When I’m not traveling with prAna, I’m a full-time surf coach. I work for Maui Surfer Girls’ all women’s week-long surf camps that we host a few times throughout the year, and the all-teen girl’s sleep-away surf camp for three weeks in the summer. Over the past six years, I have created free surfing programs for girls and women in my Maui community. I call these “KP Programs.” They run just about every month of the year. prAna is my greatest cheerleader and supporter for these community-minded projects, and I’m grateful for their support.
Right now, I am looking to branch out from Maui, and extend my programs to First Nation communities on the mainland, while still offering my programs for my Maui community. Eventually I’d like to hold a surf council uniting these different indigenous surfing groups.
FUTURE OF SURFER GIRLS’ CAMP
Last year, in the spring of 2016, I took a road trip up the entire US west coast, something I’d never done before. I went in search of places conducive to teaching and hosting my free surfing clinics, and also searched for communities I felt could truly benefit from surfing. I made it through most of California and realized there was already a large community of surfers.
When I wound my way through the Oregon and Washington coastlines, I loved the Native American Reservations that dominate those areas. A sense of home and belonging washed over me. I had this overwhelming feeling that our First Nation people aren’t given enough attention, and I wanted to give them so much love. What better way for me to show my love than to host my free surfing clinics, and help connect these folks with the playground in their very own backyard.
It wasn’t until I ended up at a perfect surf break on the Makah Reservation in Washington, with a very small community of water-based people, that I found what I was looking for.
MAKAH RESERVATION SURF CAMP
I’d never really seen or heard of Indigenous Americans surfing, and when I started meeting local Makah folks, I realized they are close cousins of the Polynesian locals I teach on Maui. There were so many similarities. It was easy to see the potential in hosting a surfing clinic for these folks.
I ended up hosting an event for the Makah gals that fall, and am already set to host another one this year. It was more beautiful and serendipitous than words could ever say.
CRESCENT CITY SURF CAMP
After folks in the world had seen what I was doing on social media, someone reached out and asked if I could host something similar in Crescent City, CA for the local tribes there. I’m currently planning to host an event there later this year
One of the main messages from the camp is surfing and staying active and eating right is empowering, it builds confidence, it helps young women make good choices.
Everything in my life has led me to where I am today, and every step a sign that I am on the right path, a sign to continue forward. I know this because it feels so good, and brings me to tears.
GLOBAL SURFING OHANA
Most surfers would probably agree that they could travel to a far-off foreign place, meet up with local surfers, and feel taken care of for the duration of their stay. We (surfers) are one o’hana (family) across the globe.
There is something so special, and really magical, about surfing. It has taught me my most important life lessons, shown me what I am truly capable of, given me strength and confidence when I begin to doubt myself, and a million other great and healing benefits. But the big bonus is that surfing has connected me with surf communities around the world.
Taking these gifts of empowerment and confidence gained through surfing, I am motivated and inspired to explore the world’s surf breaks, which makes traveling that much easier, especially as a woman traveling alone. Surfing helps me hone in on my intuition and instincts, keeps me aware of the people and places that I surround myself with, and usually puts me right where I need to be in my travels. I have an inner strength that keeps me calm in times of worry or doubt, and this inner strength is outwardly evident in my actions.
Surfing helps me thrive when I am out of my comfort zone, because only then does the real adventure begin. Unless I try something out of the ordinary, I’ll be stagnant and ready to perish. It isn’t until I start reaching out to strangers, opening myself up to new ideas, not sticking to a plan, and embracing each moment as it comes, that am I living the adventure that is me. Life, the universe(s), the stars, gravity, they all conspire to bring me right where I need to be. My experiences in surfing teach me these lessons.
“Go with the flow.”
“Can’t fight it, ride it.”
“Be kind and patient with myself.”
EXPLORE THE WORLD THROUGH SURF
What better way for young girls to get out and explore their local environment than to volunteer! Most places I know have environmental projects going on that they need volunteer help with. Whether it is removing invasive species from your local forest, farming, planting native plants, cleaning up trash, anything, these are great ways to explore the world in your backyard, with a knowledgeable guide to offer useful information and keep you out of harm’s way. I’ve had some of the best hikes, adventures, and life experiences volunteering. It actually led me to do what I am doing today and has taught me so much about the planet!
START SURFING TODAY
I always recommend a surfing lesson to get started. Look up your local surf school or camp, and, if you don’t live by the ocean and want to learn, come to Maui Surfer Girls camp! It’s a great way to connect with other girls your age, and encourage one another in your surfing progression.
How to Prepare for the Camp
Try burpees, push ups, and TONS OF YOGA since those will be similar movements in surfing. Ashtanga Yoga, specifically Chaturanga poses, are particularly helpful in developing surfing muscle memory movements. In my 13 years of surf coaching experience, I’ve noticed that those who practice yoga pick up on surfing quickly.
DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START?
Stay tuned because I am working on adding video tutorials to my website to show girls the proper surfing technique that they can practice at home (don’t even have to be in the water to practice these movements), and, if they live near the beach and can find access to a surfboard (ALWAYS START WITH A LONGBOARD! BIGGER THE BETTER!) they could practice at their local break.
If there are other surfers in their area, I highly recommend asking locals for tips on where to paddle out from, what peak to paddle to, and help with timing getting into the wave and when to stand up. These are things that are hard to figure out by yourself, and it makes a big difference having someone with wave-catching knowledge to help you.
The best way to learn is to observe. Watch what other surfers are doing, watch their placement on their board, their placement on the peak, their timing and maneuvers. Watch their body movements, and always watch the eyes. The eyes lead the way.