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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Listen to Holly Beck on the Kookcast Podcast

Surf With Amigas Founder Holly Beck has many stories to tell. She recently chatted with Coach Chris on the Kookcast podcast to about her life as a professional surfer, owner of Surf With Amigas, and surf therapy facilitator. Listen in on real conversations about women’s surfing, overcoming fear, and more.

Click below to listen!

Founder of Surf with Amigas: Holly Beck

It’s Never Too Late to Become a Surfer: Mary’s Story

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.”

Enjoy Mary’s surf story below

Inspiring Surfers: Advanced Tube Riding Retreat

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!