When we get the chance, we like to catch up with Las Olas alumnae and share memories of their experience. Visit anytime for more interviews from women who surf.
A Day at Las Olas with Rhea
Home: Los Angeles
Work: Content manager for the swim brand Seea. Freelance copywriter and project manager.
Surfed at Las Olas: April 2016
Surf experience: YES!
You surfed before you went to Las Olas. When and where?
I’ve been surfing for seven years and traveled around Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Hawaii, France, Spain, and Mexico—both by myself and with friends. Most of these trips were planned by deep dive internet-searching and asking everyone that I knew for recommendations. It was like a part-time job to prepare and sort through the information: the different surf breaks, where to stay, any travel advisories, how to get from point A to B, and budgeting it all out.
You’ve been on quite a few surf safaris. How do you decide where to go?
Deciding where to surf is the biggest decision on every surf trip, and the most difficult if you’re not as knowledgeable about the swell directions, winds, tides, and weather patterns of the place. It’s not always reliable to look at Surfline or surf break reviews because as an advanced beginner, a wave that is considered good by some accounts (a super fast barreling left over shallow reef that spits you out like a firecracker) is not a good wave to me. Decision paralysis ensues.
You found Las Olas. How did that happen?
I booked the trip to Las Olas last minute during a flat and chilly spell in California (relatively speaking. The saltwater doesn’t warm up until July). I was also working on a creative project and hoped that getting out of my normal routine would spark inspiration. I wanted a vacation where I could show up and surf, without doing all the research and planning that it takes to get there. You don’t realize how much energy it takes to make a decision until you don’t have to make any.
What’s different between Las Olas and just going it alone like before?
From exiting the airport, I easily found the Las Olas coach, who took us all to the villa where we were greeted by refreshing cold water to simmer down from the humidity. From there, I unpacked and decompressed until the welcome dinner (and margarita) during the pink sunset.
Before parting ways for the night, we knew exactly where to be and when the next day: the time breakfast was served, morning yoga, and the location of the clubhouse homebase centrally located in town.
So you arrived. What’s a typical day like?
Waking up the next morning, everything unfolded smoothly. We got to know our friends for the week over breakfast smoothies and eggs as we watched the waves crest and disappate into whitewater clouds. We walked over to the clubhouse together to get sunscreened-up and then headed out to the waves under the blue sky and warm sun.
After surfing, beach chairs and umbrellas magically appeared for us to chill out and rehydrate. Every day was precisely planned, but I never felt rushed or overscheduled. It felt like being whisked from one place to another. Some people don’t like being on an agenda, they like to go with the flow. But if your job or role in your household is to be responsible for all the planning (that means vacation planning too), it’s like a long exhale to to feel completely relaxed and let the experts handle the details.
The photos look great, but is there more we don’t see?
There’s something about being in a new place, falling on your face, and being exposed in a bathing suit that is freeing and vulnerable. It doesn’t matter what your job is or what kind of house or car you had back at home. Here, we were all free and equals in the ocean. We cheered for each other’s waves and encouraged each other to keep paddling even if your arms burned. We talked about life, relationships, personal goals, motherhood, not having children. I had deeper conversations with strangers at Las Olas than I’ve had with acquaintainces I’ve known for years.
Any particular experience that stands out?
While we were on the boat heading out to a reef break, I closed my eyes and remembered my wave of the trip: dropping into a bottom turn and then gliding into blissful trim. I hop off the back and hear one of the coaches, hooting with her arms raised. That doesn’t happen every day.