The secret to improving is to come on a retreat with us, then go home, practice, and come back again! Seriously though, the true secret to improving is having a great attitude. On our last couple retreats in El Salvador we had several girls come on their second retreat and I was totally blown away not only by how much they had improved since I’d last seen them but also how much more they improved over the course of the week.
I started wondering what it was that was different about these particular girls. Were they more gifted athletes? Were they just trying harder? Did they have super powers?
I realized that the secret was attitude. Firstly, they really wanted to improve. They were willing to put in the time and effort to take their surfing to the next level. Second, they listened to feedback. It’s always surprising to me when ladies come on retreats claiming they want help, but when I offer suggestions they argue with me. I’ll give a recommendation and then they’ll respond with a list of reasons why they couldn’t, wouldn’t, or shouldn’t. Those types have a hard time improving. The girls featured in the video took suggestions in and put them them into practice right away, and you can clearly see the awesome results.
Third – they spent a lot of time in the water. These girls were the first in, and the last out. After catching one good wave, they didn’t just go in and figure that was good for the day, they paddled back out looking for another.
Watch the video and be inspired!
Recently we had an Amiga from Western Australia visit us for a week in El Salvador. She had quit her job and decided to embark on a journey around the world to surf and explore. You can read about the whole journey on her blog.
After Rebecca’s trip she emailed me to say thanks and also to ask for 1 thing that she could work on back at home in order to continue to improve her surfing. Rebecca is a yoga teacher, she’s super fit, has been surfing for a few years, and she brought a thin, narrow shortboard on the trip. My response was as follows:
“ Hey Bec,
I think one of the things you could work on is to relax and not be as serious about it. I feel like you are a perfectionist which is what makes you so awesome at things but in your surfing it may lead you to get frustrated which is counterproductive.
You’re surfing really well I thought but riding a thicker/wider – but not longer – board might help too. Your board doesn’t carry speed very well because it’s thin, so you have to work really hard to make sections. You looked really good on those longer boards that you rode, but they were so long. Riding something like 6’0 or 6’1 but 19″ x 2.5 or even 2.25 thick might really be awesome. If you have mates at home with boards like that you should ask them to try theirs to see how it feels.
Ok, I know that was more like two things, but in the end it just comes down to enjoying it and having fun!
That response sums up the advice that I have for multiple Amigas. I’ve noticed that the girls that improve the most have a few things in common.
1. When we give feedback, they don’t make excuses. They don’t take the criticism personally. The say “ok, cool, thanks” and then immediately try to implement the advice.
2. They don’t get down on themselves. They think positively. They don’t say “I can’t do it” or even “I’ll try” but “I will do that on the next one”. The way we talk to ourselves makes a difference. If you say “I can’t” you’re right. Saying “I’ll try” leaves room for failure. If you say, “I will” then you will, maybe not that very next time, but eventually you will!
3. Don’t get too caught up in trying to ride a board that’s not right for you because it’s cool or it’s what you have. Finding the right board for you whether it’s a longboard, fish, or fun shape, will allow you to get the best waves and thus have more fun.
4. Remember that it is all about fun. With a smile and happy attitude, none of the rest of it really matters. If you’re having a good time, you’ll surf longer, be happier, and enjoy improvement.
To read the blog posted by Bec on this subject, click here.
Check out the video highlights of Rebecca’s sessions in El Salvador
Picking the right surfboard can be challenging. Ideally you’d test drive before you buy, but unfortunately that’s rarely an option. I get a lot of ladies asking me for advice on the perfect board. It seems that most advanced beginners (someone who can paddle beyond the whitewash and is trying to catch green waves) are dealing with similar issues. They want to be able to ride a board small enough to duckdive but big enough to allow them to catch a wave.
That perfect combination can be a tricky thing to find. I often see ladies picking boards that are too small for them just so that they can duckdive, but what good is getting out past the whitewash if the board is too small to get them into waves?
The solution: get a Rusty Dwart!
The Dwart is a surfboard model by Rusty Surfboards that is relatively short, wide, and thick. It’s short enough to duckdive, but still wide enough to have sufficient volume for paddling into waves and gliding across mushy sections. Most Dwarts come with 5 fin boxes so you can experiment with the fast and loose feel of a quad setup, or the traditional but stiffer tri-fin.
See video above for Lindsay talking about why she loves her Dwart as she shreds on wave after wave in El Salvador.
If you want to see why I love my Dwart, click play below!
Rox grew up in the Philippines with strict parents that claimed surfing was too dangerous. When she was 27 she moved to San Francisco and as soon as she got a car she also got a surfboard, and finally followed her dream of learning to surf. Two years later, she is loving her life spent in the ocean as much as possible. She came to Nicaragua to improve and loved it, especially the horseback riding.
I grew up in Southern California but my mom also thought surfing was too dangerous for a nice young lady. Fortunately I only had to wait until I was 15 and I had friends with cars until I could disobey my parents and go surfing. I was so inspired to hear Rox’s story because I could definitely relate.
It’s never too late, and anything is possible!
Holly Beck, Kim Mayer, and Jen Smith are pro surfers who also love skateboarding. They are part of the Sector 9 girl’s team and went to Ecuador with skate and surfboards to surf with seals and hang out with marine iguanas. Check out part 1 of the adventure.
Jackie George has been working with me this season teaching amigas how to become better surfers. She is super awesome, super smart, super cute, and well, just downright super! She wrote the following about her new favorite bikini company – Ola Chica. Check it out and if you’re looking for a new bikini that can handle duckdives, wipeouts, and looking hot on the beach, check them out!
Last April, we were running a couple of women’s surf and yoga retreats in El Salvador. We were there for about three weeks, and the entire time we surfed perfect point-break right handers twice a day, everyday. I rotated between my only two bikinis that I know would stay on because I did not want any embarrassing slip-ups in front of all the retreat girls, hot surfers that flew down for the swell, and tons of local photographers trying to sell us photos.
The last three days we were there, a few girls from California appeared in the line-up that were shredding in super cute bikinis. One of the girls, Aylana, was telling me about her bathing suit line called, Ola Chica. She has surfed all over the warm oceans, and was sick of the same bikini problems that so many of us face, so she created her own line. All of her suits have a draw string in the waist (brilliant), tops that stay put, and some bottoms even have key pockets. And they’re cute! You can tie the waist tight and double-knotted when you surf, then loosen it when you come in (no awkward muffin tops). Mine works perfectly for surfing, but still has a Brazilian cut that doesn’t make me feel like a grandma. My new go-to bathing suit has proven solid through many wipeouts and late duck-dives. The suits are functional, fashionable, and affordable. Visit the Ola Chica website (http://www.olachica.com) and check out the video below that we shot on our last day of the trip. Thanks, Aylana! Stoked.
Mariah is from Texas where the waves don’t get very good very often. She came to her first Suave Dulce retreat in Nicaragua last year, spent a lot more time surfing afterwards, and came back for another retreat in El Salvador. Her surfing had improved so much! She met some cute local kids on the beach, challenged them to a soccer game, and left them stunned after she scored a few goals. So what if they were only 13? A goal is a goal!
If you’ve been on a retreat then you know that waves can be cute. I started describing waves that way during surf lessons as a reaction to ladies looking at a little wave and saying, “it looks scary!” I would respond by saying, “no, it’s a cute one!” Things progressed and now any wave that looks good comes with the tag, “cute”. So, here’s me getting a really cute one in El Salvador. This is how you do it!
Video Soundtrack by Nicki Bluhm
Heather Finlayson is going through a transition period in her life. She’s in her last year of law school, just got out of a serious long-term relationship, and needed a break from real life to evaluate where she wants to go from here.
She had learned to surf as a kid, but hadn’t kept it up regularly. During her week in Nicaragua she fell back in love with surfing. She started in the whitewash on day 1, but by day 6 she was charging into some seriously big waves and coming up with a smile every time. Even after only horseback riding once in her life, she took off galloping down the beach and gained new perspective on life.
Question: How do you keep from making the tortillas too thick?
Answer: Lots of pounding!
Crystal and Jacquie demonstrate how to make tortillas in between catching super cute waves in Nicaragua.