing and empowering women brought her to Costa Rica with Surf With Amigas in hopes to make women feel more confident in the water. She also spends her summer as a beach lifeguard in San Diego, where she enjoys helping and educating the public about the ocean.
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.
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.
Gigi Jackson grew up in Long Beach, California. Born into a surf/beach family, her local beach was her playground where she spent countless hours surfing, swimming, and boogie boarding with her friends and family. A water baby from the get-go, Gigi was a competitive swimmer and spent her childhood summers at the beach as a Junior Lifeguard where she developed a love for the ocean, which became a lifelong source of comfort and happiness.
In 2017 she flew the coop to study at University of California, Santa Barbara, and traded laps in the pool for longboarding right-hand point breaks. During school vacations, Gigi and her surf girl gang would take surf trips up the California coast and through Mexico (sometimes squeezing in a ski trip to Lake Tahoe). It was the camaraderie and community within her new surf girl gang that made surfing a large part of Gigi’s life and sparked her zest for surf adventures across the world!
With a degree in Global Studies and a minor in Spanish under her belt, Gigi spent a year working for a local newspaper and bartending as she figured out her next move. Her love for surfing and traveling as well as helping women find happiness in the ocean brought her to Central America to work for Surf With Amigas. Nothing makes Gigi more stoked than a big cup of coffee and surfing with other lady shredders in the lineup!
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.
Surfing has taken Kaira all over the world, searching for waves in New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Central America, Europe, and beyond. She loves to surf longboards, shortboards, mid lengths, and the occasional boogie board; whatever the conditions call for. Line-ups full of women make her heart full and she’s always ready for the next party wave. Breakfast, peeling left point breaks, and big afternoon naps are some of her favorite things in the world. You’ll find Kaira usually bouncing between Costa Rica and California. She is stoked to be on the SWA team so she can share her love for the ocean and surfing with so many amazing women.
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.