February
2

Surfing Tips for Beginner Surfers

Giulia Manfrini (@guiliamanfrini) is one of our surf brand ambassadors that RIPS! From Portugal, Costa Rica, to Bali, Giulia is a former lawyer who left it all to surf around the world.  We caught up with her recently to get the best surfing tips for beginner surfers — check it out below!

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MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

Surfing Tips for Beginner Surfers

1. Don’t rush to get a smaller board

I have seen lots of beginners surfing with performance shortboards and struggling even to paddle! Surfing is all about having fun and trying to catch as many waves as possible. Use a big soft top beginner board to start and once you have learned how to stand up and ride whitewater, you can transition to a fiberglass board, stepping down in board size length SLOWLY until you have a very strong, balanced paddling technique and are super confident in taking off and riding green waves. Using the right board for your surfing level will help you improve much faster and you have much more fun because you will be catching a lot more waves!

2. Get a good surf instructor

We always think we can learn everything by ourselves, without any tips or help. But, learning the right techniques and surfing rules from the beginning is much easier than correcting mistakes afterwards. And I always recommend to keep taking surf lessons/coaching even once you are catching waves on your own. Surfing is one of the most difficult sports and there are always challenges and something new to learn.

3. It’s all about balance

I often hear women say that they are not fit enough or not strong enough to surf. Believe in yourself! Surfing is all about balance, about the right movements, about positioning you body. Once the wave gives you speed, position your hands at the same level of the chest, keep your elbows close (a lot like a Chaturanga pushup) and lift yourself up. You don’t have to do a push up (don’t press down your board), but slide your upper body up and forward. This movement will allow you also to maintain the board flat and not loose the speed generated with the paddle and the push of the wave.

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MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

4. When paddling for a wave, paddle straight 

After you have found the right balance laying down on the board, point your board directly to the beach and start paddling straight towards the beach, at a 90 degree angle to the wave.

5. Paddle 2-3 more strokes than you think

A lot of beginners miss waves by stopping paddling too soon. Make sure to take 2-3 extra paddles to make sure you get into the wave. Plus, no body likes missing waves because you didn’t paddle hard enough!

6. Bend your knees

Be light on the board and bend your knees (not your back) to find the flow of the wave.

 

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MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

7. Get used to wiping out

Every surfer wipes out! Be prepared to fall and fall more, and learn to go with the flow of the whitewater. The more you resist and thrash in the whitewater after wiping out, the more tired you will be. Remember that the whitewater will only last a couple of seconds and then you will be able to pop back up to the surface.

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MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

8. Surf as much as possible

Try to make the best of your vacations and go places where you can surf! Check out MI OLA’s surf guides for awesome places to surf around the world!

9. Wear the right bikini

I have seen so many women struggling to surf because they are too focused on their bikini staying on. I know, we are women and we all want to look sexy in our bathing suits! So get a MI OLA bikini! They have an amazing fit, the prints are fantastic, and the suits actually stay on while surfing! Surfing is a sport that requires an high level of concentration, so we cannot miss waves or get a big set on the head just because we were trying to fix that top! Be Sexy and Stay Comfy :)

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MI OLA Ambassador Giulia – @giuliamanfrini

 

 

June
10

You’re not too old to learn how to surf!

Our MI OLA Brand Ambassadors are pretty amazing. They inspire us to get up and #getouthere EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. They are not only passionate about what they do, but they also are always open to try new things. Brand Ambassador Jen P, loves running marathons, is an avid SUPer, and took her first surf lesson at the awesome age of 41.

Learning to surf at ANY age is hard, so we chatted with Jen to get the insider tips on learning to surf at 40 and beyond.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

I took my first surf lesson at the ripe old age of 41 at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp. We won’t even talk about when that was. It was all because a runner pal of mine with a keen sense of adventure called me up.  She was organizing a girls trip to learn how to surf. Honestly, I didn’t even know if I would survive my first lesson.  I assumed I might be the one floating out the back in a big ole inner tube with a drink in my hand, cheering on everyone else! Of course, you know that isn’t what happened – I had a great time the entire week!

Being in beautiful, warm water with a really fun atmosphere didn’t hurt, either. I will say, it was very helpful to go with a group of like-minded women. We were all about the same age, and we were all pretty fit. I only mention the fitness part because I think it really helped us succeed and enjoy the lessons. Surfing definitely goes better when you have some strength and endurance already under your belt.

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

Tips:

– You are never too old to learn something new! Seriously, that type of thinking ages you more than any physical passage of time.

– Learn with a group so you feel less self-conscious about being a total beginner. As adults, we haven’t had to be beginners at much of anything in a very long time. It is humbling, especially if you are active and used to being pretty competent in other sports. Learn with a group of friends so you can encourage each other and laugh at the learning process together! If you can’t find a group of people to travel with, don’t be afraid to travel solo and either stay in a women’s single-traveler room (like WRSC) or join up with a women’s only surf retreat. You will be amazed how everyone welcomes everyone!

– At some point, you may realize that you are never going to be surfing 10 foot waves. This is ok. There will always be someone surfing better, or surfing bigger waves. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, but don’t apologize if the conditions are beyond your limit. It’s supposed to be fun! No one cares but you!

– The real reason I love surfing (even though I’m not very good at it, and continue to work on it) is because I love the water.  It is one more way to have fun in the ocean! And it seems like a sport I can do for a very long time. I’ve been a runner my whole life, but I’ve always said that if something happens where I can’t run because of injury or something else, I don’t want to be left feeling sorry for myself or lost without any activity or sport.  Surfing (and SUP) seem like lifelong activities that I can continue to enjoy forever!

My goal is to be a somewhat competent surfer by the time I’m 50. I don’t even really know what that means, but I’m having fun in the pursuit of this nebulous decade-long goal!

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

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Photo by MI OLA Ambassador Jen – @flentil

MI OLA has got you covered, literally and figuratively!  To learn more about surf science, check out our blog posts on swellhow waves are formed, how wind affects waves or what makes a wave a left or a right.  We also have super handy surf guides from all around the world, written by our local ambassadors, so if you are headed on a surf trip be sure to check them out!

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com

December
18

The All Women’s Surf Retreat

This year MI OLA received some AMAZING holiday gift suggestions for our Christmas Guide 2015. Inspired by our CEO Helenas Big Splurgepick, for this week’s blog, we asked her to divulge all about checking into an All Womens Surf Retreat.  Founder of MI OLA and Chief Bikini Officer Helena takes us through her journey as a lone traveler, reaping the benefits of this self-discovering adventure.

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Helena, in Tamarindo, thinking…”Cute print, but I gotta make better swimwear for active women who rip”.

As the founder of MI OLA, I get questions all the time from friends about learning to surf, such as: Could I learn to surf?,”  Am I fit enough to surf?,” or Am I too old to learn to surf?”  The answers are YES, probably, and noalmost no one is too old to learn to surf if they have an open mind about trying and learning something new!

Learning anything new can be intimidating.  Especially learning to surf.  I spent six months in Australia when I was in collegeand I was too intimidated to learn.  I thought I wasnt cool enough. I was embarrassed that Id look silly.   There was a lot of machismo in the water.  

I waited until I was 32.  I was probably less cool then than when I was 20, and I still looked silly when I was learning!  And yes, there was still a lot of machismo in the water at times.  But today there are many more women ripping alongside them. Can I get a heck yes!!!

I learned to surf at an all womens surf camp, which made learning easier.  We spent a week holed up in a modest hotel in Maui with Swell Women. I surfed twice a day, did yoga and ate good food.  By the time I left I knew how to catch a wave, handle my board, and I was completely hooked on surfing.  It was a great experience and I left confident enough to surf on my own when I got home.  Since then, some of my best friends are women I’ve met surfing.   And there’s nothing like rolling up to your favorite break and seeing your favorite women getting out there!  I definitely recommend a Women’s Surf Retreat. 

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Team Rider Kristina Ulrich

 

What To Expect

A womens surf retreat is a wonderful way to meet other courageous and adventurous women who value traveling, learning new things, a healthy lifestyle and having fun. The friendships that you will make in an environment like this are ones that are sure to last a lifetime. 

The best part about this is you will have a whole new network of women to #GetOutThere with on your future adventures! Beginner or expert, there are endless opportunities to learn to surf or improve your game.  When looking into a retreat:

  1. Find a retreat created by women for women.
  2. Check out what packages are on offer for surf.
  3. Think YES you can!  The worst thing that could happen is that you fall in love with surfing  and change your life – like what happened to me.

The Rewards

  1. You could get in the best shape of your life.
  2. You will get more in tune with the world, and natural rhythms than ever before. 
  3. You will become a bit of a hippie when youre not charging the waves.  Youve gotten all your agro out battling the waves, and you care more about the environment because pollution and run-off directly affect you, as a surfer. 
  4. Your sex life will be better!  Yes, I said it.  You will be more in the moment, more physical and more confident than before learning to surf.
  5. You could change your lifefor the better.  I ditched my life in NYC, working in fashion, and moved to the beach.  Along the way, I fell in love, got married, had a baby, and started a company, and learned a little bit more about living Pura Vida. 

Just remember learning to surf is a commitment and it can be a scary one to make.  Go into it MI OLA Style Feel the fear and do it anyway!

 

Where? 

I have an endless list of awesome surf retreats I could recommend. But for this entry, I am giving it up to my local in Tamarindo Beach.  One of my favorite surf retreats is Witch’s Rock Surf Camp (WRSC). It’s Costa Rica’s most popular surf camp since 2001.

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Photo by Witch’s Rock Surf Camp

WRSC really teach people to surf.  In fact, they guarantee it.  If you don’t learn to ride waves, they actually give you your money back.  I stayed here a ridiculous amount of times, before moving down the beach from it.  You cant imagine how excited I was to hear they are launching a WRSC Womens Surf Retreat.

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Photo by Witch’s Rock Surf Camp

This is a great place to start. I recommend this program to all women who want to surf or want to surf better.  The safe environment allows you step out of your comfort zone to find the benefits of single travel far outweigh the risks. Check in with the WRSC website for upcoming female only retreat dates, package info and prices.

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Photo by MI OLA

WRSC handle absolutely everything. From the airport transportation and lodging to the activities.  And by being in Tamarindo, you can do the retreat and explore superb beaches and nature – AND great restaurants and entertaining nightlife.   

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Photo by MI OLA

February
6

Surf Guide: Deerfield Beach, Florida

Hawaii, California, Australia…hot spots for surfing that everyone knows about. South Florida?  No one really thinks about it as a surf destination.  We dig empty lineups,  so  let them think that there are no waves to be found.

However, we know that the East Coast gets some pretty awesome waves thanks to hurricanes and winter storms. AND the best surfer in the world, Kelly Slater, is from Cocoa Beach, Florida. So we asked brand ambassador Jasmine Arvizu to help share some inside info on her home break, Deerfield Beach, Florida.

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Surf Guide: Deerfield Beach, Florida

Hey! My name is Jasmine Arvizu (@jazzywazzy898), I am 16 years old and have lived in South Florida for the past six years. My love of surfing started when I lived in Hawaii and ever since I have wanted to surf. It wasn’t until I moved to Florida that my parents took me to my first surf lesson and ever since I caught that first wave I have been in love! I also enjoy snorkeling, paddleboarding, yoga, and running track and field. I hope you guys come and visit Florida where it’s summer all year round!

Location: Deerfield Beach, Florida

Where to surf: Deerfield Beach is the spot where I learned to surf, and it has the perfect variety of wave types for all levels of surfers, from the groms being pushed out by their parents to the old locals. Every summer, there are days when the waves are clean and great for long boarding. During the winter, the wind picks up, and so does the swell. The waves can be anywhere from 4 to 5 feet and perfect for short boarders.  Jellyfish are everywhere in the summer; I’ve gotten my fair share of stings, and in the winter the rip currents are pretty strong.  This is one of the best local spots in South Florida if you’re just looking to get out there and have fun!

Crowd factor: South Florida is warm all year round and on weekends it can get really crowded, especially during the summer. The best times to go are dawn patrol and weekdays during the winter where you can have the water all to yourself.

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How to get there/where to stay: Deerfield Beach is a straight shot off Hillsboro Boulevard and has beautiful hotels right across from the beach. The Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort is a beautiful hotel looking over the ocean with amazing food, especially breakfast, an outdoor pool and fitness center, and best of all an ocean and city view. It is a 2-minute walk from the hotel to the beach.

Water temp: In the summer/spring the water is like stepping into a warm bath, a beautiful 95 degrees. In the fall and winter, the ocean temperature is 70 degrees at the lowest. The most I’ve ever needed surfing is a spring suit and even in the winter a bikini is comfortable.

Other Activities: On calm, flat days, the water is crystal clear and my favorite thing to do is stand up paddleboard as far out as I can and see all of the wildlife! I have seen nurse sharks, turtles, lots of fish, and all different kinds of seashells. You can also boogie board, swim, and play volleyball. The pier is also great for fishing or just a great view of the ocean.

Apres Surf: There are a large variety of different restaurants lined up along the beach. My favorite places are Burgerfi, Umberto’s Pizza, Flanagan’s, Charm City Burger’s, The Whale’s Rib, and Kilwin’s for ice-cream! As well as good food there are also local surf shops, including Billabong, Wings, and my favorite local shop, Island Water Sports. IWS is a shop where the people are friendly, and you can stop by for some wax, bikinis, or to rent a SUP or surfboard.

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December
26

2014!

WHAT. A. YEAR!

From New York City to Costa Rica to all around the world, we’ve had a a crazy, but awesome year.  Awesome as in…

Our Team Athlete Bailey Rosen kicked some behind in Oahu and then went off to California to start her freshman year at UCLA,

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Our Brand Ambassadors have been #gettingoutthere all around the world,

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We learned some pretty cool things about the science of waves and surfing,

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Photo Thomas Green

Photo Thomas Green

Got some pretty great local surf knowledge for Rockaway, Tamarindo, Rincon, the North Shore, Christchurch, and Moorea,

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We took the pledge to check our boobies once a month for the #checkyourselfie campaign,

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AND not to mention we had a bitchin’ photo shoot right here in Costa Rica for our 2015 look book.

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So what is on tap for next year???

How about some new prints AND a super sexy one piece…. more women discovering MI OLA and #gettingoutthere, Oh, and hopefully a pretty rad surf trip…to Pavones so we can work on our backside. That is, our backside surfing!

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So shiny, so new!!!!

 

 

 

December
13

Surf Guide Moorea

Meet Elise. She is one of our awesome MI OLA brand ambassadors. A couple of years ago she followed her heart and now lives in Moorea, French Polynesia. Her daily activities include surfing beautiful reef breaks with crystal clear water and under water training with sharks. How about that for #gettingoutthere?!

Given that Elise lives and surfs waves that we only dream of, we asked her to provide us with some local knowledge of surf in Moorea just in case Santa decides to gift us with a surf trip…

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Moore Surf Guide by Elise (@babeinthewaves)

My surf story is quite unusual. I am a mountain girl; I grew up in the French Alps where I learned  to ski and snowboard at a very young age. So how did this mountain girl end up in Polynesia surfing every day?

It’s the love story of my life. I met my true love, a crazy adventurer and wave lover, and it changed my life. By following him in his crazy adventures around the world, I learned to surf in the Canary Islands and then our trip to Indonesia sealed the deal. We spent two months surfing every day and I became addicted to surfing. As a result of that trip we decided to stay here in Tahiti, to never miss waves, coconuts or the sun!

Location:

Surf in Polynesia is very important, it is part of the culture and lifestyle. Polynesians have been surfing for a very long time. The earliest references about surfing are from the 15th century and were found in the notebooks of James Cook during his explorations of Tahiti and the Islands. At this time, men and women were surfing together, naked in the waves, but with the arrival of Missionaries and religion, it was considered obscene by the missionaries and was forbidden. In the 20th century surfing reappeared by the influence of the Hawaiians, practiced mostly by men. For women, because of religion, it was more difficult to return to the water.

Polynesians prefer powerful and big barreled waves. One of the most famous and best breaks in the world is Teahupoo. But I prefer to talk about other waves, so that you can discover less crowded and more accessible surf spots on my little island of Moorea.

Moorea, Tahiti’s sister island, is a beautiful island with white sandy beaches and stunning bays and is known for its sublime and breathtaking landscapes. For example, Cook’s Bay is frequently used in many movies, such as the Bounty. Moorea has a lot of high quality reef breaks. They are famous for their power, perfect waves and very aggressive and very shallow reefs. To surf them, the best way is guided by a local who will explain the spot. Also, if you have never surfed a reef break, Moorea spots are not the best ones to begin. There are often strong currents and it’s very shallow. For a first experience on a reef, I don’t recommend it. I never wear water shoes, but if you are sensitive to cuts and scrapes to the feet, you should wear a pair.

If you come for a surf trip to Moorea, make sure to bring EVERYTHING you need! There are no surf shops, no board rentals, no surf schools. You will be able to find a leash, deck pad, or wax at the gas station, but everything is expensive on this small island and Tahiti is 40 minutes by ferry boat.

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Where to surf:

Surfing in Moorea is a privilege and an amazing experience. The view from the peak to the mountains is magical and the lighting is breathtaking. When you look down under your feet there are beautiful, colorful fish….and don’t be afraid to share your wave with a back tip or lemon shark! :)

Club Med Left, North shore: This is my home-spot and most accessible. It is a nice long left wave, with a first tubular bowl and two others bowls perfect for rollers and tricks. It works perfectly with north, northwest and east wind swell. If the swell is too big, beyond 2m, the pass is saturated. At the end of the wave, there is no longer water and you’re on the reef.

Best period: November to March.

How to go to the peak: taxiboat (Hotel Intercontinental Moorea Exp’Air Kite and SUP school), about $15 roundtrip.


Club Med Right, North shore: Only a few locals challenge this beautiful fast and powerful right. You must get it right as it breaks on a sharp reef with rocks popping out of the water. It is fast, hollow and tubular; this right is shorter and more intense than its left twin. Barrel lovers only! Works perfectly with north, northwest and east wind swell.

Best period: November to March.

How to go to the peak: taxiboat (Hotel Intercontinental Moorea Exp’Air Kite and SUP school), about $15 roundtrip.

 

Haapiti, West coast: Haapiti is a world class and famous wave, a perfect left. Bethany Hamilton came here to shoot for her new movie, #surfslikeagirl. This wave is changing all the time. It is never the same, depending on the swell and its orientation, which changes it radically. You can see it very fast with big barrels with a South West swell, and with South or South East swell you can see a perfect, long wave ideal for rollers and tricks. Haapiti is less shallow than the others but be careful because the reef is very aggressive and waves are very punchy.

Best period: April to October

How to go to the peak: taxiboat (Hotel Intercontinental Moorea Exp’Air Kite and SUP school), about $30 roundtrip or taxiboat (Surf B & B Haapiti)

 

Temae, South East coast: Temae is a beautiful powerful and technical right, one of the rare on the island. It works very rarely (by SE swell) and requires a very good technical level of surf and much experience. It breaks on a very shallow reef. Many surfers are scared by this one because of several accidents, but it is also very prized for its rarity and radicalism. The positive thing of this break is that it breaks on the shore. Negative thing? It is very hard launching between rocks and sea urchins!

How to go to the peak: Go to the Temae golf course, search the beach and look for it breaking!

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I have spoken only of radical Reef breaks, best for only for advanced or experts surfers.  However there are also the Beach breaks of the North shore of Tahiti, where I trained a lot when I arrived in French Polynesia.

Ahonu: A fast, barreling Beach Break, mostly surfed by teens and bodyboarders for its fast and hollow waves. Works very well with north swell from November to March. Small waves to play all the rest of the year, but exposed to the wind. Very crowded on the weekend. Black sand beach!

Orofara: A Beach break with slower and softer waves that is mostly surfed by SUPers or longboarders. It works very well with north swell from November to March. There are small waves to play in all the rest of the year, but exposed to the wind. Very crowded on the weekend. Black sand and rocks!

Papenoo:  A high quality Beach break, perfect with north swell from November to March. It is very crowded on the weekend and is the place for local contests. Rocks!

There are other surf spots on the island but most of them are secret and are finicky, so to find them you have to be patient, curious and you have to talk with local guys.

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Crowd Factor:

Tahitians are generally very friendly and if you respect them there will be no issue. Be careful and don’t go inside to the peak first. If you respect the locals, you will catch more waves! Don’t paddle on another surfer’s waves and always look inside before catching a wave! We salute the locals by saying “Ia Orana”, when we get to a break. It is definitely nice to speak the language, and make a small Shaka Love as a peace sign. There also are  no-to-very few female surfers. If you’re a girl and a good surfer, locals might let you some waves and encourage you; the Polynesians are little charmers.

Other activities: 

You can still enjoy Tahitian shows of traditional dances and songs, mostly organized by the hotels. The best shows are on the place of Tiki Village (traditional Polynesian reconstructed village), with the best company of Moorea, where you will have a unique and amazing evening in the tradition of Polynesian songs and dances. Don’t miss it!

Moorea offers a multitude of exceptional activities. Stand Up Paddle  in the lagoon with rays and sharks, dives with whales and dolphins, treks inside the island to see waterfalls. Any nature lover will love the wide variety of fauna and flora.

In Moorea you can also kite board on the North shore lagoon (Wind season from May to October). Check out Hotel Intercontinental Moorea Exp’Air Kite and SUP school.

Nights in Moorea are very quiet and if you like clubbing or drinking, dont expect to find it here . Moorea is not Ibiza; we live with the sun: we get up early and go to bed early.

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How to get there/where to stay:

The easiest way to come is to fly to Papeete or Moorea (there is a small airport). A ferry shuttles between Papeete and Moorea every day, several times per day.  The best is to land in Papeete to enjoy its famous market and discover the beautiful gardens of Paofai, and then take the ferry to Moorea. You will need to rent a car or a scooter to enjoy the Island.

The flight ticket to Tahiti is expensive, but once there, the inner-island tickets are affordable and it’s an opportunity to visit small atolls and motus. Who hasn’t ever dreamed about the Tuamotu Islands, to surf secrets spots and the make the most of beautiful diving?!

For accommodation, I prefer guesthouses and homestays, which are much more affordable and local than hotels or resorts. It’s a good way to meet the local people and enjoy the legendary Polynesian kindness and hospitality. You can find good places on this website: www.tahiti-pensions.com

Apres Surf:

We say “Le Ma’a”, or eat local! Local specialties include raw fish with coconut milk – an unmistakable traditional dish, grilled mahi-mahi and Ma’a Tahiti (Pua roti, Taro, Sweet Potatoes, Fafalu)…you have to try and taste it!

Some food trucks and snacks worth savoring: Chez Fred or Snack Mahana.

Pizzas, burgers and other junk food are also very easy to find, but it is not where you eat the best.

You can buy some of the best fruits and vegetables on the roadside. Many merchants offer delicious fruits of quality, for example pineapple, emblematic and sacred fruit of Moorea (there is even a Pineapple Road). You can also find good fish, white tuna, red tuna, mahi-mahi, swordfish …. on the edge of the road that’s where it is the freshest and cheapest!

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November
8

Surf Guide: Christchurch, New Zealand

If you are not following the adventures of @insta_susi yet, then we highly recommend that you should. We met Susi through our MI OLA Brand Ambassador search and we just can’t get enough of this adventurous chica and mother of two beautiful girls. From surf trips in Bali, hill bombing in her MI OLA suit, to braving the freezing cold weather to take the pledge picture for #checkyourselfie, Susi keeps us on our toes for what she is up to next!

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Suzi

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We recently chatted with Susi about helping us to do a surf guide on one of the amazing places she has surfed. First location up is Sumner and Taylor’s Mistake in the Christchurch area of New Zealand. Check out the details from Susi herself!

 

My greatest passion in life is surfing and travelling and these two seem to go hand in hand nowadays. My surf adventures have taken me to Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Bali, Hawaii, Taiwan, Maldives, France, Spain, Norway and of course I have tried river-surfing on Munich’s famous Eisbach in Germany. My first local beach were the beaches of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Although I have settled down in Norway, surrounded by beautiful mountains and stunning coast lines with the occasional day of great surf, I still miss my New Zealand surf buddies and the fact that it was so easy back then to cross the street and be out in the surf. Growing up in southern Germany – more than 1500km away from decent surf it was like a dream come true to finally live by the sea in New Zealand.

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Location: Christchurch, New Zealand: Sumner and Taylor’s Mistake

New Zealand is blessed with 15,000 kilometers of coastline featuring a variety of breaks, waves, points and reefs. The diversity and consistency of surfing conditions is as remarkable as the stunning coastline itself. Christchurch is the largest  city on New Zealand’s South island and within a 30-50 minute drive are several great breaks.

 

Where to Surf:

Sumner

I lived in a little suburb just outside of Christchurch called Sumner. It is right at the beach and is charming with its palm trees and small cafes. It has a nice vibe going and this is where I learned to surf.

I surfed a lot at Sumner the first few months, however it is a bit of a sluggish wave and best ridden on a map (longboard). The beach break offers both left and rights and it is all over sand bottom. It works best at low or mid tide, as it gets a backwash at high tide. Also it can be tricky getting back in at high tide when the water is up on the rocks. Your easiest access point then is the boat ramp at Scarborough where you can easily get in and out off. On bigger days there can be an extremely strong rip dragging people out along the breakwater. The waves are best with ENE swells and it is offshore with SW winds.

If you happen to travel there and want to try out surfing – surfcoach Aaron and his learn to surf crew hire out equipment along the Esplanade and give great surf lessons. They are super friendly and professional, which I know first hand, as I occasionally worked there as a surf instructor.

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Taylor’s Mistake

My favorite and true local however wave is Taylor’s Mistake, where I surfed most of the time. It is just around the hill from Sumner, a small bay on Banks Peninsular. The waves are of better quality, however this place gets super crowded. You can surf Taylor’s on all tides and it needs a good ENE groundswell and W winds to really fire. But when it’s on it’s on. If it gets bigger, you can use the rip along the rocks on both sides of the bay to help you get out.

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If the waves weren’t good on my doorstep, there were endless options up or down the coast, but most my road trips where to the wild and breathtaking West Coast, where you’ll nearly always find surf.

 

Water temperature:

Water temperatures are fairly cold on the East Coast of the South Island ranging from 6 degrees Celsius in the winter to 21 degrees in the summer. So from end of January till the end of February, you have about 1 month to surf in your MI OLA bikini ; ) The further north you go in NZ, the warmer the water.

 

Crowd Factor:

Watch out for crowds as surfing has definitely gotten super popular at both Sumner and Taylor’s Mistake.

 

Apres Surf:

If you feel like a bite to eat after your surf Sumner has plenty options, but you won’t find anything at Taylor’s. Coffee Culture does great coffees, I used to love getting a takeaway chai latte and a sweet treat and walk along the beach or the Esplanade while looking at waves. Often my hubby and I used to surf till it was pitch black, so we would grab some yummy Indian at Indian Sumner or Little India or Thai from Redcliffs or Ferrymead (both really close). I haven’t lived there in nearly 4 years and after all the Earthquakes things have changed a lot, so I don’t know what’s still there and what’s new.

 

How to get there:

There is only one main route to Sumner from Christchurch and is well sign posted. Sumner is just twenty minutes drive from the centre of town If traveling by bus take the No. 3 Bus to Sumner, get off at the Stoke St stop in Sumner and walk 200 metres to the beach.

For Taylor’s Mistake, drive to the coastal suburb of Sumner, and then continue on to the Port Hills via Evans Pass Road. It is approximately a 50 minute drive from the centre of Christchurch. Public transport stops in Sumner, which is then a 45-60 minute walk over the hill.

 

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August
16

Get. Out. There.

Everyday we are inspired. Inspired by the beauty that surrounds us. Inspired by all of your adventures.

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You get out there;

Your days are ruled by the sun and the moon. You know how to pitch a tent and screw your own fins without help. When the waves are calling, life stops and for a moment that is all that matters. But you have learned that the most important thing in life isn’t surfing.

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You are the one with the messy unkempt hair colored by the sun. Your skin is now far from fair like it once was, but for every flaw on her skin, you have an interesting story to tell.

You are busy living in the present and talk to strangers. You go with the flow and follow your heart, dancing to the beat of your own drum.

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-adapted from “Don’t Date a Girl That Travels” by Adi Zarsadias

You are our muses because you do what you love and inspire us to make the BEST bikinis to keep up with you. We love seeing you with your MI OLA, in action or in the wild.

We are a community of awesome, active women. We surf, we swim, we paddle, we boulder, we cannonball, we salute the sun.

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We don’t stand by the sidelines and we certainly don’t fuss with our suits. We don’t hold back.

We move. Freely.

My wave. MI OLA.

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P.S. Send us your photos or tag us on Instagram or Facebook to be part of our crew. When we use your photo, we’ll send you a 20% off promo code for your next purchase! Tag us @miolasurf and use #miolainthewild

July
14

MI OLA Brand Ambassadors!

Back in May we started our search to find active chicas that love MI OLA as much as we do for our Brand Ambassador program. We were stoked to see the interest in the Brand Ambassador program. The responses we received were AMAZING; there were applications from women all over the world with such inspiring lives! We honestly wish we could step in your shoes for a day or two! It was certainly tough narrowing down the list as we are a growing company and would have loved to have all of our applicants be MI OLA Brand Ambassadors.

So who did we chose?!?! We are beyond excited to announce these amazing women as MI OLA Brand Ambassadors..and we already are loving the photos that they are sending in of their adventures in MI OLA!!!

Susi @instasusi and @kof_clothing
Susi resides in Norway and already is traveling around the world with her MI OLA suit. Current location is a surf check from Bali!

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Marianne @barefoot.outdoor.yoga
A yoga teacher trained in our backyard Playa Negra, Marianne resides in Calgary. We are loving all the yoga and SUP photos!

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Jordyn @jordynbarratt
Originally from Hawaii, Jordyn now lives in Southern California. Either way, both places have some great waves and we love seeing Jordyn rock MI OLA while surfing.

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Meredith @meredithdrangin
Meredith lives in Colorado and is always doing something active outdoors from kayaking, hiking, skiing, or mountain biking.

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Ellen @artemis_eleven
All the way from down under, Ellen is from Australia.  Check out her amazing underwater shots that she is getting! LOVE!!!

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Caitlin @sunburntandsalty
If you ever are thinking of taking a trip to Rincon, Puerto Rico, Caitlin is your chica to show you around! Surfing, yoga, or good eats, this chica has you covered!

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Briana @bvalorsi
From Tahoe, California, Briana not only is one of our Brand Ambassadors, but she also can give you some great advice on outdoor gear that you really need!

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Jenny @jennyanyway
From Florida, Jenny and her family are on a summer-long road trip up the East Coast of the US. So cool!

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Sara @smskier
MI OLA athlete Bailey Rosen introduced us to Sara, who is from California. We love having another SUPer spread the love of MI OLA.

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Jaylen @jaylenkate
Tennis pro, SUPer and beach lover, Jaylen resides in Savannah, GA…and small world we know her from our Tamarindo, CR home base!

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Ashley @theviewfrom6ft
Ashley resides in Thailand and one of her favorite hobbies is scuba diving…we told you that we have awesome women from all over the world!

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Ginger @gingerharris
You all first saw Ginger a couple months ago ROCKING MI OLA in some pretty amazing yoga poses to celebrate her 36th birthday. From Florida, we are stoked to have Ginger as one of our Brand Ambassadors.

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We are stoked to have these women help spread the love of MI OLA! Be sure to follow their adventures via @miolasurf on Instagram!

June
26

What to pack for the beach… even if you’re not a surfer.

One of the benefits of Mi Ola’s home base in Costa Rica is that we pretty much get to surf every day…sometimes twice a day. I know, rub it in, rub it in…

BUT, with all of those early dawn patrol mornings spent surfing and all day, sun filled boat trips to Ollie’s Point, Mi Ola rider Kristen has gotten the gear that she carries in her surf bag down to a science. Kristen was so kind to share some of her secret ingredients that help keep her surfing for hours.

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Sun Protection:

Living in Costa Rica, the sun down here is H-O-T.  Since moving to Costa Rica, because I am exposed to the sun everyday, I have become much more cognizant of sun protection. I prefer to surf in the early morning or during sunset when the sun is not as intense, and then I hide inside the rest of the day! My sun protection starts with high SPF sunscreen, my Kaenon polarized sunglasses, a hat to keep the sun off my face, and a pretty rad Mi Ola rash guard (LOVE the Pescado long sleeve rashie!!!). I still am looking for a sunscreen that stays on my lips!

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Rashguard, hat, sunglasses: Check!

One of my secret sun care ingredients is Pañalito, the Costa Rican version of diaper-rash creme (American brand is called Desitin). Due its high content of zinc oxide, it is a great, thick sunscreen that stays on…and since it does not have any other chemical fillers, my face does not break out as soon as it touches my skin. I also apply it to my scars and recently started rubbing it in on my ears and hands to make sure I have extra protection on these more exposed and sensitive body parts. Of course, you can use it to treat rashes caused by surfing.

Bikinis that STAY on:

After some research and personal product testing, I have found that the best type of suits that stay on are the cross-back tops and the bottoms that have, well, skimpier coverage. Why the smaller bottoms? My theory is there is less fabric for the white-water to drag down. Talk about some toasty buns!

One of the benefits of being a team rider for Mi Ola is that I get to product test the suits and rashguards. My favorite Mi Ola pieces are:

  • Reversible wrap top: Two bikini tops in one! AND this top stays on…I have surfed in this top, cannonballed 20 feet into a pool, and done flips off a catamaran and no one has yet to get a free show.

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  • Boyshort: OK, I know I said the skimpier the bottom coverage the better the suit stays on (like the Casita Boythong)…BUT this bottom ROCKS. It is super comfortable and can go from playing out in the waves to the beach bar to yoga class no problem.

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Casita Boythong, Tira top and vintage Brasil shirt

  • Pescado Rashguard: Not only does this rashguard protect me from the sun, but it is a head turner. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of compliments I have gotten on this piece! The best part is that when I wear this I am one step closer to being a mermaid…

Waterproof everything:

From boat trips to the down pours that can happen during rainy season, it is important to waterproof your belongings. This starts with my dry bag backpack to my Lifeproof case for my iPhone. For the stuff that I can’t waterproof, I put them in zip-lock baggies and then into my dry bag. Things like:

  • My Nikon DSLR (I never leave home without a camera…or two.)
  • First aid kit (Bandaids, superglue, anti-itch cream for those jellyfish stings, Ibuprofen, alcohol cleaning pads)
  • Surf wax
  • Money to buy a pipa (coconut) after a surf session
  • Ding repair kit
  • Extra large beach towel to wrap around my tall-self
  • Leave-in conditioner (The saltwater sucks the life out of my hair so as soon I get out of the water the repair treatment starts! I highly recommend Macadamia Natural Oil.)
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and extra hat

SURFBOARDS!

I wish I could have a whole quiver of boards, but until I get Robert August to shape me my new board, a 6’4″, my two magic sticks are a 9’4″ Robert August “Wingnut Noserider” and 7’6″ Robert August “Waimea” model. Smooth like butter and the ride so sweet!

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And when I am stuck on dry land…

Yoga mat: As I learned the semi-hard way, yoga is essential when you are surfing a lot. Somehow I went almost a month without practicing and coincidentally strained my back and neck. All the paddling, arching your back, and wipeouts require some good stretching. Plus, being bendy has some other advantages as well….like being able to touch my toes! I recommend Jade and Manduka mats.

Goof Board: When I am dry docked visiting my family in the US, I love to hop on my Goof Board balance board. It is an excellent tool for improving your column strength balance and super fun to cross-step on!

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June
20

Costa Rica Loves Bailey

Most of the year, we follow MI OLA athlete Bailey Rosen via Facebook and Instagram. We cheer her on from afar – and catch up with her on the phone.  But last week,  we got a WHOLE week of surfing and hanging out with her  – here in Costa Rica.

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Bailey took seventeen exams to finish her high school career, then she attended graduation and immediately hopped on a plane to visit us in Costa Rica.  We had a lot of fun surfing with Bailey!   However she also was training hard for the Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race in July.  The Molokai to Oahu race spans 32 miles through the Molokai channel – which  can produce swells well overhead during the race.  Bailey said, “The race is not purely about speed. It is about endurance.” She is shooting to complete the race in six hours. Yes, you read that right –  Six hours covering 32 miles in open water! But as Bailey mentioned to us, “SO much depends on wind and current direction it’s really impossible to predict how long the race will take.”

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Bailey, her mom JoJo and Mr. Endless Summer Robert August

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MI OLA team rider Kristen and Bailey spent the week surfing the local surf breaks. You are probably are wondering why “surfing” and not “paddleboarding”?  Due to the nature of the Molokai to Oahu race, with potentially large swells, Bailey spent the week long boarding to work on her footwork cross-stepping up and down her board, or as Kristen likes to say, “twinkle-toeing”.

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We were so bummed to say good bye to Bailey!   We know there are some great things in the future for Bailey (like attending UCLA in the fall!)  AND we can’t wait to cheer her on during her race. Go Bailey!

Check out Bailey’s awesome video of her trip! (click on picture for link)

 

 

 

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