Laura Roche has lived in New York for twelve years,
and at the age of 35, she is the CFO of a hedge fund
investment company. Laura is friendly, outgoing and
has heart... she runs in fundraising marathons for
the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She enjoys her
single life, loves adventure and getting out socially,
but says that "City people need to get out more".
Her big-city lifestyle also includes running, visiting
museums, hosting big dinner parties for her family-of-friends
and meeting cute guys.
Having grown up in Long Island, Laura spent her teens
as a lifeguard and swimming teacher, often working
with handicapped children. Although surfing was popular
then, Laura's father would not allow Laura to try
it, telling her "Surfing is just for guys, it's
too rough and unsafe for girls". Harrumph!
Over the years, Laura developed surf envy, but as
she saw more girls getting into the water, she became
more and more inspired. Movies like Step into Liquid
and Blue Crush, as well as accomplished surfers like
Layne Beachly kept nudging her towards surfing.
In December of 2004, Laura finally took her fantasy
surf girl holiday with Las Olas. Not only did she
love the thrill of surfing, but she fell in love with
the wonderful community in Mexico. This was her first
time in Mexico, and she had avoided it for years because
of the stories of spring break resort vacations. Laura
was pleased to find the town to be noncommercial and
unspoiled by tourist attractions.
"The village was hospitable, cultural and full
of beautiful people..." and not the way we usually
think of beautiful people. She's speaking of gracious,
happy, warm, generous, beautiful people. She loved
the dirt roads, the town dogs, and being able to practice
her Spanish. Laura made fast friends with other Las
Olas guests, and still keeps in touch with a few from
Los Angeles and Toronto.
When I asked Laura how surfing had affected her lifestyle,
her first response was simply "freedom".
She feels closer to nature and appreciates the power
of the ocean. "I always come out of the ocean
in a better mood than when I got in. I have fun no
matter what, it's just fun to be out there."
Laura tends to lose herself in the time spent surfing,
and the fact that it's a good workout is a bonus.
She's making strides in her surf ability, but is mostly
having fun learning new things. "Each time is
a new challenge, it's all about yourself and I love
laughing like a little kid."
These days, Laura surfs regularly during summertime
and recently started shopping for her first surfboard.
Although she has some friends that surf, she's noticed
that more people are getting into it. Since she has
a car, she can easily drive to the beach, but admires
dedicated surfers that take the subway all the way
to Rockaway with a longboard. Laura says that today's
East Coast surfers are not only dedicated, but very
helpful, supportive, and non-territorial. She's clearly
proud of her local surf community. "I went to
East Hampton and saw a family surfing together, the
parents were teaching their young girls to surf."
Although you'd think the life of a surf girl would
contrast to that of a New York City girl, Laura finds
the two lifestyles to be very similar. Both involve
risk-taking, having fun and having a sense of adventure.
As an international traveler, Laura has visited places
like New Zealand, Peru, Japan, and Europe. She adores
Machu Pichu, and any place with mountains and beaches.
"I'd like to retire anyplace with good outdoor
life... NOT Florida!" In the end, she hopes she
can do something to make a positive impact on humanity.
"Once you follow your happiness, everything falls
Laura's advice to women is to "Absolutely try
surfing. Come out of your comfort zone, and just do
it. It's life-changing and more fun than you've had
in years, so if you have the opportunity, don't let
it pass you by."
Written by Judi Morales Gibson