A calling. A passion. A destiny. Professional surfer Holly Beck has found the elusive and exhilarating state in which the boundaries between work and play are blurred. After years traveling the world and surfing some of the most remote and exotic beaches from the islands of Andaman in the Indian Ocean to Sao Tome off the Gulf of Guinea, Holly is continuing her adventure in Nicaragua. She's founded a women's surf camp, Suave Dulce, and is sharing some of her favorite things -- surfing, yoga, local food, and adventure. From her commitment to improving the local Nicaraguan community, to her focus on breath in yoga, to her garden of blackberries, chard, and mint, Holly embodies the MindBodyGreen spirit and is inspiring people to lead better, healthier, and greener lives.
MindBodyGreen: How did you first come to love the ocean and surfing?
Holly Beck: I grew up in Palos Verdes, CA which is coastal but my parents aren't beach people so it wasn't until I started going to the beach with friends as an 11 year old that I fell in love with the ocean. We would boogie board in the shorebreak and I would stay in the water until I was blue and teeth-chattering because even though it was cold it felt so good! Around 13 I first noticed surfers and decided I wanted to be like them. My mom said, "No! Surfing is for boys and you should be sitting on the beach looking cute in your bikini not out competing with them. You'll never get a boyfriend that way!" A year later I had saved up enough babysitting money to buy myself a surfboard and wetsuit at a garage sale and I haven't looked back.
MBG: After spending years traveling and surfing the globe, where are some of your favorite places to surf and to visit?
HB: Australia is amazing, Bali is exciting, but I love going further off the beaten path to places like the Andaman and Seychelles islands, the tiny West African nation of Sao Tome, Taiwan, and Haiti. Going to places like that where McDonalds, Holiday Inns, and Starbucks haven't taken over is so much more interesting. I love to explore and discover, and while the world is constantly getting smaller, there are still a few places where you can really get away and I appreciate that.
MBG: Do you have any beginners tips for someone who is looking to improve their skills on the board?
HB: The hardest part of learning to surf is learning to read the ocean. You have to learn which wave is going to be good and how to position yourself to catch that wave in the right spot then maneuver according to how the wave is changing. There's no secret formula to learning that other than spending a lot of time in the ocean and really paying attention to the waves. Other than that fitness definitely helps, as well as self-confidence. If you believe in yourself anything is possible.