Remember when you were a little girl at the playground and you’d walk right up to another kid and ask them to play? I don’t know when I stopped doing that, but pretty soon it became awkward—adolescent insecurity, competition, or shyness overtook my youthful boldness.
Women come to Las Olas for many different reasons. For some, it’s as straightforward as wanting to learn to surf. They’ve been dreaming of joining since they saw the happy surf instructors on the pages of their Athleta catalogue. For others, surfing is beside the point. Whether it’s as uncomplicated as getting away from a needy family for a week, or as complex as leaving a toxic relationship or recovering from an illness, these women need to escape real life, if just for a week.
The first day I arrived at Las Olas, I was a little nervous. Did I remember to pack everything? Will my family and coworkers survive without me? Will I like this group of women I’ll be spending so much time with? Will they like me?
The answers came swiftly and easily. I forgot my toothbrush, the real world back home didn’t fall apart in my absence, I really like every one of these interesting women, and I think they like me, too.
My new friends and I have settled quickly into our daily routine. We awaken to the sun rising above, drinking coffee on our terrace, listening to the birds chirp. One day we may begin with yoga, led by our sweet instructor, who speaks soothingly of finding a seed of joy, or acceptance, or love deep inside of us (which I do). The next morning we may sneak a surf in before breakfast, appreciating the quiet and peaceful water.
After that, we surf some more, guided by our surf instructors, who are truly astounding in their ability to encourage, support, and work their magic of getting us all to stand up and ride those waves. We eat, we drink, we nap, we explore, we shop, and we surf some more. And every evening we collapse in happy exhaustion, dreaming of doing it all again tomorrow.
At the end of this amazing week, full to the brim with pride and love and new life-long friends—I realized that after so many years, I finally walked up to the other girls and asked them if they wanted to play. And we did.
Jackie Sanders is the Las Olas Surf Safaris Director of Guest Services, and lives in Carmel, California with her husband and 14 year old daughter. When not busy arranging surf trips for women, Jackie enjoys hiking in Big Sur, playing tennis, reading, writing and traveling.