May
1

Mother Approved

“World’s Greatest Mom!” 

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It seems like we all have the world’s greatest mother, because we all really do! From infancy to adulthood, a mother’s job is never really done. Here at MI OLA we have some pretty RAD mom’s that #GetOutThere, like our very own Chief Bikini Officer Helena, Brand Ambassador Susi, and team rider Kristina.

They jump, swim, surf, cannon ball, and chase after their beautiful little children, all while never having to worry about their bikini coming off. Yes, mother’s can wear bikinis too…and ROCK them! Given that Mother’s Day is less than two weeks away, what better present to give to your mom or wife than a suit that keeps up and works as hard as she does??? Because a bikini that is functional and stylish will win you lots of Brownie points, trust us!

Just your luck, we have some new items in stock from our 2015 line, like our Lorelei Maillot One-Piece! Can we say VA-VA-VOOM! Click here to shop.

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December
19

Team Rider Stephanie Kwong

Whoever said that mermaids didn’t exist never met our MI OLA team rider Stephanie Kwong. We first met Steph right here on our home beach of Tamarindo walking her Siberian Husky, Niko. Since we already consider ourselves human mermaids, we just had to learn more about this amazing chica.

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MI OLA: When did you start surfing?
Stephanie: I caught the surf bug in 2006 when I was bored in Toronto and wanted to get away and try something new. I decided to go volunteer traveling and found a package called “Surf & Save the Turtles” in Costa Rica – um, YES?! I love animals (that have 4 legs or less) and have always wanted to try surfing; it was a perfect combination. I spent 2 weeks living in a shack on a beach called Buena Vista close to Samara doing conservation work at night. During the day, I’d cross a river inhabited by crocodiles and walk close to an hour to get to Samara where the surf lessons were. Here, on the gentle sandy beach break in Samara was where I first learned to surf and contracted the surf bug.

First Surf in 2006

MI OLA: What brought you to Costa Rica? How long have you lived here?
Stephanie: It has been 8.5 months since I officially sold everything in Toronto and moved my life (which means, myself & my dog Niko) down to Tamarindo.

Ever since I caught my first wave in Samara, I couldn’t stop thinking about surfing and being close to the ocean. I didn’t just fall in love with surfing, I fell in love with Costa Rica. I spent many visits backpacking through Costa Rica and eventually met my surf instructor who really taught me how to surf in 2010 in Jaco & Hermosa. This only fed my cravings to surf even more which not only made me fly back more often, but made me crazy enough to find freshwater surfing on the Great Lakes in Ontario, Canada. Yes – we can surf the Lakes and we don’t have sharks, jellies or crocodiles to worry about!

MI OLA: What is your favorite wave(s)?
Stephanie: Right now living in Tamarindo, I love surfing at the Rivermouth, Casitas or taking a little drive out to Avellanas especially when you’re heading out with friends or the other MI OLA girls like Kristen & Janiece.

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On the Lakes, my favorite spot was at the Lighthouse where 90% of the time you’re more than likely to get skunked after fighting through traffic in a 6/5/4 wetsuit but when it worked, it was an amazing spot and I always had a blast there.


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MI OLA: Any tips for chicas that are just starting to surf?
Stephanie: For the chicas starting to surf up on the Great Lakes – start somewhere warm like Costa Rica. Fall in love with the warm water ocean waves, then go home and practice on the Great Lakes; don’t let the boys take over the freshwater up there! Other than that – it starts out tough, don’t give up and bring a buddy to laugh and have a blast with.

MI OLA: Besides surfing, what else do you do to stay so fit?
Stephanie: I used to dance a lot of salsa but mainly bachata. However, having moved to Costa Rica, I spend the non-surfing hours taking long sunset walks on the beach with my best friend Niko; the best dog in the world (no bias!).

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MI OLA: What do you do in your free time?
Stephanie: Surf, Surf and Surf? I think the better question is what I do when there are no waves! I’d be spending time wading through the tide pools during low tide with Niko, stare aimlessly at the ocean, fall asleep on the beach by accident, hang out with friends or make an attempt to keep in touch with family & friends up North. I also spent quite some time mermaiding in my MI OLA bikini top in various beaches with MI OLA team rider Janiece helping me getting in and out of the ocean; a mermaid is no good out of water without her assistant!

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MI OLA: What is your favorite thing about your MI OLA suit? Which design(s)/color(s) do you like best?
Stephanie: I LOVE my MI OLA bikini – love isn’t even a strong enough word for it. The first bikini that is not only comfortable but most importantly – STAYS ON! My favorite is the X Back Top in Silver and the Thong tha Thong bottoms in Blue/Black Chevron but if I could I would just have every single color possible. The silver top also goes well with my mermaid tail.

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MI OLA: Any cool stories about MI OLA … not slipping, other girls wanting to know about the suit you are wearing, etc.
Stephanie: I get of compliments on my silver X back and black/blue chevron combo. This suit stays on so well, I feel like I’m in it almost 24/7, it simply stays on, looks good AND matches everything I have.

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MI OLA: As an active chica, what are a couple of things that you can’t live without/don’t leave home without?
Stephanie: SPF lip balm, a camera and hair ties!

MI OLA: What is it like surfing on the Great Lakes with fresh water?
Stephanie: Cold, Bitter Cold, wait no … freezing your ass off kind of cold … and lots of climbing over fences and backyards to get to some surf spots. My personal record is having surfed in a blizzard and -22*C weather and surfing in the middle of winter for an entire day in various spots without peeing in my suit. I refuse to pee in my 6/5/4 wetsuit and will bet anyone who wants to challenge me with a black light on my wetsuit! Surfing the Great Lakes is not very different from surfing saltwater, it’s pretty much the same but a lot of the times, the waves are messier and we’ll surf just about anything that has a little peak – oh, and very last minute because the waves like to lie and play tricks with your head. The best part of surfing the Great Lakes is the people – the Great Lakes Surfers are really what keeps me loving the lakes – they are the friendliest bunch out there and every wave is a party wave because we’re just happy there is a wave at all!

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MI OLA: Tell us a little more about your Huskie Niko … we hear he has his own fan club!
Stephanie: LOL. Niko was a dog with a job! He starred in the remake of John Carpenter’s 1982 film “The Thing” which was released in 2011; you’ll even find him in the movie trailer. He also got himself a photoshoot op just before we moved to Costa Rica so this dog paid his own airline ticket to move down with me as well as his own vet bills and papers with the money he earned from the movie. His Facebook page was originally created for our own personal blogging purposes of tracking his aggression rehabilitation but somehow it slowly became a fan club with friends & family following us on what we were up to just for entertainment. He also likes to paddle out to the lineup or play fetch in freshwater with me.

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December
1

Team Rider Janiece Clark

Put on your MI OLA tog, grab your jandals, and #getoutthere!

Huh?!  For those of you who are as confused as we were when we first heard these words, let us introduce you to our team rider Janiece Clark from New Zealand.  We love rad women that #getoutthere and this Kiwi is one of them.  Janiece took a year sabbatical from work and moved half way across the world to no other than MI OLA tropical home base, Tamarindo.  We were entranced by Janiece’s Kiwi accent when we met her… and her rad surfing and sunny smile didn’t hurt!   We recently sat down with her and chatted about surfing, New Zealand, and bikinis!
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MI OLA: When did you start surfing?

Janiece: [Editor’s note: insert New Zealand accent] I started surfing in my late twenties, which is pretty surprising for most people when they hear that I am from New Zealand.  A friend of mine had just come back home from a trip to Portugal where she had been surfing; she met a guy there who runs a surf camp in Sri Lanka and she asked me if I wanted to go with her for New Years and learn to surf… surfing was something that I had always wanted to try so I decided why not? I’m always keen for an adventure!  I didn’t catch the surfing bug right away though, it wasn’t until our third New Years trip when we came to Tamarindo, Costa Rica when everything surfing kinda clicked for me.  When I got home I went out and brought my first surf board in January 2012 and ever since then surfing has taken over my life!

MI OLA What brought you to Costa Rica? How long have you lived here?

Janiece: I’ve been living in Tamarindo, Costa Rica since the end of January 2014… so 11 months now.  I meet the lovely Kristen Brown (and now my good friend) on my second trip to Costa Rica in November 2012 not long after she first moved here, and I was inspired by her story of giving up the big city life in New York and move to a foreign country to do something you really love — surfing.  At the time I was in CR for 6 weeks, travelling by myself and surfing. When it came time to go home and I was crying in the shuttle on my way to the airport I knew I had to do something about getting back to Costa Rica as soon as possible.  So after some long discussions with my family and boss, and saving hard out, I was back for a year long sabbatical less than 18 months after I left. The sad thing is my sabbatical is coming to an end in a month and I have to go home to the real world again, but there is no doubt in my mind that I will be back in Costa Rica as soon as possible and hopefully permanently!
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MI OLA:  What is your favorite wave(s)?

Janiece:  It’s so hard to pick a favourite wave! There are so many that I love… but nothing beats you local, which for me right now is the rivermouth and left break in Tamarindo.  I also love surfing at Avellanas, it’s close enough to home that it’s not too far to get to but still feels like you are going on a surfing road trip, especially when you go with the MI OLA girls.  Back home in NZ, Muriwai is my local and one of my favourite spots to surf with it’s black sand and wild weather on the west coast of Auckland.  The great thing about surfing in NZ (especially the Auckland area) is that if one coast isn’t working, you can drive for an hour and be on the other coast… so that being said, when it’s too big and stormy and the wind is onshore at Muriwai I love going to the east coast and surfing at Forestry (where that same onshore wind that was ruining the waves on the west, is now a perfect offshore on the east).  This spot literally has nothing there!  It’s a bit of a drive to get there, with the last 30 minutes being driven on dirt farm roads, parking is in a clearing amongst a pine tree forest (hence the name) and you have to hike over the dunes with your board to get to the break but it’s definitely worth every minute because the surf is amazing… left hand point break and A frames up and down kilometres of empty beach so there is always room to find the perfect un-crowded spot for yourself.
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Forestry

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MI OLA:  Any tips for new surfers who are just starting up?

Janiece: Never give up! Find a friend to surf with, have fun and laugh.

MI OLA:  Besides surfing, what else do you do to stay so fit?

Janiece:  I used attend the gym religiously at home (before surfing took over my life!), but being in Tamarindo I haven’t felt the need to do any extra exercise to stay fit.  It also helps that I don’t have a car here, so riding my mountain bike and walking everywhere keeps me in pretty good shape.
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MI OLA:  What do you do in your free time?

Janiece:  In my free time, I love to hang out with my friends and just shoot the shit and there is nothing better than catching up with friends over a beer for sunset at one of the many beach front bars here in Tamarindo when there are no waves.  I also read a lot and I love taking photographs of my travels so there is always photo editing to be done.

MI OLA:  What is your favorite thing about your MI OLA suit? Which design(s)/ color(s) do you like best?

Janiece:  My favourite piece is the Pin Up Top, I have it in Magenta and I love the fact that it doesn’t have any ties so it is awesome under a wetsuit.  Also, I’m a bigger busted gal and it has a lot of support and still keeps everything in place when I’m in the water especially when I’m not surfing in a rash guard.  I also have the Casita Boy Thong in Magenta, it’s super comfy and makes my arse look great!

MI OLA:  Any cool stories about MI OLA?

Janiece:  With being a bigger busted girl and surfing in the tropics where no wetsuit is required, I never liked surfing without a rash guard. This always seemed like the best option for me so I didn’t have any Janet Jackson incidents and flash the guys in the line up… however that all changed when I arrived at the beach one day here in Tama and realised that I had let my rashie at home; I had a dilemma on my hands… did I walk home to get it (about a 20 minute walk one way) and risk missing out on the awesome waves if the conditions changed while I was gone or do I just go out and surf.  Well, of course the waves won and I went out surfing, I was really surprised to find out that everything stayed in place and where it was meant to be, especially after some pretty spectacular wipes outs!

MI OLA:  As an active surfer, what are a couple of things that you can’t live without/ don’t leave home without?

Janiece:  I can’t leave home without my bikini, sunscreen… I love Surfers Skin (an Australian brand of sunscreen which is great for in the water) and my RayBans.
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MI OLA: Can you give us a quick lesson in Kiwi?

Janiece:  Kiwi slang is something special and often only people from my part of the world know what I’m talking about… the number of times I have said something to my friends here and I blank look of confusion happens a lot! I guess the most common thing that confuses people is when I mention something about my jandals (flip flops) or togs (swimsuit) and my accent definitely doesn’t help the confusion. If you want to learn more about kiwi slang there is a great blog that explains it all: http://www.brenontheroad.com/travellers-guide-new-zealand-slang/

 

October
3

Team Rider Christina Essabba

Meet Christina. Or as we affectionately call her, Babba. Fellow team rider Kristen first met Babba via Instagram (such social media nerds) and they instantly connected with surfing and their love for what else…bikinis! When Christina moved full time to Costa Rica back in January to fulfill her dream of living in paradise and surfing every day we just had to go out and surf with this blonde bombshell! Since then, Christina has become one of our MI OLA team riders and even appeared in one of our photo shoots. Check out our interview with Babba below!

 

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Mi Ola: When did you start surfing?

Christina: I started surfing a little over 2 years ago. I had tried surfing much earlier on (on my very first trip to Costa Rica), but when I got back home and realized the waves in NY delivered a colder and more frustrating experience, I gave up pretty quickly.  My second attempt at it was years later and realized I gave up too soon!  It just hadn’t clicked for me yet…and when it did-it was worth the wait, all the hard work and practice!

 

Mi Ola What brought you to Costa Rica? How long have you lived here?

Long ago, I decided to learn how to surf and made my first surf trip to CR .  I had planned on going solo until 3 friends decided to come with.  We had an amazing time and that visit here left an impression on me.  On that trip I told myself that one day I would surf, I would try and do it well and that I would live here.  I fell in love with this country and the surf/beach lifestyle.  That goal stayed with me, although I lived in New York (proudly born and raised!) for many years after that trip.  I fulfilled other dreams during that time; opening 2 clothing boutiques and diving head first into small business ownership.  I think I had some more livin’ to do in NY before I was able to find myself here.  So I spent the last 2 years traveling and surfing back and forth, and finally made the move official in January 2014.

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Mi Ola What is your favorite wave(s)?

I love surfing Avellanas! It’s close to home but it feels a mini adventure going there.  I love the waves, but the color of the water and the beach are equally as beautiful.

 

Mi Ola Any tips for chicas that are just starting to surf?

Do not give up, never feel intimidated and always have fun and laugh!  And buy yourself a couple cute bikinis.  It doesn’t hurt to feel good about what your are wearing in the water 😉 [Editor’s note: hint hint MI OLA!]

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Mi Ola Besides surfing, what else do you do to stay so fit?

It seems since moving here, I’ve traded my Insanity DVD’s and all other beloved workout regimens for solely surfing and biking.  I bike to the surf, to work and everywhere in between.  I would love to rekindle my love/hate relationship with running and I’m patiently waiting for someone to offer Capoeira in here in town so I could get back into that!  Other then that, I have always had a pretty active lifestyle. 

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Mi Ola What do you do in your free time?

Surf. hahaha. And eat cookies.  Stay in touch with family and friends back in NY, surf, continue my quest for good smoothies, surf.

 

Mi Ola What is your favorite thing about your Mi Ola suit? Which design(s)/ color(s) do you like best?

The fact that these suits fit well and look gooood.  An impossible thing to find in a surf bikini.  I have 2 favorites: The Casita Boythong in the blue colorway (I love the cheeky fit and the color combo is my favorite…how did MO know?? And the Pin-Up Top which I have in silver, gold and green.  I guess I dig this top just a little.

 

Mi Ola Any cool stories about Mi Ola….not slipping, other girls wanting to know about the suit you are wearing, etc.

I have struck up so many conversations while wearing my silver mermaid Reversible Wrap Top.  Girls compliment this one every time I wear it.  Then the next thing you know we are having a little pow wow about where we’re from and what we are doing here in CR.  MO, making friends, 1 bikini at a time haha!

 

Mi Ola As an active chica, what are a couple of things that you can’t live without/ don’t leave home without?

Hmm…My bikini. My Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids sunscreen stick (this beats any other surfy sunscreen that’s out there), and my Argan Oil hair treatment to help battle the lovely effects the salt, road dust and sun are having on my locks.

August
23

Team Rider Kristen Brown

It is funny how some things bring people together. Both MI OLA founder Helena Fogarty and team rider Kristen Brown lived in New York City, but did not meet one another until their love for bikinis brought them together last year in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Both traded in their high heels in the Big Apple for bikinis and a surfboard in Tamarindo. Small world, huh?!

Back in June we got some tips and secrets of Kristen’s surf bag, and we finally were able to sit down with this busy chica and talk about bikinis, surfing, and living in Costa Rica. Check out our interview with her below!

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Mi Ola: Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?

Kristen Brown: At first glance, a lot of people think I am from California with my beach blonde hair, my height, and love for surfing. But I was born and raised in Northern New Jersey, a hop, skip and jump away from New York City. Although I did not grow up on the beach, I was always close to a body of water…rivers, lakes or beaches. I grew up sailing the Hudson River and the beach to me was the Long Island Sound. No wonder I did not know that there were surfable waves on the East Coast until I visited Montauk five years ago!  I have lived in Rhode Island, Georgia, Spain, New York City, and I now call Tamarindo, Costa Rica home.

 

MO: What brought you to Costa Rica? How long have you lived here?

KB: Well…I was suppose to go visit my friend in Spain, but I caught the surfing bug. In the midst of planning to go to visit my friend, I saw an ad for a surf camp here in Tamarindo, Costa Rica and two days later, I bought a plane ticket to Costa Rica. That was exactly three years ago. Right after my trip to Tamarindo, I bought another ticket to go back three months later. It was during that trip that I decided I was going to quit my corporate banking job in New York City and move to Tamarindo. Seven months later I was all packed up and on a plane to Costa Rica to work for surf legend and shaper, Robert August. That was almost two years ago. Crazy how the time has flown by!

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MO: When did you start surfing?

KB: I took my first lesson three years ago in Rockaway, New York. It was love at first wipeout.

 

MO: What is your favorite wave(s)?

KB: I love waking up in the morning, rolling out of bed and surfing my home break, the Rivermouth in Tamarindo. My other two favorite waves are Avellanas and Ollie’s Point.

 

MO: We usually see you out surfing on a longboard. Tell us more!

KB: When I first moved to Costa Rica, working for Robert August, I had a quiver of longboards to chose from. I still was learning to go left and right, and since I am pretty tall, using a longboard made more sense than trying to step down in size. I rode a longboard everyday for almost a year and fell in love with the smooth ride of a longboard. Since then, I have gradually been stepping down from a 7’6″ to a 6’2″. But, board selection all depends on the wave conditions and where I am surfing. If the waves say longboard, I longboard!

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MO: Any tips for women that are just starting to surf?

KB: Be safe and aware of your surroundings! Make sure you understand surf etiquette and if you are at a new break, be sure to ask a local of any hazards.PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Use a board that will help you catch as many waves as possible, even if that means using a bigger board. And, don’t be afraid to be a little assertive. It drives me nuts when I see a guy take a wave from a chica!

 

MO: Besides surfing, what else do you do to stay so fit?

KB: Two words: Jiu Jitsu. I started training in February and besides sweating half of my body weight in class, Jiu Jitsu is great for cross training, not to mention awesome for self defense! I also try to practice yoga at home a couple times of week to keep me limber and to prevent injuries.

 

MO: What do you do in your free time?

KB: Surf, surf, and surf! Well, that is what my family and friends back in the US think I do all day…BUT in my free time I am working! I do social media for this awesome bikini company called MI OLA, photograph, write on my blog, design and sell a line of postcards and notecards called Samba to the Sea Designs, and in my real free time, chase sunsets on the beach!

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MO: What is your favorite thing about your Mi Ola suit? What are your favorite styles?

KB: HA! Helena has to keep me away from the samples because I love all the suits! My favorite pieces are the reversible wrap top, the boy short bottom (so comfortable!!!), the Tira top in cobalt because it is the color of the Brazilian flag, and the Pescado rash guard because I feel like a mermaid when I wear it. Oh, and I don’t have to worry about giving any free shows in the lineup 😉 !

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MO: Any cool stories about MI OLA?

KB: I wear MI OLA in all of my adventures….cannonballing 20 feet into a friends pool, cliff jumping, surfing, doing flips off a catamaran. The suits stays on. Period.

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MO: As an active chica, what are a couple of things that you can’t live without?

KB: My green Nalgene waterbottle, my yoga mat, Nikon DSLR camera, panalito/sunscreen, sunglasses, deep conditioner, and a hat.

 

MO: It really sounds like you’re “living the dream!” Any surprises, once you moved to Costa Rica – in dealing with the tropical weather or culture?

KB: It is all about following your heart! Although I live in a Spanish speaking country, Tamarindo is a very diverse community and I find myself speaking English way more than I would like to. I also used to love to go to the beach to hang out, but now I hide from the sun during the day, unless I am out in the water surfing!

 

MO: What do you appreciate most about living in Costa Rica?

KB: I love being able to live in the present and enjoy life. I used to work on the 24th floor in a cubicle in New York City and now my office is anywhere I have a computer or camera. When I was a little kid I dreamed about living at the beach and now it is right down the street. How lucky am I?! The waves, the ocean, Mother Nature, howler monkeys, iguanas, turtles…are all just so amazing. Gosh, the SUNSETS here are breathtaking.

 

MO: If I come visit you, any particular foods I’ve gotta try?

KB: For sure! Since the ocean is our backyard, the fish here is so fresh and delicious. You have to try the ceviche! A very local dish here are Patacones, which are smashed plantains served with black beans…que rico!  For desert, the pineapple pie at Nogui’s is heaven on earth. Check out my blog Samba to the Sea for more local tips!

 

July
17

MI OLA Team Rider Ashley Mason

One of the benefits of living in Tamarindo, besides the warm water and beautiful waves, are the awesome women that call this beach town home. Fortunately for us, several of these women are MI OLA team riders. They are in the water every day using and testing our suits. They provide the important feedback to make sure that when you get your MI OLA suit that it stays on! You already have met Kristina and Katia, and this week we sat down with Ashley to pick her brain. Check it out below!

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MI OLA: When did you start surfing?
Ashley Mason: I started surfing about a year ago.

MO: What brought you to Costa Rica? How long have you lived here?
AM: It was quite random. I was travelling and wanted to spend part of winter by the beach and this is where I ended up. I have been here now 2 1/2 years.

MO: What is your favorite wave?
AM: When the river mouth in tamarindo is working, it is a longboard dream!

MO: Any tips for chicas that are just starting to surf?
AM: Don’t get discouraged and keep trying. I grew up skiing, snowboarding, wake boarding, dirt biking, you name it, but none of those sports are as difficult to learn as surfing. It has been a very humbling experience learning to surf.

MO: Besides surfing, what else do you do to stay so fit?
AM: Paddle boarding, running and a lot of dog walking!!!

MO: What do you do in your free time?
AM: Cook, read, sew, garden and daydream!

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MO: Your two dogs, Maya and Pinto, made cameo appearances in one of our MI OLA photoshoots. Tell us a little more about them!
AM: Maya and Pinto are both Tico dogs that I adopted in Costa Rica. Maya was living on a beach when I found her so she is happiest when she is wet, covered in sand, and begging coconuts from people while I surf. They are part of the Tamarindo “dog gang” and are great surf dogs that go everywhere with me.

MO: What is your favorite thing about your MI OLA suit? Which design(s)/ color(s) do you like best?
AM: My favourite piece is the wrap around mermaid top. It stands out in the line up, looks fun and is comfortable. When I am riding a longboard in it, I feel like I am channeling a little bit of old school glamour. The blue Tira top is so pretty it looks like you can only use it for suntanning. Then we when you start catching waves in it, heads turn!

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MO: As an active chica, what are a couple of things that you can’t live without/ don’t leave home without?
AM: The trifecta: My dogs, my sunscreen and my ray bans!

 

Thanks Ashley!

May
16

Mi Ola Team Rider Katia Brankovic

Bikinis that are made to stay on need to be put to the test. Enter Mi Ola team rider Katia Brankovic. Katia is one of our newest team riders and she already has been dropping into overhead waves while rocking Mi Ola. Verdict?

“Massive waves at Langosta river mouth, just me and five other surfers. Every wave was better than the other…and all in my awesome Mi Ola top. Love that it stays just in place in double overhead waves!!!”

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Besides loving to surf big waves, Katia is also a mother of two wonderful kids and she recently started adorning the chicas in Tamarindo with her beautiful jewelry, Cat & Leona. We chatted with her this week while waiting for sets at nice reef break not too far away from Tamarindo and a nice Mi Ola beach day at Lola’s in Avellanas yesterday. Check out our interview with her below!

Mi Ola: When did you start surfing?
Katia Brankovic: I started two years ago here in Tamarindo. I had couple of lessons and got hooked…

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MO: What brought you to Costa Rica? How long have you lived here?
KB: I have always was dreaming of spending time in Central America, learning Spanish, but never though I would  stay here for so long. This is my third year here…

MO: What is your favorite wave(s)?
KB: I love reef breaks… solid overhead double overhead waves…

MO: Any tips for chicas that are just starting to surf?
KB: Be patient and of course get yourself the right bikini! Reliable and pretty… Mi Ola is great choice of course! :)

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MO: Besides surfing, what else do you do to stay so fit?
KB: I do all possible water sports when not around waves: kiteboarding, wake skating, water slalom skiing. I recently started with running and I like it a lot!

MO: What do you do in your free time?
KB: I don’t have much left after my two kids, but I love reading!

MO: Tell us a little more about your jewelry business, Cat & Leona? How and when did you start making jewelry?
KB: It used to be my hobby when I was a teenager. But here in Costa Rica, surrounded by all incredibly creative people, my forgotten passion just burst into this little craft work business. It’s easy to became creative here since you have to use what is available because there is not a lot of different materials readily available to buy!  I love to mix different materials, incorporate crochet into my designs, play with colors…

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MO: We hear that you speak not two, not three, but SEVEN languages! And you can play the harp! Do you have any other hidden talents?
KB: Oh well, my native is Russian, I moved to Croatia twelve years ago, so Croatian, English off course…then there is this part in Croatia where I used to live that was once part of Italy, so Italian is the second official language there and my kids went to Italian school. When we moved here to Costa Rica the transition from Italian to Spanish was really very easy! Than German I was learning at school and I practiced in Austria where I used to work…and I recently started with French, it is my new year resolution! And I would love to learn Japanese one day…

I played harp last time 20 years ago, was ready to go to conservatory but that change my mind. It is a dream of mine to have a harp and play again but it is a very expensive dream unfortunately…

I love love cooking, was really much into the idea of opening a sushi bar! My friends like my sushi a lot, but my most loyal fan of my sushi is my daughter for sure!

MO: What is your favorite thing about your Mi Ola suit? Which design(s)/ color(s) do you like best?
KB: I’m deeply in love with my pin up top and super cheeky bottom in gold, stay on approved in huge waves! Like my friend said ” you can go through apocalypse in this bikini!!!!” And gold color make it looks hot! So it’s a second name for it “apocalypse bikini” :)

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MO: Any cool stories about you wearing Mi Ola?
KB: I wore the reversible wrap top in a beautiful peacock blue and was so happy to try it in action that I did not even notice it was two sizes bigger than I normally wear!!! (There was a nice 4ft swell and I was so excited to try out the top. I was happy that it really stayed on and only when I got back home I saw the tag and realized that the tag said size large!!! I passed it on to my friend Kristen, so the wrap top is my next must have in Mi Ola collection!)

MO: As an active chica, what are a couple of things that you can’t live without/ don’t leave home without?
KB: As an active chica and busy mom I love my Rip Curl surf watch! It helps a lot to be in time!

Thanks Katia!

Photos by Steven J. Eliopoulos, Katia Brankovic, and Kristen Brown

 

May
9

Inspired by the Tropics

Our tagline at Mi Ola is “Made in the USA, Inspired by the tropics”. Besides the inspiring natural beauty here in Costa Rica, another benefit of living in tropical paradise is being able to test Mi Ola every single day. The waves are our playground and we certainly put our suits and rashguards to the ultimate test.

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Sunday stroll in Mi Ola

Enter the beautiful and amazing women that help test our suits. Mi Ola is made for real women that are active and want to look great while doing their thing; pulling into a barrel while surfing, spiking a volleyball, doing yoga, cannonballing into a pool, or chasing after your toddler. That is why I use real women in my shoots, not just the typical model. These women are the ones that use Mi Ola day in and day out. They let me know what works and what doesn’t. They may think they are not perfect and model worthy, but they are absolutely beautiful and stunning REAL models. Sure, wouldn’t we all like to be model perfect…but that usually means no ice cream or wine!

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Tough day in the office

This past week these gals put Mi Ola to the test surfing and fortunately we had a great camera crew to capture them in and out of the water. They are real women as in a lawyer, corporate banker, boutique owner, and jewelry designer mom turned Tamarindo, Costa Rica residents and Mi Ola bikini models. Although the waves were small the past couple of days, we were fortunate to have beautiful, crystal clear water and small, peeling waves perfect for long boarding.

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They all rocked the shoot; their natural beauty emanated in the shots. Can you imagine the looks on the faces of the men in lineup when these chicas paddled out rocking their Mi Ola suits?

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Blonde Mermaids

I know you all would love to get to know these women more, so stay tuned for more Mi Ola team rider posts!

*Photos compliments of Steven Eliopoulos and Michelle Morgan.

May
2

Mi Ola Team Rider Kristina Ullrich

Who is that girl?!

If you follow us on Facebook and Instagram, or have checked out Mi-Ola.com, you definitely have seen Kristina, one of our Mi Ola team riders who also happens to model our suits. Besides having an amazing body and naturally stunning, Kristina is a super awesome chica that rips! Did we also mention that she is a hoot?! I know, don’t you just hate her!

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We caught up with Kristina a couple of days ago over some good Costa Rican coffee and a freshly baked mango torte. Besides putting Mi Ola to the test in-and-out of the water, Kristina runs her own wedding planning business, Perennial Weddings, down here in Costa Rica and is a soon-to-be saltwater momma (congrats!!!). Check out our interview with her below!

Mi Ola: When did you start surfing?
Kristina Ullrich: I started when I was 18, when I joined the Surf Club at Salisbury University in Maryland.  I lived in Ocean City, Maryland and surfed all the time.  Also traveling to Hatteras, North Carolina regularly!!!!  Who ever thinks East Coast doesn’t have surf, keep thinking that, keep the lineups empty and special.

MO: What brought you to Costa Rica? How long have you lived here?
KU: I was dating someone, who found work here.  I thought it was a great opportunity because I surfed in the States, and Costa Rica was known for its waves, so hey…why not?!  :) Decided and moved in 1 month.

MO: You rip! Give us some secret hints on how to shred like you!!!
KU: Ha!  Thanks.  Um, one, surf with boys who are better than you.  Two, have fun and don’t get too hard on yourself.  Three, be a little competitive, but not too much.  Four, don’t take every wave, be picky, really learn to read a good wave from an “eh” wave. And five, maybe this is generic, but have fun…otherwise, its not even worth it.

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MO: What is your favorite wave(s)?
KU: I refuse to give away breaks, so I’ll say a solid right beach break, fast, little barrel, but enough shoulder so you can play.  Uh…I’m dreaming of one now.  :)

MO: Besides surfing, what else do you do to stay so fit?
KU: I love a beach bootcamp I go to 3 times a week, I run a lot, and love mountain biking.

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MO: What do you do in your free time?
KU: Surf, collect seaglass, chill with girlie friends, work out, and I really love TV, unfortunately.

MO: What is your favorite thing about your Mi Ola suit? Which design(s)/ color(s) do you like best?
KU: Its how its advertised, but I love that its purely built for the surfer/athletic girl in mind.  From design, cut, color, etc….its meant for water, sand, sun.  Also the booty…who doesn’t like a cute booty.  :)  My favorite cut is the wrap top, pulls everything in and it stays secure, I also dig the new tank top rashguards, so cute!  My favorite color, for me, I love the fushia.  I’m just not a pink girl, but her color fushia, is less girlie and more tropical and fun.

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MO: Any cool stories about Mi Ola….not slipping, other girls wanting to know about the suit you are wearing, etc (I know from wearing my suit chicas ask where my suit is from and I never worry about it while out in the water surfing).
KU: I think we all get compliments on each others’ suits, thats fairly common, especially in specific Mi Ola suits, like the wrap top or the lingerie style one, but I love that one time I literally went for a beach run, didn’t change, grabbed my board, and hoped in the water.

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MO: As an active chica, what are a couple of things that you can’t live without/ don’t leave home without?
KU: Bikini for sure, whether its surf, wakeboard, or a jacuzzi :) !!!!!  Running clothes, running shoes, leggings (good for a night out or with a hoody), mascara, and flax seed (fiber, hehehe…since we’re being honest).  Other than that, things will vary depending on where I’m going.