Imagine sailing Maldivian waters during ten days looking for world-class surf breaks, with a group of 10 like-minded women, a professional team on board boosting your surfing abilities with daily surf coaching and yoga sessions, along with the addition of a professional photographer on board, capturing every moment. Sounds like quite the dream trip, right?
For years, I dreamed of heading to the Maldives. I always heard it was a playground with fun, friendly, mellow waves for intermediate surfers and onwards, surrounded by amazing wildlife. The best place to boost my surfing and overcome the mind blockage (years of taking off into closeouts and not having enough confidence to catch the good waves, took me into a complete blockage).
But it wasn’t only the waves, I wanted to be with a good crowd, my surfing buddies, we always dreamed of overseas trips together, but it felt like mission impossible…. and the idea of being on a boat with random guys was not very appealing.
One day, something clicked. It dawned on me that there were possibly more girls and women in the same situation as me scattered around the world. So I got cracking, and it turns out there were. It resulted in a trip called Elite Surf Coaching, with 10 women joining me in 2016 to experience the trip of our lives. Word of mouth soon spread out, and this year there were even more requests for the dream trip to be organized.
Crystal clear water, beautiful fish under our feet, we are sitting waiting for those smooth sets to roll through, the sun is strong, the light is pristine, and there’s just a magical feeling surrounding the peak. There are 10 women in the water, who just met a few days ago when the trip started at the airport of Malé. But it seems they have known each other for ages.
A mixture of nationalities, cultures, ages—ranging from 24 to over 60—but the same crazy passion for the ocean beaming in every single one of them. Like-minded women with young souls keen to travel solo to meet others, just to share this magical experience.
There is a constant Latin spiced atmosphere, encouraged by us, the Spanish duo: myself and Iván Villalba, the coach that encourages these women to improve their surfing skills, overcome mind barriers, gain confidence and be the queens of the peak. Iván has an extensive curriculum, with over 30 years surfing, 25 competing and 20 years coaching people of all ages and levels, from beginners up to pro surfers.
Picture each day starting at 5am, after a long night’s sleep, being rocked smoothly by the move of the ocean on our giant crate, finding it difficult to wake up, but quickly visualizing the session of the day before, alone in the water, we jump out of the bed, have a quick snack, and we are venturing away in the dark to the first session of the day.
A metamorphosis takes place during the trip. These women transform from little caterpillars into powerful butterflies. At the start they are shy, a little insecure, not sure if their level is good enough for the trip, all mixed up with a lot of excitement. When they first jump in the water, 29°C crystal clear water, a manta ray cruising, a turtle popping her head out, every worry disappears, all the stress, gone. Adrenalin hits and they just want to go for the waves.
A deep connection is created between all the women as the days go by. There is something special about a group of women together, a strong relationship is created collectively between all of them and individually between each one of them. They open themselves, creating a big family environment. There is a lot of support surrounding the group, constant cheering and motivating yelling in the water. Charging these bigger waves they thought they would never have had the guts or level to do…they start dealing with their issues in a different way, they believe and trust themselves, and they feel powerful, empowered, ready to change situations and jump gracefully into uncomfortable zones, both in the surf and in their everyday lives.
Each day is finished under the stars with yoga and meditation, acknowledging all the changes happening and being grateful to what we have in our lives. Yoga is a very powerful tool for the body and especially the mind. It is very useful to combine with surfing, as you gain strength, endurance, flexibility and reduce injuries, as well as being able to let go of any knots or contractures, feeling new for the next day, when the alarm rings at 5am. Just as you undo those knots, you can also learn through yoga to undo those problems wandering in your mind, and embrace life with a different attitude, channeling the energy.
An unforgettable, life changing holiday experience, boosting surfing abilities, making lifelong friendships; a fulfilling experience charged with empowerment and challenge, as well as lots of love.
My dream of being able to go with my surfing buddies to Maldives has been made true, and the best thing is that my number of surfing buddies keeps growing and growing! —Silvia San Laureano
Photos: Juan Fernandez
July 13-23, 2017 – all women´s
August 13-23, 2017 – open to families, couples and friends