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Las Olas Surf Camp



Surfing is really a metaphor for life: You learn how to pick yourself up when you wipe out; the greatest rewards come after you’ve sweat blood and you realize that balance is essential.


Maybe that’s the real reason why Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez and the rest of the cast of the blockbuster movie Blue Crush triggered an entire gender to start surfing. Ever since the movie’s release in 2002, girls and women across the globe have been picking up boards and riding waves. Established long before Hollywood launched its surfing spree, Las Olas surf camp offers the ultimate surf-sister experience. You’ll learn basic techniques, practice yoga and start speaking like a surfer-dude. Oh, and one more thing: the tagline “We make girls out of women” is totally true.


Las Olas has literally set up camp in a west coast surf town located less than 50 minutes from the bustling Puerto Vallarta. The sleepy spot is home to a number of ex-pats from the Bay area. They’ve come down for the surf breaks, the cheap beers and the breakfasts at Rollie’s restaurant. The beach cove serves as the center of the community. It’s got two beach breaks appropriate for all levels. The beginners and some long boarders stick to the sandbar, a gentle and even spot that’s easy to paddle out to. Short boarders, locals and more savvy surfers tackle the left. The rocky bottom lends itself to higher crests, longer rides and more opportunities to carve.


Drawn to sand and surf, the “Las Olas girls”—as the locals call them—spend most of the day watching the waves. They hang with the instructors, who run on-land drills and escort them to their appropriate-level waves. Gossip and a crash-course in surfer’s lingo are also included. In just a week, you’ll master the art of a “pop-up” and learn exactly how to “turtle” (escape a crashing wave without losing your board). Tackling these techniques in a group can assuage fear, doubt and hesitation. Plus, the cheers and encouragement from the rest of the guests keep first-timers and experienced surfers alike motivated. The worry of being the only woman in the water disappears as quickly as a sandbar at high tide, and guests are more likely to stick with and try basic, complicated and carving moves.


Yoga classes compliment the experience. Held every morning on a bluff overlooking the ocean, this practice helps women surfers get limber, focus on balance and stretch sore surfing muscles. Group dinners, beach time and the shared housing help in fostering close “surf-sister” relationships. Las Olas students stay at an expansive villa property overlooking the beach and cove. Each room houses two to four guests and every one of the hotel’s little houses is distinct; The size, layout and features vary depending on the natural elements each is built around. For example: One room has an outdoor shower with a tree to provide privacy and some have cold plunge pools on the terraces. It is at these spots that the Las Olas women truly become girls. They sit and chat slumber-party-style swapping stories about love, life and, of course, who caught the sweetest wave.

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