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.

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

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…

Continue reading “Who Are The Amigas? Q&A with Roni Gold”

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!

3 Surf Etiquette Tips That Every Surfer Should Know

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?  

Tip #2: Practice reading the “lineup”

Continue reading “3 Surf Etiquette Tips That Every Surfer Should Know”

Preparing for your Retreat (Workout Video)

Frequently asked question:

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!

Meet the Owners: Holly Beck

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.”

Holly with her first surfboard

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 AS YOU’RE GEARING 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 SUPERPOWER 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.

Holly Beck Surf Nicaragua

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!

Holly and Soleo surfing in Pavones

For A full Video Interview Check out THe SWA Collective

To learn more about the other amazing surf ladies that make up the SWA team, click here!

Meet the Owners: Jackie George

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.

Meet Jackie George

HOMETOWND: 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 WHEN 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 SUPERPOWER, 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.

Jackie George Surf With Amigas

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.”

Check out the Q&A with SWA’s other half, Holly Beck!

Surf Tips to Improve Your Take-Off

After any surfer learns how to take off and drop into green waves, the next logical skill to learn is how to surf down the line. But, as we all know, learning how to go down the line and surf on the open faces of your waves is not as easy as it sounds.

If you are dropping in, getting stuck behind in the white wash, and are unable to reach the open faces of your waves, this tutorial is for you!

The video below is an oldie but goodie. Former SWA instructor Britney runs through tons of helpful surf  advice that will help you improve your take-off. The best part? The video includes real-life video examples for each surf tip that’s provided.

 

We hope this tutorial helps you rack up your number of epic down-the-line waves! As always, if you have more video tutorial requests, contact us here.