Surf with Amigas (SWA), Nicaragua ( http://surfwithamigas.com/ )
To empower women by teaching them how to surf
Holly Beck, pro-surfer, entrepreneur, model, and also one of founders of hipehabitat.com which focuses on environmental conservation development.
Mostly hailing from USA and Canada with the age group ranging from 20s – 60s.
This varied from week to week but generally speaking there were always surf breaks to suit all levels. SWA always find fun and good surfing!
All over the world but Nicaragua is where the retreat was originally founded.
Length of stay
One week per location (we happened to try 2 locations in Nicaragua: Popoyo & Chinandega)
Accommodation & Surf Breaks
SWA partners with local resorts that are most suitable for the targeted surfers of the week and usually are eco-friendly, simple and convenient for surfing.
In Popoyo, we stayed at the Magnific Rock Hotel.
The hotel site was located on top of a headland overlooking the ocean. From the hotel restaurant and yoga studio, we were able to check the surf conditions of two surf breaks (1 beach break, 1 reef break), which was an ideal set up because the beach break offered variety for the more advanced surfers. Needless to say, just watching the sunset over cocktails at that spot was incredibly rel
axing and stunning. This hotel was an hour from the popular coastal town San Juan del Sur in southern Nicaragua.
In Chinandega, we stayed at El Coco Loco which is an eco-resort. The resort is located about 10-15min by foot to the nearest surfing beach. We would walk to the break everyday but Holly and her husband would drive our boards directly there. This relieved us from carrying our own boards back to the hotel after a long surf session. As Holly is based in northern Nicaragua, this is where most of her retreats take place.
What sets SWA apart from most retreats was the daily video coaching sessions we received. Besides looking out for our safety in the ocean, Holly and her team also analyzed our surf footage to provide additional coaching on posture and correct positioning so we can improve as quickly as possible. How you envision yourself surfing is dramatically different from what you actually look like! In the water, there are usually at least 3-4 instructors looking out for you. Depending on your level and confidence, they adjust to the amount of instruction to suit your needs. Another vital part to our surf regiment was the daily yoga sessions. We had a fantastic instructor that would tailor classes to how our bodies felt each day. This routine greatly improved our flexibility when surfing.
Depending on the location, the activities can vary slightly. Some of the highlights included zip-lining, riding horses on the beach, restoring our bodies from the intense surf sessions in nearby hot springs and visiting the local sch
ools in the nearby communities. One thing unique to the retreat in Chinandega was volcano boarding. It is an all day trip that required hiking up a volcano, dressing up in orange overalls and sliding down on essentially a tray with a basic brake contraption. Although Surf Mei Mei did not take part in this (unfortunately, we had both fallen ill that day), the other amigas in the group said it was not an activity to be missed!
If you like Mexican food, then Nicaraguan food will suit your palette as they are strikingly similar. Staples include plantains, rice, beans and corn tortillas. Tropical fruits such as banana, mango, papaya and pineapple were in abundance. Fish and chicken were the main sources of protein that were served during our stay. We had most of our delicious meals at the resorts but there was at least one outing per week to nearby restaurants that had great authentic food. The chefs were also incredibly accommodating to any dietary restrictions. There were vegetarians, pescetarians and gluten-free eaters in our groups and we were all pretty happy with food.
The camaraderie you will experience at these retreats is fantastic. The instruction is better than any of the retreats we have attended in the past. If you’re looking to improve or learn how to surf, we suggest you book your tickets and come claim your waves.