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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Under The Sun in MOROCCO: The Amiga Experience

Take a behind the scenes look at our Amiga Jaclyn’s first time retreat experience in Morocco!

Hello readers, thank you for being here and partaking in what I am about to share about my magical experience as an Amiga. This past September 2022 I had the great privilege of joining a retreat on my maiden voyage with SWA for their first-week session in Morocco. My name is Jaclyn Burke, and I am a San Diego native born and raised the daughter of a lifeguard and two goofballs that met on the beach during the 70s in a once sleepy surf town.

As a person that has been on many different surf trips, I have normally spent my time planning adventures to many wonderful tropical locations. Surf With Amigas came very highly recommended to me and I was intrigued and curious about the idea of an all-inclusive surf adventure where I just showed up and did not have to plan anything.

I knew wanted to do a surf trip, but I wanted something different.
The moment I saw the trip posted on the SWA website I knew wanted to go to northern AFRICA.

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Q&A with Holly Beck: From Pro Surfer to Surf Therapy Intern

After a career as a professional surfer, SWA Founder Holly Beck ran off to Central America to find herself. She built Surf With Amigas (and a family) over the course of 11 years living between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. In 2021 she decided to move back to calling California home base.

The ocean was always a place holly went to escape and find healing.

Now, she’s pursuing a Master’s in Counseling on the path to become a licensed surf therapist. She’s interning with Groundswell Community Project and partnered with Jess Ripley to create and lead surf therapy programs in Southern California.

Q + A with Holly

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in working with women in the world of holistic surf coaching?

A: After spending the last 12 years involved in surf coaching, i’ve realized that beyond the physical tips like looking down the line, putting more weight on the front foot, and all the other common bits of coaching advice that i’m typically giving Amigas, there is often a mental component as well. Whether it’s the un-helpful voice of our inner-critic, a fear of bigger waves, anxiety about getting in someone’s way, etc., there’s a lot going on in our heads that affects our surfing performance. I’ve been really interested in exploring that internal stuff both in my own life and then also adding it to a coaching program to create a more holistic approach to surf coaching that would be even more effective in the water, but also spill over into benefits to someone’s personal life as well.

Q: You’ve made a few big career changes in the past year. Looking forward, what are you most excited about?

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Surfing with Shelly in Morocco

With a gorgeous cliffside backdrop, super stylish surfer, and phenomenal videographer, this windy afternoon in Morocco was a recipe for greatness. Well, now that I think of it, the entire retreat season was destined to be great!

The retreat setup looked like this: We surfed long, peeling rights every single day, then relaxed at the luxury villa in between sessions. We explored old cities and shopped for Moroccan treasures, then slid down sand dunes at sunset. We laughed, cried, danced, and ate a TON of amazing food. For each and every one of us, it was the surf adventure of a lifetime.

Enjoy this video of SWA surf coach Shelly Massie taking an afternoon slide at our retreat location in southern Morocco
To learn more about our 2022 Retreats in Morocco, click here.

*videos captured by @itchyfeetmood & @amine_nader_photography

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