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!

Surf Etiquette Tips We Love

What’s the key to keeping our lineups safe and fun?

Knowing and spreading the unwritten rulebook to surfing- surf etiquette! So, here we are! Ready to pass down and circulate some surf etiquette/safety tips, for whoever may need it.

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 cool) to push outside of your comfort zone and surf difficult waves! You should only 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. 

What’s the best way to find a break thats right for you?

One recommendation, besides reflecting on your own surf sessions and experiences, 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. 

Tip #2: Practice reading the “lineup”

Getting to know your own surf abilities isn’t the only piece to the puzzle. It’s also important to pay attention to other surfers in the lineup! When you’re out in the water (and even before you paddle out) you should definitely be taking mental notes on the other surfers in the water.

Which surfers are the local legends? Are there any beginners? Who is catching the most waves?
Lineup by @holalenita

Paying attention to other surfers will help you to make better informed decisions about where to sit in the lineup and which waves to paddle for. Another perk? If you’re respectful and observant to others in the lineup, they’ll be respectful and observant right on back!

Tip #3: Avoid ditching your board

Here at Surf With Amigas we put it like this: “If your board is 9ft long and your leash is also 9ft long… that’s an 18ft radius of destruction”.  Learn how to turtle roll and do it often. It’s even fun to practice this technique with a surfboard in the pool! Don’t know how to turtle? Watch our tutorial here. It’s also important to practice how to dismount from your board at the end of your waves without launching the board into the air.

Keeping your board close by is extremely important when it comes to surf safety. If you see your surf buddies ditching their boards, spread the word! Give them the “radius” talk, then teach them how to do the turtle roll! 

Turtle Roll!

Surf safe. Be respectful. Have fun!

This Summer, B.Y.O. Everything to Combat Single-Use Plastics

In honor of Earth Day we teamed up with mom, surfer, and entrepreneur Audrey Hills, to talk about plastic consumption for beach-lovers like us.

There’s really no better way to end an epic day of surfing than a cold beverage and a tasty snack on the beach with friends.  But what happens when you show up unprepared for the sunset session?

Cheetos, McDonald’s, single-use sporks, and plastic bags happen.

Love it or hate, surfing is becoming more popular by the minute.  More surfers = more people using our beaches around the world.  While you may guard your home beach like a hawk, you might not be so protective of places you visit along the way.  Everyone who surfs has witnessed a pile of garbage by someone who didn’t care or know better.  

So, how do we fight the omnipresence of plastics in our ocean and on our beaches?

While organizations like the Changing Tides Foundation are able to appeal to people on mass through social media and campaigns like The Plastic Swear Jar Initiative that kicks off on Earth Day each year, they recognize that we’ve all got to do our part to change our own behavior.

That’s why this summer, you should join the B.Y.O. Revolution (we’re not talking about just wine)… 

If you already updated your consumption habits to include carrying reusable water bottles, coffee cups, straws, cutlery, or grocery bags, the next step is changing how you roll to the beach, on trips, and on adventures with food and drinks.

If you’re still stopping to grab something before you get to the beach from a burger joint, taco shop, or sushi spot, chances are you are served your grinds in some kind of non-reusable wrapping.  Many restaurants have switched to using recycled or biodegradable containers, but finding a recycling bin that will take those containers at the beach is very unlikely, especially if they haven’t been rinsed off.  So what do you do?  You do the “right thing” to keep the beach clean and chuck them in the bin, only to join the piles of containers in the landfill.

So, what should you do instead?

  • Invest in a decent cooler bag to bring your own food – it’s healthier, cheaper, and produces less plastic.  Bonus points if your cooler is made from sustainable materials and gives back, like this one.
  • Use reusable containers that you already have – mom’s Tupperware, cleaned out yogurt containers, previously used zip-lock pouches (the kind nuts come in) – to pack your own lunch and snacks.
  • Make it easy to use all your reusables like straws, cutlery, wine tumblers, etc. by storing them in your beach cooler.
  • If you have to stop and grab something ask the restaurant to box your food in your own container if they allow that.
  • Pack and carry home all your rubbish so that you can clean, sort, and reuse or recycle everything you have.
  • Never ever leave home without your reusable water bottle, if you have one like this Hydro Flask, you can use it for margaritas or hard kombucha later in the day because the stainless steel won’t take on the flavor the next day.
  • Take your reusable gear and a cooler on your surf trips this summer.  The countries where we love to surf the most are often the most damaged by plastic consumption.

While recycling all the things we use on daily basis seems like a great idea, the fact is that most of the things we try to recycle don’t actually get re-made into anything.  Of the 267.8 million tons of municipal solid waste generated by Americans in 2017, only 94.2 million tons were recycled or composted according to the EPA. In fact, only 8% of plastics used were actually recycled.

In foreign countries, recycling is as rare as a toilet you can put toilet paper in.  If you have traveled to remote surf destinations in places like the Philippines, Indonesia, Panama, or Mexico, you will have seen firsthand the effect of plastic waste on our favorite waves and nearby communities. 

The point is that the less you use, the less you have to try to recycle (or falsely believe that you recycled).

With more surfers in the world than ever before, we know our beaches will take a hit.  That’s why you should set an example for the newbies by packing in any trash you bring to the beach and by planning ahead to create less waste in the first place. 

You really can’t lose bringing your own everything because it not only means cleaner oceans, it means you’ll eat healthier and have more energy for your next shred session.  Plus, you’ll always be prepped to enjoy one of the world’s greatest simple pleasures: a cold beer when you come in from a surf.

___

BIO

Audrey Hills is a Californian attorney living in Sydney, Australia with her two children.  Audrey is an avid surfer and is committed to combating ocean plastic pollution and establishing a woman’s place in the water.  She recently launched the Coolio and her company, Everyday Makai on Kickstarter and was 100% funded within 24 hours. She also runs a blog dedicated to mothers who surf, travel, and refuse to lose their wild side called Surf Stoked Moms.

Please check out the author’s Kickstarter Campaign which ends April 28, 2021.  She has created a lightweight cooler bag called the Coolio that is made from recycled materials.  The Coolio is aimed to change beach and surf travel habits by encouraging surfers to bring their own everything.  

 

 

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 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.

Sunrise surf in 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

Inspiring, right?

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

Improve Your Bottom Turn with These 4 Steps

The bottom turn. It’s the setup for most maneuvers in surfing. Want to get barreled? Do a cutback? A snap off the top?

A good bottom turn will set you up for success

We know its not as simple as it sounds, so here we are. We encourage you to play around with these techniques. Consider how your board feels different under your feet each time you try something new, and practice, practice, practice.

Below are 4 simple steps to improve your bottom turn:

  1. Keep your back foot on the tail pad

The tail (back end) of the surfboard is the point where the board pivots and turns. If your stance is in the middle of your board and your back foot isn’t placed on the tail pad, you may notice that the board feels stiff and difficult to turn. If you don’t usually get your foot all the way back there, just start here! Practice this. Notice how the board starts to respond differently. Just get used to placing your foot back there, then move on to step 2.

  1. Position yourself at the bottom of the wave

Mid-wave bottom turns just aren’t as good. Why? If you’re already halfway up the wave, there’s not much space to really set up for a good turn! The best a mid-wave bottom turn will ever produce is an average horizontal cutback. Try to get speed and pump yourself down to the bottom of the wave to set up for the bottom turn. This will ultimately give you more space on the wave to work with and result in a bigger, better maneuver.

  1. Touch the wave with your inside hand/fingertips

Once you’re positioned at the bottom of the wave, try to reach your inside hand or fingertips down to touch the wave. This will automatically pull your chest down closer to the wave and get you in a lower stance. It also creates a pivot point on the wave. Creating this pivot point will not only give you more control, but will help direct the nose of your board more vertically up the wave. Getting the hang of this is seriously a game-changer! When you try it out you’ll know what I mean. It may be a technique that you’ve never even noticed before, but after reading this I encourage you to go watch a few surf videos (of short boarders) and you’ll notice that talented surfers do it on almost every single wave.

  1. Look up (or ahead) at the section on the wave that you want to go to

The momentum from your bottom turn needs to take you somewhere! As you reach your inside hand into the water you should already be looking up (or ahead) at the part of the wave you’d like to go to. The purpose of a bottom turn is ultimately to set up for a barrel, snap, or cutback. Keep this in mind and keep your eyes on the prize as you set it all up.

 

We hope this 4 step guide to improve your bottom turn is helpful and encouraging. If you try out these techniques and they work for you, please share with us! If you’d like for us to break down another surf maneuver, contact us here.