Surf With Amigas has a goal of partnering with local non-profits that work to improve the lives of community members in the places we host Surf and Yoga Retreats. Finding a trust-worthy non-profit, working on a project that we want to support, is easier in some places than others.
Luckily for us, our trip leader for the Peruvian surf retreats, Natalie Small, has been spending quite a bit of time in the country every year for nearly a decade, and has forged many strong relationships with the local women. First traveling to Peru as a tourist with a goal of checking out Machu Picchu in 2013, she fell in love with a seaside town that just happened to be the birthplace of surfing in the region. Natalie is the founder of Groundswell Community Project, a 501-c3 surf therapy organization and created a local chapter in Huanchaco with the goal of healing, empowering, and uniting local women and girls in the waves by making surfing accessible to them.
Surf With Amigas has been able to support the program by buying a quiver of boards for use during our retreats that will be donated to the collective. Two different local shapers made boards to allow the Hermanas to open the very first women-owned, women-run surf school and surf shop in Peru. How rad is that?!
If you’ve been on one of our retreats in Southern Costa Rica, you’ll recognize these awesome ladies as the ones who make your delicious meals, greet you with a smile at cocktail hour, and keep your room tidy. After watching all our awesome guests with big smiles on their faces after a great surf session, these ladies wanted to try it for themselves. We took them down to the beach and did a surf lesson as if they were guests, complete with a pre-session stretch and post-session video analysis. They loved it! It felt so good to share the stoke of surfing with our entire team.
Surf With Amigas has been sponsoring the Waves of Hope sea turtle conservation program since 2012. We just committed to another year doing our part to give back by supporting the program that buys baby sea turtle eggs from poachers turned conservationists to ensure there will be turtles in the lineup for years to come!
See below for the video we made way back in 2012 in our first year of the project. All the info is the same! If you’d like to participate in the release of baby turtles, join us for a retreat in Nicaragua.
At Surf With Amigas, we are always looking for constructive ways to engage with the communities where we host retreats. Whether it’s funding sea turtle conservation, donating school books to indigenous children, giving scholarships for higher education, or encouraging women to participate in sports by sponsoring a local ladies kickball team, we feel good about giving back wherever we are.
In this case, we have become friends with an amazingly inspiring woman named Hadas, who owns a vegetarian cafe and surf view cabanas as her day job, and offers art classes to kids and adults to feed her passion for art. She runs an open art studio called De Colores in Pavones, Costa Rica.
The art studio is dedicated to promoting well being and deep healing through the creative process of art making. That’s a goal we can get behind!
We are so happy to donate funds to support free art classes for local children to explore and express themselves through color, textures, and the allowance to get messy! Here are a few photos from a recent class.
By supporting us, you are supporting her, and thereby supporting them. Thank you!
Surf With Amigas is all about women’s empowerment, overcoming fear, supporting each other, and doing good. We discovered a sister organization with the same goals in the Groundswell Community Project and are teaming up to host a retreat in Northern Nicaragua the week of Oct 26-Nov 2 2019.
Groundswell Community Project Surf & Service Retreat
This retreat includes the intention is to provide a safe and brave space to dive deeper into self love, sea love, and surf-sisterhood together. Our time together will flow with daily meditation, yoga, environmental conservation and local community engagement projects, and of course…. opportunities to surf and explore the beauty that Nicaragua has to offer!
Our hope is that you not only have the most epic surfsister surf trip of your life, but also dive deeper into self love, sea love, and community through an enriched surf therapy experience in the warm water waves of Nicaragua.
The Retreat Experience
This retreat will be focused on surfing and yoga as always, however it will have a larger service component than our normal retreats with daily opportunities to connect to the local community and a focus on self-knowledge and growth.
Starting at $1500
Two way airport shuttle between resort and Managua International Airport (provided you arrive and depart on the designated days/times)
7 nights accommodation in shared cabana (available for 2-4 guests per cabana)
4 deliciously healthy fresh meals per day (early morning cold breakfast, hot brunch, lunch, and dinner, plus dessert)
Surf Therapy sessions are facilitated by licensed trauma informed therapists and surf coaches that hold intentional safe and brave space to invite your body, mind, and heart to join you in the process and adventure of surfing. Mother Ocean is a powerful therapy room! Be open and ready to see what waves of wisdom she has instore for you!
Ever since SWA hosted our first retreat at Coco Loco in November of 2010, it has been our home base in Nicaragua. We have had hundreds of guests come through and experience the wonderful place. While Surf With Amigas staff are the ones guiding guests out into the surf and through a yoga practice, it’s the smiling local men and women serving plates of delicious food, keeping rooms clean and comfortable, and offering to help whenever guests need anything that have made the retreats extra special. It’s been a team effort.
The People of Nicaragua need our help right now
Due to the ongoing civil unrest in Nicaragua (read more about that here), we moved all our summer retreats to Costa Rica. We are lucky in that we have the option of avoiding the security issues with a change in venue. We were obviously not the only retreat company to make that change, and therefore resorts have been empty or way under capacity. As a result, resorts are closing their doors and laying off valued staff who have been working at their jobs for over a decade. These people now have no way to support their families.
At Surf With Amigas, we love to find ways to help out the community members wherever we host retreats. That means anything from improving schools, to making sure indigenous kids have school books, to encouraging women in sports. On a retreat in July we had a couple of returning Amigas join us who work for Vans and one of them is also involved in a really cool non-profit called Boards for Bros.
Boards for Bros is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization fully committed to providing equipment, safe skate spots and youth mentoring originally in Tampa, Florida but now across the US and even internationally.
Why skateboards? The magic of a skateboard is that it a mode of transportation in addition to being a tool for play, a tool for discovery, a tool to develop physical skill, a tool to interact with others who share an interest in skateboarding, a tool to teach problem solving and a tool to teach perseverance . It is good for the mind and the body. It is fun. It can change someone’s life.
Sarah Turner and Megan Klempa came on their retreat with just a backpack full of their own gear and two suitcases filled with skateboards. One day during the retreat the Amigas assembled the boards and hooked up with some local kids at the new “End of the Road” skatepark in Asseradores. The ladies were blown away to see these super stoked kids skating barefoot, so much that Sarah and Megan immediately gave the kids the shoes off their own feet! (click play above for the video!)
If you’re coming on a retreat with us in Northern Nicaragua and have an old pair of skate shoes (or even just regular sneakers) lying around – particularly men’s sizes, but the boy’s aren’t picky if the shoes you bring are pink! – please bring them down and we’ll donate them to the skatepark!
As part of our dedication to give back and improve the lives of local people wherever we host retreats, Surf With Amigas supports educational opportunities whenever we can. In Nicaragua we work with Waves of Hope to rehabilitate (and in some cases build from scratch) local schools. In Costa Rica that means supporting a woman who has made it her goal to assure that all children have access to the materials that they need to learn, even if they are indigenous children living in areas so remote that there are not roads suitable to reach them.
Maryanne Aspinal (white shirt in photo above) is from a small town in the far South of Costa Rica located at the very end of a dirt road very close to where we host our Southern Costa Rican retreats. She has made it her mission to travel to the most remote schools in the country and assure that the children there are equipped with books. In some cases the schools she visits are only accessible by horseback or helicopter.
For every guest who attends one of our Costa Rican retreats, we sponsor one child with school books for the year.
She can always use more help. Contact Maryanne Aspinal if you’d like to contribute! [email protected]
Week one of our fall/winter season kicked off with a wonderful group of ladies including a group from Alaska celebrating a 50th birthday who fell in love with surfing, as well as some awesome returning Amigas. There was no shortage of activities from sailboat rides to helping out the local Nica Surf Club.
An amiga who joined us on a retreat last year shared this amazing story of a handful of young women breaking down traditional gender roles to follow their passions of having fun in the ocean while riding waves. In a place racked with poverty, where child marriages are all too common and young girls are forced into the streets to scrounge a living for themselves and their families, these girls have reconnected with having fun, have built confidence, and begun forming new dreams.
Read the article from the LATimes here. The inspired amiga Angie Christides who shared this with us has formed a non-profit called Pelican Crew (website in development) to bring surfing and other beach activities to underprivileged kids locally and internationally. She is holding a fundraiser in Los Angeles, Sunday May 22nd for the girls surf club in Bangladesh. Click here for the full flyer with more information on the event in .pdf form. Help young girls follow their dreams and connect with other awesome surfing women in the LA area by attending this event!