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.
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 leadsurf 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?
It’s always nice to mix things up a bit. We know you’ve all been loving Reesie’s online Yin Yoga classes, but this week she’s given us something different! This easy-to-follow, 10-minute ab video targets the core and warms up the abs just right. As a long-time yogi and surfer, Reesie knows just what movements every surfer needs to maintain the perfect balance of strong and flexible. All of us have been so grateful for these online classes that have kept us centered, strong, and in tune with our bodies during the pandemic!
Our advice? Pair this quick ab workout with Reesie’s Yang Yoga class or tag it onto to other short workouts that you love!
As always, donations for Reesie’s online classes are gratefully accepted at Venmo- @Cherise-Richards or PayPal at [email protected]
The spine is the highway connecting the brain to the body and is home to our spiritual centers, the chakras. It has 76 joints and 24 bones. It’s a big deal. Stretching to maintain a well-oiled spine is vital because it helps to keep the body mobile and fluid (and ready to surf).
The spine is a big deal
So, we’re stoked that we have another opportunity to practice Yin Yoga and get our spines movin’ with SWA’s resident yogi-surfer, Reesie! In this class, “…we’ll bend forward then backward then forward then backward and top if off with a twist”.
Grab one block and a few pillows (or a bolster if you have one), then click the video below to dive in!
Donations for Reesie’s online Yin Yoga classes are being accepted at Venmo – @cherise-richards or paypal – [email protected]
Feeling neck tension from sitting at your desk all day? Or from a long surf-session? Woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Need a little yoga fix-me-up?
block. neck. magic.
It’s the most requested yoga sequence during most of our retreats, and if you’ve been on a retreat with SWA before, I’m sure you already know exactly what we’re talking about! Its simple. Its magical. It feels so good. Its also pretty difficult to replicate without the guidance of a teacher, so we’re extra stoked that our yoga teacher Reesie just released an 11-minute tutorial video of the infamous, “block neck move”. This stretch-massage duo for the neck has yet to be named, so try it out and let us know if you can come up with a good name for it!