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.

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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.  

 

 

Surf Tips: Learning How to Cross Step

The cross step. Both graceful and functional, it’s how us long boarders really use the entire surfboard, from front to back & back to front. It’s how the most talented surfers dance and trim their way to the nose.

Ready to transform your longboard shuffle into a graceful cross step? Keep reading.

Surf Instructor Shelly cross stepping through Costa Rica
Start here: Practice on land!

Repetition of the cross step (or any technical surf skill) on solid ground will implant the physical movements into your muscle memory. If you can master the cross step on land, you’ll have a better chance of accessing the fancy footwork once on your surf board.

Cross step as you walk through the kitchen, while checking the waves, or while playing on your yoga mat. Practice it everywhere! Once the movement feels completely fluid and natural you can take it to the water.

The Setup:

The cross step setup goes like this- First, drop into your wave and get going down the line. Think about placing your feet closer to the inside rail of your surfboard, the rail that’s tucked into the wall of the wave. Then, it’s all about the stall. Shift your weight onto your back foot in order to slow down and steer the board up towards the top third of the wave. The stall often resembles a bottom turn, depending on the size and shape of the wave.

Surf instructor Chloe demonstrates the stall
Taking the Step:

After the stall, it’s time to take the step(s). Shift your hips forward then let the feet follow. The back foot crosses over the front. To start, just cross your feet, hold, then right step back into your normal stance. Step lightly. Once this movement feels more comfortable, try and take a few more steps. The end goal is to take as many steps as needed (usually 2 or 3) in order to get your toes all the way to the nose.

Check out this video of SWA Co-Owner Jackie styling through a stall-to-cross-step combo during a Surf With Amigas Morocco retreat.

 

*As always, remember to take it slow, laugh through the wipeouts (there will likely be a lot of them), and surf with other ladies who inspire you to surf more + have fun!

Interested in nose riding? Stay tuned for a deep-dive on nose riding practice in the weeks to come.

 

 

 

 

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.

3 Simple Tools: Overcoming Surf Anxiety

It’s totally normal. It happens to all of us.

Standing on the beach and watching the waves with butterflies going crazy in your stomach. Paddling halfway to the outside only to turn back around out of fear or anxiety. Or making it to the outside but then feeling too far out of your comfort zone to catch any waves. 

Here are three tools that may help you overcome anxiety in the ocean so you can tap into the joy of surfing and catch more waves.

  1. Surf with friends (aka, surf with amigas!)

So much pressure is taken off when there’s a familiar face in the water. Surfing with friends means that someone can keep an eye on you, while you keep an eye on them. It also means that you can encourage each other to catch waves, cheer each other on, and laugh at the wipeouts together. Wiping out without a friend close by just isn’t the same. If you can’t line up a surf session with a friend, the next best thing you can do is chat with another surfer in the water. This will immediately take the edge off. Not to mention your new buddy will also be more likely to share a few waves with you!

  1. Spend time swimming and playing in the ocean

Surfing comes with many challenges. Surfers have to learn how to read waves, build up paddle and core strength, be able to steer clear of other surfers in the water, and overcome big wipeouts, to name a few. We can all agree that it’s hard. Swimming and playing in the waves (close to shore) is a great way to open up a more playful mindset while you’re in the ocean. Laughing loud, jumping over and swimming under waves, body surfing in the shore pound, laughing loud all over again. These are just a few things that will not only teach you how to tap into a more relaxed and playful approach to surfing, but will also build your confidence in reading waves and being underwater.

  1. Just breathe

Although this one’s a no brainer, it’s hard to remember to just breathe when you’re amidst the chaos! Deep, slow breaths will calm your nerves and get you re-centered. Try taking a few deep breaths every time you reach the outside and have a chance to sit up on your board. This will help to get rid of any panicky feelings you have and put you back in the zone. Try to make this a consistent practice.

We hope these simple tools help you calm your nerves and tap into the joy of surfing and ocean-play. If you try one of these tools and it works, we’d love to hear your story! If you have other practices that have worked for you, we’d love to hear about those too.