Body + Mind

Chatting with a Woman of Sea and Mountain

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A dear friend, founder of Surf Mei Mei and Kea Surf Gear, Patricia Kwok, has just been interviewed by Swell Women, a luxury women surfing retreat in Maui, as the spotlight feature of the month.   PK learned how to surf with Swell Women years ago and highly recommends Swell Women as one of the best surfing camps she has been to. 

This summer, I have the honor to chat with the founder of Swell Women, Me-Shell Mijangos, an ex-professional snowboarder and a new mother of a very cute baby! It is amazing to see how she has successfully used her professionalism for snowboarding and turned the drive into a simple, but profitable surfing paradise in only 10 years. 

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SMM: Can you tell us who you are and what you do?

Aloha, My name is Me-Shell Mijangos and I’m the owner of SwellWomen Surf and Yoga Vacations in Maui.  I am also a surfer, snowboarder, wife and mother.

SMM: You were an ex-pro snowboarder, can you tell us how did you transition from being a snowboarder to surfer, a pro athlete to a business owner?

Smm_interview_SwellWomen_Snowboard_1I snowboarded 2 years as an amateur and 4 years professionally. Back then, snowboarding professionally meant you still lived with six other people and ate rice and beans. However, all you did was snowboard year around and got paid a small salary for it. It was such an amazing experience and one that I am so grateful for.

I always loved the element of water– whether it be frozen or liquid. Transitioning to surfing was easy for me.,Not the learning part, but the lifestyle aspect of it.

Becoming a business owner was during a transitional part of my life. I just left NYC, went to Costa Rica to partake in a 200 hour yoga teacher training program and had no clue what the next chapter in my life was going to be. It was there that, unbeknownst to me, the seed of SwellWomen was planted. I started teaching the other yoginis and yogis how to surf, using the concepts we were learning in my yoga teacher training courses. In my blood and bones, I felt and saw the connection of surfing and yoga and knew that I wanted to make it part of my life for as long as possible.

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SMM: How do you manage a work life balance with being a mom, a wife as well as running one of the best surf yoga retreats?

I don’t…ha ha! I have to schedule ‘me time’ and I stick to it. If I don’t, I’m not a good wife, mom or business owner…I just get cranky…haha! Luckily I have a very supportive husband that understands and helps a lot with our son.

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Snowboarding and surfing are alike in many ways but different too. When I’m in the trees snowboarding through powder, it feels the same as catching a long and glassy front side wave. The floaty feeling and being in the present is so addicting…both of which you experience surfing AND snowboarding. Well, I didn’t make the switch exactly. I still spend plenty of time in the winter in the trees. I would never be able to just do one of the sports!

SMM: I love it how you strive for everything you do, can you tell us your secret? Why hard working is so important for you and what’s your mentality in life (as a hardworking and responsible person). 

I think I was just brought up that way. I started working when I was 16 and success was important in our family. Now, I see that balance is the most optimal and the most important for EVERYONE. My mentality in life truly is, “Following My Bliss” and trying to live in the moment as much as possible (something I am always working on).

SMM: Can you give young athletes out there an advice on life, career and happiness?

Always believe in yourself, don’t doubt your capabilities. Help other people along the way and spread your joy about your chosen sport. Take care of your body by exercise and nutrition. Lastly, realize that happiness comes in everything you do….not just the big win or the incredible run or the top sponsor…happiness can be washing the dishes, watching the sunrise, or even (gulp) paying bills. Don’t pick these huge incredible feats and label them as happiness, label the small things in life as happiness and condition your mind to see it that way. Joy is everywhere and everything.

I think Launiopoko is one of the best spots suitable for ALL levels of surfing, as well as, A Thousand Peaks. There are just so many greats spots in Maui to surf at and the water is so clear and clean. We are very lucky here! The other activities I would recommend are visiting atop Haleakala at sunrise, hiking the bamboo forrest, whale watching on a SUP, and not only driving too...but staying in Hana.

I think Launiopoko is one of the best spots suitable for ALL levels of surfing, as well as, A Thousand Peaks. There are just so many greats spots in Maui to surf at and the water is so clear and clean. We are very lucky here!
The other activities I would recommend are visiting atop Haleakala at sunrise, hiking the bamboo forrest, whale watching on a SUP, and not only driving too…but staying in Hana.


 All images are originated by Surf Mei Mei or provided by Me-Shell Mijangos

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