As our panga skimmed across the open expanse of the Gulfo Dulce in southern Costa Rica, I happily welcomed the view of the flat, glassy ocean that lay ahead. It pained me to admit it, but after months of non-stop surfing and coaching Amigas surf retreats, I had had a bit too much of a good thing. My paddle muscles were ready for a break and I couldn’t be more excited to enjoy some ocean time that didn’t involve waves.
I was on my way to participate in 4-day freediving and spearfishing course. Although I had no formal freediving or spearfishing experience (besides that which comes along with snorkeling or the occasional SCUBA dive), properly learning both was a goal scrawled in the pages of my journals from previous years. I planned on joining the group with two other friends, also with limited experience, but all of us eager to learn more about how to deliberately sink below the surface and stay there, using only the gifts of our bodies and breath.
My goal for the trip was to become better equipped with knowledge that would enable me to unlock a new facet of ocean experience. I’m no professional big wave surfer. I’m not accustomed to impressively long hold-downs, but still, I wanted to become more comfortable in the uncomfortable, not only in my surfing but also in the ocean in general. I’m also a fish lover and was excited to learn more about identifying fish and catching my own food, not just by standing on shore with a line in the water but totally immersed in the ocean, “evening the playing field” so to speak between the hunter and the hunted.
I feel that freediving, spearfishing, and surfing are three activities that perfectly blend. They are complementary, yet distinct avenues for engaging with the marine environment.
Mary joined us this season at the Southern Costa Rica Longboard Surf House with a few of her closest surf friends. These ladies surfed for hours every day and reminded us that it’s never too late to just go for it and try the things you’ve always dreamed of trying.
“I’m going to turn 70 and really what I think about is that it’s time to do everything that I really want to do. There’s no time a wastin’ here.”
What’s the key to keeping our lineups safe and fun?
Knowing and practicing surf etiquette! Familiarizing yourself with these unwritten rules of surfing will empower you to catch more waves, surf safely, and feel confident with other surfers in the lineup. Here are 3 easy-to-remember surf etiquette tips that every surfer should know.
Tip #1: Get to know your surf level
Whether you’re brand new to surfing, or already have some experience, it’s essential to find a surf spot that suits your skill level. Surfing at a break that’s right for you is the best way to avoid unwanted surf incidents- whether that means avoiding crowded lineups, difficult waves, sharp reef, etc.
It’s certainly courageous (and can be exhilarating) to push outside of your comfort zone and surf difficult waves! However, you should only really try to push these limits once you’re completely confident that you can control your surfboard and maneuver around other surfers or obstacles in the lineup.
So what’s the best way to find a surf break that’s right for your level?
One recommendation is to talk with experienced surfers in your area. If you’re at your local beach and wondering if the break or conditions are appropriate for your level, scope out an experienced surfer who’s close by and just start chatting! Chances are, they’ll be willing to point you in the right direction. If you’re at the water’s edge trying to decide if you’ve chosen the right spot, check out the other surfers in the water. Do you see anyone riding a similar surfboard? Do you see anyone at a similar level?
Unwind with another virtual Yin Yoga class brought to you by SWA instructor Reesie and her adorable lil’ pup Ruban. Although we can’t practice Yin Yoga in the jungle with all of you as usual right now, we’re stoked to have access to the next best thing… which is Reesie’s donation-based Yin class right at home! Good music playlist and all. This hour-long Yin style class is centered around the hips.
Reesie is accepting donations for her classes through Venmo (@cherise-Richards) or PayPal ([email protected]) but in her own words, “…if you can’t, dude I get it. Either way, hope this feels good!”.
If you missed Reesie’s most recent shoulder class, you can find it here. Enjoy!
How to Catch more waves with the Coco Chanel Paddle
Everyone knows the Coco Chanel logo right? The two interlocking Cs are not just a sign of luxury, but also a great way to paddle. If you want to have the most efficient paddle technique you need to increase the length of your stroke. Paddling in the shape of a C achieves that. If you use the Coco Chanel Paddle you’ll be covering more distance faster. That means more waves and fewer turtle rolls! This video will take you through some things to do and others to avoid to improve your paddle skills and have you catching more waves!
Why it’s best to learn to surf from women
At Surf With Amigas, we take a humorous approach to teaching surf skills. You’ll learn to turn with your boobs and to avoid paddling like a T-Rex. You’ll also hear that you should paddle like the Coco Chanel logo. Come learn and laugh with us! That’s the difference of a surf camp run by women!
The spot we surf in Northern Nicaragua for our women’s surf yoga retreats is ideal for improving your longboarding skills. This particular week in mid December 2017 had awesome super long lefts and rights that were great for all surfing levels. Some ladies were working on just standing up for the first time, while others were working on cross-stepping and trying to nose ride. No matter your current ability, we will individualize our coaching to make sure you get the help you need to achieve your goals.
Of course it’s not all about surfing. We also offered daily restorative yoga sessions, played kickball with local ladies, hiked and then boarded down a volcano, and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery of Nicaragua.
Check out the video highlights from the week!
Come and join us on our next retreat!
All our available dates are listed on the schedule page. We will be adding more for winter next year very soon.
Beginning October 2018 Surf With Amigas will be taking over a gorgeous ocean-front hotel in Northern Nicaragua as our new home base.
Stay with us for a surf yoga retreat in Nicaragua at our new retreat base and watch the waves at “the Bay” all day! The Bay is a sand bottom break that features great waves for experienced surfers and also super fun user-friendly waves for beginners. This is the very best spot to learn to stand up for the first time. It is also a great spot to work on nose riding, cutbacks, generating your own speed, and doing turns. This is the spot to surf twice a day.
Of course we’ll also do some driving and boating missions to surf other spots depending on conditions and desires of the group. There are lots of other surf options nearby. We are very excited about the ability to be in tune with the ocean, easily surf multiple times per day, and be on it whenever it’s good!
A Boutique Resort in Northern Nicaragua
The resort features four stylish ocean-view, thatch-roof cabanas. Each cabana has its own ensuite open-air bathroom, relaxing hammocks and lounge spaces. There’s a refreshing swimming pool for midday cooling dips. There’s a brand new ocean-view yoga studio, and stylish bar and restaurant space to enjoy healthy delicious meals.
We are excited to have the opportunity to curate the entire Surf Yoga Retreat experience from the vibe at the resort to the meals.
In the past we have partnered with resorts on a week by week basis using their restaurant and staff. This new situation will be all Surf With Amigas from the delicious healthy menu to the music playlist.
Fewer cabanas mean smaller groups and more retreat dates per year beginning mid October 2018. We’ll be updating the schedule and uploading more photos and videos soon!
Surf coaching retreats for women and men in Costa Rica
If you’re looking for high level surf coaching open to primarily women but also sometimes men, Surf With Amigas is the place! This particular video highlights a co-ed week that was open to women and their boyfriend, husband, brother, or best guy friend.
Surf With Amigas focuses on locations where we can take over the lineups and get a ton of waves. It’s true that Costa Rica can be crowded, but not every surf spot is full of people. We will find empty waves! The area we’ll stay is further off the beaten path of tourists. We will stay surrounded by jungle, watching monkeys jump from tree to tree. We’ll surf with sea turtles. We’ll watch scarlet macaws fly overhead.
For more information on our Costa Rican Retreats, click here!
Surf With Amigas is the best women’s-only surf coaching program in Costa Rica.
SWA Women’s Surf & Yoga Retreats are beneficial for surfers of ALL ability levels who want to improve their surfing- from those who are learning how to pop up to those who are practicing maneuvers like cutbacks and noserides. We tactfully choose our retreat locations in places with awesome waves that are great for practicing, plus we have the best female instructors on hand to watch what you are doing and offer tips. They will surf alongside you to inspire you, but also be right by your side as you paddle out and sit in the lineup. At SWA retreats one can expect to meet Amigas of all ages, sizes, backgrounds, and surf abilities.
SUPPORTIVE. INSPIRING. KNOWLEDGABLE.
Our diverse team of female surf coaches aim to ensure that every Amiga, in and out of the water, feels supported, encouraged, and well equipped with the tools they need to reach their personal surf goals. Aside from in-water coaching + guiding, we have daily post-surf video coaching and daily Yin style yoga classes to rest and recover. At all retreats we also provide a variety of classroom sessions where we’ll cover topics like surf etiquette, paddling techniques, cross stepping, how to read a surf forecast, and more.
SWA believes in doing good. With a conscious effort to positively impact the communities around us at all of our retreat locations, rest assured that when you travel with Amigas you’re bound to connect with the local communities and experience much more than just surfing and yoga.
Our retreat roster is always expanding. From Nicaragua and Costa Rica, to Panama, Morocco, and Indonesia, you can surf with Amigas all over the world.
Surf Retreats for all levels Beginner and Advanced.
Our Northern Nicaragua location retreats are great for surfers of all levels, beginner to advanced. We typically have mixed level groups including ladies who have never surfed before and ladies who have been surfing for years. The more advanced surfers come to take their skills to the next level or just make new surfing friends. This week was a great mix of both.
Late November is also one of the nicest times of the year in Central America with really clean medium sized waves, sunny skies, and great weather.
These retreats are all about empowerment, bonding, adventure, pushing yourself, and reviving your energy so that you go home ready to take on the world.
As you can see in the video, aside from surfing there will be other adventures. Want to gallop down the beach at sunset? This is the spot for you. We’ll also explore the old town of Leon, go volcano boarding, and learn to salsa dance. We’ll interact with the local community. We’ll eat amazing food. We’ll enjoy sunset cocktails. We’ll help you improve your surfing with one on one video analysis and targeted classroom sessions.
Since our team is made up of all women, we will support you in and out of the water. We’ll be happy to hear your stories and listen to what you’re going through. We will encourage you to achieve your goals whatever they are.