Who Are The Amigas? Meet Katie Choate

We’re back again to catch up with more alumni amigas that you may have met on your retreat!

Stay tuned for monthly stories and updates from our good friends across the globe.

Q: Think back to when you attended your first SWA retreat. Why did you book that trip? What was that first retreat experience like for you?

A: I suddenly lost my mom in September of 2018. I booked the Pavones retreat for May of that year. Being around womxm and learning from womxn is very comforting to me. I bonded with one of the surf instructors who had also suddenly lost her dad. It was special to be able to share those serious conversations but also share waves/beer/laugh with one another. It was an incredibly healing experience for me. (Hence why I booked the Morocco trip the week that I got home, haha.)

Q: Now that you’ve been on several SWA retreats, what keeps you coming back?

A: A lot of SWA retreat elements keep me coming back! I’ve become friends with the instructors, and it’s always fun to go on trips with friends… I honestly feel like the retreats are very reasonably priced for everything that’s included; instruction, video, food, lodging, yoga, etc… The destinations are so well researched and I feel like I’m set up for success… The food is delicious… Also, the retreats attract rad womxn!

Q: Describe the feeling you get from surfing…

A: Just, happy. I feel free and empowered and like I’m doing something I didn’t think I could do.

Q: What are you most passionate about in life right now? The SWA community wants to know!

A: Living in the Pacific Northwest, I’m most passionate about getting dialed in the backcountry (splitboarding, specifically). I’m spending a couple months with my partner in Revelstoke, British Columbia this winter so getting ready with continued avalanche awareness training, snow science education, and continuing to volunteer for Mt. Rainier Nordic Ski Patrol! I love snow.

Q: What is your dream SWA retreat location?

A: Batu Karas, Java

Q: What would you tell someone who is about to go on their first SWA retreat?

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Beany’s Animal Shelter Story: Falling in Love with Stray Cats and Dogs in Morocco

In this story you’ll take a trip to a village in Morocco alongside SWA coach Emma and join her as she falls in love with Moroccan strays and connects with a local animal shelter in an effort to help.

Here’s Emma’s story:

I landed in Morocco mid-September, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready for the start of another season with Surf With Amigas. I was greeted by couscous, a cornucopia of color and an astonishing amount of furry, four-legged friends. Reesie, Chloe and I spent 3 days in Marrakech where we learned cats were king, residents of every street corner and territorial savages when tajine scraps were on the line. 

From Marrakech we moved south to Imsouane, a village north of Agadir where we hold the SWA retreats. Waters once dominated by fishermen have transformed into Moroccan Malibu, with European tourists and soft tops flying about in the fog. 

Marrakech is to cats as Imsouane is to dogs (and some cats). That first morning in the few days before the start of the retreat we stayed at a cute hotel further down the cliff from the SWA retreat villa. Feeling underdressed and too awkward to make conversation with the European hipsters that make boho look elegant, I went to play with one of the stray pups rolling around in the dirt out front.

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Who Are The Amigas? Q&A with Roni Gold

We’re catching up with alumni amigas that you may have met on your retreat!

Stay tuned for more stories and updates from our good friends across the globe.

Q: Think back to when you attended your first SWA retreat. Why did you book that trip? What was that first retreat experience like for you?

A: I grew up in Florida, consistently around water. It has always kept me grounded and makes me feel at home. I learned to surf in college. It became my new passion and joy in my 20’s. I traveled and surfed after college and had the time of my life. While traveling I met my husband. We fell in love and had two boys. My boys changed my life. I became “mom” which was the greatest gift but my priorities were no longer surfing and traveling… life was all about raising them and working. I lost a little bit of who I was during that time and there came a point where I needed to get that back. That’s when I discovered SWA. I was nervous to travel alone again but as soon as I did it I felt alive! The girls at SWA immediately encouraged me to get out in the water. They made me feel comfortable surfing again and it was exhilarating!!

Surfing is like riding a bike in some sense but it can be scary to get back out there after a long hiatus, especially when you are alone. With SWA you are never alone. You always have a crew cheering you on. My soul was on fire again and I felt like I was no longer just “mom”, I was Roni. The girl who loves surfing, music, travel and adventure. The retreat only got better from there…I met some of the most interesting and inspiring women, ate excellent food, did yoga, went lava boarding (a first for me) and much more. The entire retreat was well organized and there was never a dull moment. I felt completely fulfilled when I returned home and could not wait for my next SWA experience!

Q: Now that you’ve been on several SWA retreats, what keeps you coming back?

A: These girls know waves! They know exactly what the tides will be, when to go out and where to go. I don’t even have to think about what board to use. They are so on it! It’s such a comforting feeling going out to a new break and having them guide you to the exact spot to sit to catch the best wave. They also know where it will be less crowded and where not to go. I seriously have the best time surfing with SWA guests and coaches. It’s just all around fun! I also love how they record your waves so you can really see how you surf and actually try to improve your surfing. But…that’s only 1 reason why I keep coming back. There are a million other reasons. : )

Q: Describe the feeling you get from surfing…

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How Does SWA Give Back to the Community in Northern Nicaragua?

Mujeres Que Mueven is a non-profit organization in northern Nicaragua that inspires and empowers women to better self-manage their health through movement, group support, and dietary awareness. This is just one of several organizations that SWA supports in rural northern Nicaragua. We believe that travel is more meaningful when you have a chance to give back and support programs that improve the lives of locals wherever you are.
When you join a surf with amigas retreat In nicaragua, this is how you’re helping give back!

Last year SWA funded Mujeres Que Mueven’s annual nutrition challenge, and we’re proud to be funding the event again this year! The inspiring event in the village of Aserradores gives local women access to a month-long intensive program that is focused on exercise, nutrition, healthy cooking, and healthy habit forming.

Aside from the annual nutrition challenge, Mujeres Que Mueven holds exercise classes every afternoon, and each month offers one educational workshop and one women’s night. The women’s nights are built around wellness practices that include affirmations, vision boards, empowerment circles, self massage, and reiki.

MQM is empowering women in rural Northern Nicaragua to take charge of their personal wellness to lead healthier and happier lives.

At many of the monthly workshops, Nicaraguan women are invited on behalf of the organization to come to the village and teach local women about nutrition and self care. An amazing workshop was hosted in April 2022 that focused on education about the menstrual cycle and how to use menstrual cups + period panties. Over 30 cups were donated by Lenacup and MQM purchased panties to give to the women who attended. Over 25 women from the surrounding area attended and there were even families of three generations. Check out a highlight of the incredible event here.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MUJERES QUE MUEVEN AND HOW TO GET INVOLVED, CLICK HERE.

Elevating Female Surfers Who Are Breaking Stereotypes: A Visual Project

When we’re asked to collaborate with a few inspiring women in Northern Costa Rica to support a project that elevates the reality of diverse lineups of female surfers, we immediately said YES.
Our friend Ivana +  her team recently created a set of fine photography prints (soon to be transformed into a gorgeous coffee table book) that are being used to tell a different story about women’s surfing than traditional marketing tells. The project is meant to encourage girls and women around the globe to free themselves of stereotypes and limitations of their engagement in sports and recreation.

Below you can learn more about the project from Ivana herself-

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