Each time you join a SWA retreat, you help to support important projects that impact the local communities aT our retreat locations.
For several years we’ve been supporting an amazing sea turtle conservation project in Punta Banco, a small beach community in Southern Costa Rica near one of our retreat locations. The project not only helps protect turtles from environmental threats and human consumption but also provides work opportunities for locals in the community. During retreats we’ve been lucky enough to watch the organization grow and help release hundreds of baby sea turtles alongside local volunteers.
In the last 7 years the project has been completely in the hands of the local environmental commission, which is part of the Punta Banco neighborhood association. While the focus with other organizations in the past used to be “just” conservation, the project now also tries to leave a positive socio-economic impact on the village community.
The project is almost fully funded by private donations which help the organization build hatcheries and pay local volunteers. Click here to learn more about the Punta Banco Sea Turtle Conservation Project and how you can support by adopting a sea turtle nest or donating to the project.
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.”
Mamala Surf is an independent wetsuit company that’s making premium wetsuits, specifically designed for women. We had the pleasure of meeting the founder of Mamala Surf, Angela, this spring at one of our Longboard Surf House Retreats in Southern Costa Rica.
We’ve tried them, and we love them!
They’re lightweight, high quality, and perfect to use as your daily suit or travel suit. Most importantly, Mamala Surf wetsuits are designed for women. Sleek black wetsuits with an epic shark/mermaid logo displayed on the leg anyone? It’s a company we are SO happy to support!
Surf With Amigas is offering our first ever Surf Therapy Retreat in partnership with Groundswell Community Project the week of June 11-18, 2022 at our Longboard Surf House location in Southern Costa Rica
WHAT IS A SURF THERAPY GROUNDSWELL + SWA RETREAT?
OUR GOAL WITH OUR SURF THERAPY RETREAT IS THAT YOU LEAVE WITH A SUSTAINABLE SURF PRACTICE ROOTED IN SELF LOVE, SEA LOVE AND SISTERHOOD.
Groundswell + SWA Surf Therapy Retreats are facilitated by licensed clinicians and surf coaches that create a safe space for you to be brave and wild as you explore your truest self expression in the waves and the world.
Surf therapy is for all surf experience-levels. Each retreat combines surf therapy rooted in somatic mindfulness practices, yoga/meditation, SWA’s highest standard of surf coaching, community engagement to support local women’s health and ocean health, and unforgettable adventures that will bond you with your new life long surfsisters.
Our surf therapy retreat and trauma informed instructors are here to support you in building the skills for working with trauma, anxiety, triggers, grief and mental blocks in the waves and back on land to enhance your relationship with self, others and the earth. We believe that surfing mother oceans waves is a powerful tool for reclaiming your healing, power, and belonging and can not wait to paddle out with you!
14 charging amigas + 1 super cool amigo joined us at the Northern Nicaragua retreat location for a week-long shred fest! We had a record breaking week with the most tubes ever ridden, the gnarliest waves ever taken, and the best turns ever completed. This inspiring group of surfers spent the week pushing their limits and supporting each other along the way. We can’t wait to do a retreat like this again!
Enjoy this recap of the Advanced Retreat shred-fest in Nicaragua!
Most of our retreat locations are open to surfers of ALL levels and have plenty of shortboard-able waves close by. If you’re a fellow shortboarder and feel inspired to join a retreat and level up your technique, contact us here to see which retreat might be the best fit for you!
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?
What surf specific exercises can I do to prepare for my retreat?
Surf With Amigas’ head yoga instructor Reesie just made this perfect compilation of workouts and stretches that you should do to prepare for your next retreat with SWA. Expect to do pop-up practice, stabilizing core workouts, and a few juicy hip openers. After completing the exercises in this video (a few times) you’ll be ready to go!
Interested in more surf-related tutorials or workouts? Let us know!
There’s no shortage of inspiration when we look at the lives of SWA’s Co-Owners, Jackie George and Holly Beck. Now that you’ve all met Jackie, we’re excited for you to learn more about SWA’s founder, Holly! This former pro-surfer and mom of two has many incredible stories to tell.
MEET HOLLY BECK
Hometown: As a child, Palos Verdes, CA. Currently rotating between Aposentillo, North Nicaragua and Pavones, South Costa Rica.
How did you learn to surf? Well my mom told me that surfing was for boys, not something a nice young lady should be doing, and that if I surfed, I’d never get a boyfriend. “You should be sitting on the beach looking cute in a bikini, not out competing with the boys.”
By the time I was 15 I’d bought myself a board and wetsuit from a garage sale and had friends with licenses to drive me to the beach. I was still a little wary that no one was going to like me if I surfed though, especially since there were very few girls that surfed in the mid 90s. Luckily, a couple of boys from the surf team took me in and I threw everything into surfing. I was totally obsessed. I papered my walls in surf mag photos, did every school report I could on something related to surfing, and really found healing in the ocean. I picked it up quickly and started competing right away. I got 2nd place in my first contest and then became super driven to get better and win!
Favorite board at the moment? I like to ride different things. I get tired of any one feel. I’ve been riding a 5’4 round tail twin fin quite a bit lately, but also enjoying the glide of finless boards.
What’s playing on the speaker while you gear up for a surf? I’ve been into Rising Appalachia. Folky, female, and has a bit of a political stance.
If you could have one super power, what would it be? To travel through time and space with the snap of a finger. Go back to that swell last week in Nicaragua and get tubed. Dip over to Pavones when it’s firing. Go give my kids a quick cuddle when they’re spending time with their dad, etc.
Dawn patrol or sunset session? Dawn patrol without question.
Name a surfer that inspires you- I love the way steph gilmore is always smiling, plus her super stylish but also radical approach to riding waves. My favorite male surfers are the ones that ride everything, can be goofy, but also rip. Ryan Burch and Rob Machado.
Wildest surf story… go! Ooooo that’s a tough one. I have a lot of really wild surf stories from when i was on tour. Lately surf stories are a lot more tame, especially since I often have kids along for the ride. Probably the wildest story lately was when I was at the beach with my kids and the swell was pumping and my almost 4 yr old grom Soleo really wanted to surf.
I had a 7’6 with us on the beach. The waves were overhead and peeling down the line but there was a good channel and I knew the spot well (and most of the people who were out). I put him on the nose of my board and we paddled out. We had to pop over a couple big whitewash waves but then we paddled super fast between sets and made it out. We waited and waited, and people were tripping on us being out there in such big waves. Finally, a good one came. There was someone on it, but it was a friend that I knew wouldn’t mind us sharing. We dropped in on a well overhead wave and rode it all the way down the point. Soleo was super stoked and so was mom!
To learn more about the other amazing surf ladies that make up the SWA team, click here!
They’re the SWA power duo! Surf With Amigas Co-Owners, Jackie George and Holly Beck, have been running ladies surf & yoga retreats together for almost 10 years. Both ladies typically split their time between Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and California- running retreats, surfing, and living the sweet & simple life.
We think you’ll love this Q&A with them. First up is Jackie!
Meet Jackie George
Hometown: San Clemente, California
How did you learn to surf? I grew up at the beach and learned to surf so young that I barely remember learning! I do remember early mornings at San O with my dad and his buddies. I remember the doyle sessions at Junior Lifeguards. I remember my first real surfboard was the Hobie Peter Pan Slug (still love that board). I didn’t really take surfing too seriously until High School, when my girlfriends and I would get dropped off at Trestles and spend long days on the beach. We all loved surfing and pushed each other to get better. To this day, we’re still close friends and love surfing together.
Favorite board at the moment? My new Christensen log that I scored in a trade. I’ve also been indoctrinated into the twin fin revolution program here in Costa Rica.
What’s playing on the speaker while you gear up for a surf? Cardi B, Yoncé, or some dirty dirty dancehall beats. I’m also always up for praising Jah a bit before a surf.
If you could have one super power, what would it be? Teleportation. Or breathe underwater. Or know every language.
Dawn patrol or sunset session? DP is always more reliable… but when sunset comes together, it doesn’t really get much better.
Name a surfer that inspires you: I’m inspired by the people that can surf any craft in any conditions and have a good time. I’m inspired by the people twice my age that can surf twice as long as me, and I’m inspired by the people that only come out when the waves are properly pumping. I love watching good longboarders ride shorter boards in heavy waves. I’m a sucker for a relaxed style, and anyone that can do a cheater five in the tube. I’m also inspired by ladies that come on the retreat and look at surfing with a fresh perspective. Inspo everywhere!
Favorite quote: “Be here now.”
Stay tuned for the next Q&A with SWA’s other half, Holly Beck!
We are really missing early morning coffee chats while quickly applying sunscreen for a dawn patrol surf session, second breakfast stories of the awesome rides and hilarious wipeouts, video analysis of everything that went right and how to improve, delicious healthy lunches catering to any dietary preferences, afternoon paddle outs with supportive new friends, waterfall hikes, horseback beach gallops, chocolate workshops, meditative relaxing yin yoga sessions, cocktail hour laughs and impromptu dance parties, sunset appreciation, and chatter-filled dinners looking forward to the next day of adventure.
It’s been five months without a retreat and we are eager to get back into the swing of things. We have been monitoring borders closely and wanted to send out a hopeful update to those of you on our credit list and everyone in desperate need of a warm water vacation!
Costa Rica – The good news is that Costa Rica has started welcoming back foreign tourists including Americans!!! As of Nov 1, ALL Americans will be able to travel directly to Costa Rica!!! In order to enter, you must produce a negative COVID PCR test result from within 72 hours of the start of your travel (checking in for your flight) and buy a specific travel insurance to cover any potential medical fees and extended hotel stay. There is no quarantine required. For information on exactly what is required to enter (Covid test, medical form and insurance, click here: Entry Requirements)
Nicaragua – The borders were never officially closed, but the airport did stop operating which was an effective closure since there was no way to fly in. As of now the airport is open and tourists are welcomed as long as they provide a negative COVID test result, but the government is making it very difficult for commercial airlines to operate due to very restrictive rules. As a result, there are not many commercial airlines flying. Avianca began flying in mid September and more airlines are planning to begin flying in October. If you are signed up or looking at a retreat, do not be fooled by available tickets on an online search. Message us for the current updates on which airlines are actually flying! We will host our first retreat Nov 21-28 at our Eco lodge location!
Panama – There is also an absence of information regarding the planned border opening for Panama. Right now only citizens and residents are allowed to enter. The border closure to tourists was just extended at least until October 12. We are watching closely and will keep you updated once we know of a firm date for reopening and what the rules will look like.
Morocco – We had scheduled to host our first fall retreats in Morocco in October. Based on discussions with our partners there on the status of the borders and tourism restrictions, we have decided to postpone those retreats for a full year. We have yet to finalize the exact dates, but they will likely be the first two weeks of October 2021.
Indonesia – We are still on a “wait and see” pattern here. We have up to two years to use our credit with the resort and are aiming to schedule retreats sometime between May and July 2021. We will be working to choose dates over the next couple months and will let you know asap.
In the meantime, thank you all for your patience and support. We are working on some fun things to be able to connect to our Amigas. Let us know if you have any questions and stay healthy!