68 Yr Old Woman Surfs Giant Wave

I was talking to a group of Amigas recently who were asking about various aged participants and was reminded of this story. It’s such a good one that I wanted to share. Read below about the incredibly inspirational Genie!

Learning to surf after age 50

Genie learned to surf at age 50 in order to share the sport with her son who was a surfer. She then joined us on her first retreat in Nicaragua as a 67 year old, to take her surfing to the next level with a group of other supportive women, and practice yoga. We do often have ladies join us in their late 50s and even 60s, but Genie is a special case. Vivacious, hilarious, energetic, not to mention looking amazing in her bikini, we were all immediately so inspired.

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Genie Joins us In El Salvador

For Genie’s second retreat she joined us in El Salvador. The particular spot we were surfing is called Sunzal. It’s a very user-friendly spot in that the waves are relatively easy to surf and not very steep for the most part, BUT it is a swell magnet. Even if there’s no swell in the water at all, the waves will be head high. With an actual swell running, the spot will attract very large waves.

Overcoming Fear

No matter how big the waves are at Sunzal, there is always a wide open channel making it easy to paddle out. Easy, once you get past the shore break that is… On higher tides the shore break is massive. Powerful shore break waves pound against a steeply sloped rocky beach making for very exciting paddle outs and even more challenging paddle-ins. Not only do you have shore break to deal with, but a strong side-shore current that pulls you further down the beach where the shore break is even worse! Mistiming the exit to the beach means you get sucked down to a very dangerous spot and have to fight a very strong current to get back to the safer zone.

On the way out to the lineup, once you get past the shore break though, it’s smooth sailing and often a dry hair paddle out. At that point it’s just about trusting yourself and the instructors. The waves look enormous but the ladies who believed the instructors and in themselves, suspended their fear and just went for it, riding the biggest, longest waves of their lives. Genie was one of those.

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Holly points out the paddle out strategy before a great session. Note Genie in the flowered rash guard 3rd from left.

Our Instructors work hard to keep everyone safe

For the instructors, this particular week was a memorable one. With pumping swell every day, we definitely had our work cut out for us. We guided each guest through the shore break in each direction since it was tricky to navigate and we didn’t want anyone getting hurt. At one point, one of the girls was stuck in the side shore current and was getting pulled further and further South to a point where it would have been impossible to get in through the shore break without injuring herself and probably breaking her board. Her arms were exhausted and she just couldn’t fight it any longer. We had two of our instructors meet her and then they both paddled as hard as they could as she held onto their leashes until she was back in a safe place to make it to shore.

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Sunzal pumping.

Genie would go

Meanwhile outside, the other instructors were helping the Amigas to navigate the crowd and the sets. In order to catch a “cute one” you had to paddle in a bit and deeper towards the peak. The issue was that if you then didn’t catch one before the next set came, you’d be caught inside and have to duck dive or turtle roll some very big waves. It was an exciting game of cat and mouse. Move in for the cute ones, then out/over to avoid the set.

At one point Genie was caught inside on a large set. She tried her best to turtle roll but the 7’10 was ripped out of her hands and her leash broke. I was watching her and saw it happen. I thought to myself,

“Oh my god, we’ve got a 68 yr old woman on the outside with 10′ waves about to break on her head, and she has no board!”

I frantically paddled to her, thinking she’d be really nervous. But, Genie is a badass. She was fine, a little concerned, but not at all panicking. I gave her my relatively tiny 5’10 and helped her paddle to the safety of the channel, then I embarked on the long swim to the beach against the current, to find her board, then attach another leash and get back out to her so she could catch another wave. The next morning, Genie shook off the previous session’s issues, paddled herself into a giant wave and rode it all the way in!

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The biggest wave ever ridden by a 68 yr old woman who didn’t learn to surf until she was 50?! I think so!

Surf like genie

There are a few messages here. First, you’re never too old to learn to surf. Second, trust in your instructors, and yourself, and you will get the ride of your life.

After this retreat we decided to take a break from running retreats in El Salvador. The resort we used was comfortable, but not completely up to our standards, there were a few too many other people in the water, and those big waves were challenging for most of our guests. Maybe we’ll be back one day, but for now Nicaragua and Costa Rica can’t be beat as far as awesome conditions for both learning to surf and improving your skills. Genie has since joined us in Panama and Costa Rica, and at age 71 is coming this May to Southern Nicaragua to keep improving! Come join us and be like Genie!

If you do want to see the highlight video from the retreat (which unfortunately doesn’t show any of the drama or rescue missions, just the fun!) see below…

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Holly scored a good one between rescue missions.

Sonoma Academy High School Surf and Service Trip

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High School Surf and Service Trip

Last week we had a group of fifteen students and two teachers from Sonoma Academy visit Northern Nicaragua for a service learning trip. The goal was to surf as much as possible, learn about the culture and lifestyle of the people in Nicaragua and give back to the local community by helping to renovate a local elementary school.

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Learning to surf

Most of the girls had surfed once or twice before. They threw themselves into it fearlessly. Some days we had strong offshore winds which made for challenging conditions. There were some awesome rides and exciting wipeouts.

Galloping down the beach

One of the week’s highlights was our horseback ride down the beach. The girls were so excited to gallop along the shore that the ride was the longest in SWA history. There were certainly some sore backsides but also ear to ear smiles.

We stopped half way back for some fresh coconuts pulled from the trees and opened with machetes in front of us. One of the girls noted that a coconut like that would have cost $8 at Whole Foods! Nothing tastes better than fresh coconut water!

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School Restoration – High School Service Project

Surf With Amigas is partnered with the non-profit Waves of Hope on a variety of philanthropy projects in North Nicaragua. Aiding local education opportunities is a major focus. This week we put our energy towards renovating a local elementary school. The girls spent the week cleaning and painting so that the classrooms will be in great shape for the start of the new school year.

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The trip of a lifetime

Combining adventure, excitement, and the warm fuzzies of leaving a place better than you found it leads to the trip of a lifetime. The girls said every day that that day was the best of their lives.

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Surf Completely – Coco Chanel Paddle

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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!

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For more instructional videos, check out our Surf Completely page!

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Longboard Surf Coaching Retreat in Nicaragua

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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.

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Practicing paddle techniques in the pool during Paddle School!

Other Activities

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.

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Restorative yoga
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Shoulder opening class to stretch out tired surfing muscles.

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.

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Gorgeous sunsets every night.

Starting Oct 2018 – Our New Home Base in North Nicaragua

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The view walking down to surf.

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.

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User friendly waves for all ability levels at the bay.
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The view walking up to the boutique hotel space.

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.

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Rainy season views from the pool deck.

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 Camp in Costa Rica – The best surf coaching program

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Congratulations to Jackie and Hugo who are newly engaged and celebrated with a few party waves in Costa Rica.

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.

Uncrowded surf

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!

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The Best Womens Surf Coaching Program in Costa Rica

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One of our advanced level surf coaches, Michelle hits the lip with her longboard.

Surf With Amigas is the best women’s only surf coaching program in Costa Rica.

Our retreats are beneficial for surfers of all levels who want to improve their surfing. We focus on locations with awesome waves that are uncrowded and great for practicing. 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. After each session we will go over the video footage one on one so you can really see what you’re doing and what you could do better to take your surfing to the next level.

Check out this video highlight reel from a retreat in Costa Rica in November 2017.

Surf With Amigas creates a culture of support.

Aside from the best coaching, we have the most supportive atmosphere. Yes, it’s all focused on surfing, but there’s more to it as well. Evening chats with a glass of wine, working through fear together, talking story and lots of laughter. Come join our crew of adventurous Amigas!

Here’s just a sample in black and white, although the reality is a whole lot more colorful!

For more information on our Costa Rica Retreat Program, click here!

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A group of new friends.

Surf Retreats for All Levels Beginner and Advanced

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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.

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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.

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For more info on retreats like these check out our North Nicaragua Retreat Page!

Halloween Week Adventure

This video sums up all of the adventures that we offer during one of our womens surf yoga adventure weeks. We never seem to capture any footage of yoga since everyone is just enjoying and relaxing, but trust me there’s plenty of yoga too! This week included Halloween in case you were wondering about the face paint and costumes.
Always a good time!

Nov 4-11 Highlight Video – Surf Yoga Adventure Baby Turtles in North Nicaragua

At Surf With Amigas Surf Yoga Adventure Retreat for Women, we focus heavily on creating a culture of support and encouragement. When you get a great ride, or your first ride, or a big wipeout, the first thing you’ll hear is enthusiastic cheering from all your new Amigas! No matter what we are here to support you in achieving your goals. We’ll also give back to the local community, participate in a sea turtle protection program, do yoga, and have other awesome adventures.
This is the highlight video from the first week of November.