Have you heard? We're giving away a week long surf retreat in Southern Costa Rica at the Eco Lodge with our friends at Surf With Amigas! You can enter here.
Surf With Amigas was founded by retired pro surfer Holly Beck and is now co-owned with San Clemente Native Jackie George. These all-inclusive surf and yoga retreats are for adventurous women looking to support and inspire each other in surfing and in life.
Ahead of our surf retreat giveaway, we caught up with Jackie George to learn a little bit more about what the winner can expect, her journey in the water and out, surfing while pregnant ... and preparing for her next BIG adventure, welcoming her first child in September!
Needless to say, Jackie SHREDS.
We are so thrilled to be gifting an experience à la Surf With Amigas, we’d love our community to get to know you a little bit better...
Can you share a little of your backstory and how you wound up hosting surfing retreats?
I suppose I'm just a gypsy beach bum that had everything fall into place in my life. I grew up in San Clemente, surfing and working as a lifeguard—always with my girl squad that I'm close with to this day. The desire for adventure brought me north to Humboldt County, where I studied geography and sustainable tourism, surfed bigger and colder waves, and worked as a whitewater raft guide. Eventually, I tired of the cold water but knew I wanted to be somewhere with a similar pace ... and live as close to nature as possible. So, I made my way to Nicaragua to work for my now partner in SWA, Holly Beck. I honestly thought I'd work at a surf camp for a while then keep traveling and do something different. But, I came to find that the job, the lifestyle, and the reality of living on the beach in Central America were the culmination of everything I'd been working toward. Holly and I became business partners after that first year, and the challenge of running a business was the mental stimulation I needed to stay fulfilled.
Ultimately, almost ten years later, I still love everything about what I do. We are able to facilitate women to experience an epic adventure and push themselves outside of their comfort zones. We work closely with the local communities in developing countries to make a positive impact through tourism. I spend my days in the water and on the beach- experiencing the beauty of it all with amazing people from around the world. Life is good!
A visual taste of Surf With Amigas adventures.
Do you have any standout memories or sessions from your travels + trips?
Running surf and yoga retreats has brought me all over the world. When we're picking a new location, we normally decide on a spot because it's a place we'd like to go on a surf trip! Some standouts include the first year we went to El Salvador and absolutely scored with a few other people out for two weeks straight; traveling remote islands in the Philippines by boat searching for cute waves with the local girl guide; the tube riding retreats in northern Nicaragua (always the most fun for our staff—and the best wipeout reels…look them up on youtube!); and our trip to Morocco two years ago where my senses were completely overloaded with the rich culture and insanely quality point breaks. I also have had some incredibly standout memories and sessions from running retreats where I live now in southern Costa Rica. The list goes on and on—and so does the list of places we'd love to expand and explore in the future.
From long to shortboard, Jackie's diverse in experience and expertise.
So many of us at Seea have a laundry list of water women who helped us find ourselves in and out of the water. Is there anyone in particular who stands out as a mentor or supportive system in your personal or professional journey?
I come from a long line of incredible women and, as the oldest of four girls, was raised in a family ruled by adventure. So ... my laundry list of ladies that have shaped my journey is long! Sometimes even small interactions with badass women throughout my life were some of the most meaningful. For example, I went on a women's backpacking trip in high school, and I remember thinking that my trip leader was so cool. She was so incredibly capable of all things survival and had a quiet confidence that I saw as so inspiring. Later in life, when I worked as a whitewater rafting guide, one of my first mentors was a woman about ten years older than me—a fellow petite blonde chick. She was, however, one of the best guides on that river. She built her own house from the ground up and ran her company with confidence and grace. She could do everything the boys on the river could do ... but better and with more style. Finally, I have to credit my business partner, Holly, for being a huge part of shaping my journey. Holly's "you can do it" attitude was the original force behind starting what is now Surf With Amigas and has therefore changed so many women's lives in and out of the water.
Onto life's next great adventure, soon to be mama!
We heard you're welcoming your first child, that's so exciting! So how have you been navigating water time and surfing while pregnant?
Yes! Super exciting! Surfing and water time throughout this pregnancy have been a roller coaster. I was able to surf normally (multiple sessions/day and teaching lessons) throughout the first four months or so. I remember one swell back in February was incredibly good, and I surfed 5 hours one day. I kept asking myself if maybe I was pushing it too hard, but when I'd really tune in with my body, my body felt great, so I just kept surfing. The next day, I was totally cooked, but it was worth it. During my second trimester, I slowed down the pace but still surfed a lot and had tons of fun. It was hard for me when we had a couple of really big swells come through town that I knew I was just too pregnant to handle. Honestly, more than anything, it was a mental battle to be sitting on the beach watching my girlfriends get some of the sickest waves of their lives. After that, my attitude changed, and my expectations for myself went way down. Once you drop expectations, it's pure fun again, and any bad vibes or intensity in the water seem so silly! I'm now 35 weeks pregnant and done surfing. I'll be in northern California till the baby comes—and the wind and wetsuit add a whole different element to the game. I live on the river, so I've been swimming every day, and am more grateful than ever for those moments of feeling weightless.
How long did you continue surfing into your pregnancy?
I surfed until about 31 weeks and still felt safe. Obviously, this is a personal decision for everyone—but I still didn't feel "unsafe" at the end. My last session here in northern California was super fun. Still, I was so tired afterward and uncomfortable paddling and popping up, I just decided to drop any expectation that I'll surf again till baby comes. Honestly, though, I can't help but think that if we have a glassy, small day and my husband carries my board down the hill for me, I may be tempted to knee-paddle out to get a couple more waves pre-baby. But until then, I'm swimming in the river every day!
What to expect? Embracing the adventure and one another!
Any words of wisdom to the winner of the giveaway? Things to expect or look forward to?
Congratulations, and have so much fun! Come into the week with an open mind and a positive attitude. Savor all the beautiful moments, from sunrise surfs, cold beers at sunset, sharing laughs with new friends, and deep releases in yoga. Expect to push yourself outside your comfort zone and embrace the adventure that is Surf With Amigas. Drink lots of water and wear sunscreen (or cover up with Seea rashguards and leggings)! :)
What is the best way our community can follow Surf With Amigas' work from afar?
We're so stoked to be gifting one of these experiences away! Thank you for your time, effort, and new adventures!
Don't forget to Enter Our Surf Trip Giveaway for your chance to win!