Holly Beck Offers Holistic Surf Coaching in Huntington Beach

holly beck, groundswell, surf therapy, coaching

After 11 years living full time in Central America running Surf With Amigas Retreats, our founder Holly Beck is headed back to CA for at least a year. She is working on earning a Master’s in Counseling with plans to become a licensed therapist focusing on surf therapy.
Holly says,

“The ocean has saved me so many times in my life. From dealing with childhood trauma, relationship breakups, the loss of a family member, and even just day to day struggles, the ocean has always been the place I’ve gone to find healing, clarity, release, and play. I’ve been excited to learn about mental health counseling strategies to combine with my experience in surf coaching. I’ve been working with a friend to create a holistic surf coaching program that I’ll be offering while I’m in California.”

holly beck, mamala wetsuits, surf therapy, surf coaching, California

Holly has teamed up with the crew at Groundswell Community Project, a 501c3 non-profit that provides research-based surf therapy curriculum and programs that are rooted in somatic, trauma-informed, nature, and community therapy models to best support the holistic healing of womxn and their communities overcoming various forms of trauma and its mental health effects. Holly will be volunteering to assist Groundswell with their existing programs for underserved communities who may have never even been in the ocean, as well as helping to develop programs for women who already have a surf practice.

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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.  

 

 

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 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!