Surf Girls Rule: Riding the Big Kahuna in Bikinis

Women are always ahead of the waves and surfing is no exception. If you’ve always dreamed about it but haven’t started it yet, grab your favorite girlfriend, sister or maybe even your daughter, pack your bathing suit (preferably a intact) and sunscreen, and enrolled in one of the many girls’ windsurfing schools.

Hawaii

The traditional home of surfing, Hawaii, offers several options for women who want to experience the thrills of riding a big bike. The big island of Hawaii is home to Girl on the big island surfing (phone. 808 / 326-0269; www.bigislandgirlsurf.com). This women-only retreat includes physical/mental activities along with surfing.

Each surf camp here is unique and adventurous but in addition to the obvious surf lessons, you can also experience snorkeling with dolphins, whale watching, whitewater rafting, fishing, whitewater rafting , hiking through the rainforest, visiting active volcanoes, hula and storytelling. Massage treatments available by appointment include Shiatsu, Deep Tissue, Swedish, Lomilomi, Hot Stone, Reflexology, Aromatherapy and Thai Yoga.

Safe, personalized instruction, with up to ten girls in a class ensures that you receive a surf education and individualized attention. All camping packages are all-inclusive including accommodation, strong healthy meals, yoga/stretching classes, surfing classes, local activities & excursions. Camping prices vary by itinerary but are all tax included and a cheaper discount is offered on prepayment:

  • Week-long camp: $1,395 – $1,495 or five-day camp: $1,095 – $1,195
  • Makahiki Adventure 9 days (for teenagers): $1,495
  • Special Camping / Retreat / Private Tour: different prices
  • Five-day retreat: $795 / $895
  • Two-day clinic (two days two hours in the morning, refreshments): $139
  • Two-hour group class: $79 or one-hour private classes: $60
  • Stay in a B&B: $59 per night with breakfast and $375 per week

Guests at Makahiki Bed and Breakfast with views of Hilo Bay and cozy island-style accommodations include tropical breakfasts, hot tubs, use of bicycles, diving equipment, body boards, etc. They will also arrange Free Hilo airport shuttle service. Check out the Big Island Girl Surf website for seasonal specials and last-minute discounts.

Getting to Hilo, Hawaii from the mainland can be expensive, especially during the winter peak season. Cheap Air (www.cheapair.com) has discounted midweek flights this winter without a pre-purchase from Los Angeles to Hilo starting at $415 plus tax. Cheap tickets (www.cheaptickets.com) has fares on direct flights from New York to Hilo starting at $756 plus taxes.

For women who believe surfing and luxury can go hand in hand, we have Kelea Surf Spa (phone. 949 / 492-7263; www.keleasurfspa.com/home.html), there are two locations – OahuHawaii only from February to April and Malpais on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica only from November to January.

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In Oahu, their Wahine package costs $1765 and includes a private room for five nights, three meals a day, shuttle to and from Honolulu airport, all activities, one hour massage, directions Surf guide and equipment. The Ohana package is $220 cheaper and is based on two people.

Regular flights serve Honolulu International Airport from the mainland United States. From New York, Northwest Airlines (www.northwest.com) has discounted flights to Honolulu starting at $580 plus taxes but they involve two stops making the journey an 11-13 hour challenge. Cheap Air (www.cheapair.com) for the lowest prices from Los Angeles starting at $259 plus tax for midweek departures and returns in January and February, or Travel speed (www.travelocity.com) can get you there for $264 plus taxes on selected dates.

Costa Rica

In Malpais, Costa Rica, the beach and reef make for a great surf spot for all levels without the high tides. Kelea Surf Spa’s Pura Vida package is $1375 and includes a magnificent private room for six nights, three gourmet meals a day, shuttle from Tambor airport, all activities (yoga, self-guided hiking) course), surf instruction and equipment and an hour of massage. The Amigas package is less than $250 for two people to stay.

Kelea guests must fly to San Jose International Airport and then to Tambor domestic airport. Classes start on Monday morning, however, you can come in on Sunday afternoon and relax. Accommodation is provided, but meals are not included on Sundays. Tico Travel (phone. 800-493-8426; www.ticotravel.com) specializes in flights and packages to Costa Rica and has flights to San Jose for as low as $222 plus taxes $65 round-trip from Miami or $348 from Los Angeles.

Indonesia

The name alone beckons – Surfing Goddess retreats (www.surfgoddessretreats.com). Its location on the exotic island paradise of Indonesia Bali would certainly be an additional motivator. Surf Goddess’ four-day/three-night weekend getaways include airport/hotel transfers, beach resort accommodation, breakfast buffets, great beach lunches, training sessions daily 90-minute yoga, daily half-day surfing classes or windsurfing to Bali’s best surf spot, quality surfing equipment (soft starter, sun visor and sun visor), welcome package welcome to Surf Goddess (T-shirt and surf certificate), one hour massage, luxurious welcome dinner and wonderful farewell party. Prices start at $395/person based on two people with up to 30% discount on prepayment. At the other end of the price scale, luxury versions of this resort, such as Tropical Princess, are available for $995. The current dates for 2005 are April 26, June 16, July 21, August 17, September 9, and September 28.

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All retreats are open to solo travelers, groups and women of all levels of surfing experience. No prior surfing or yoga experience required but guests must be over 18 years old (no maximum age limit), can swim confidently, be in good health, and be free of injuries. Surf Goddess also hosts five-day Jump Start retreats and Surf Goddess surf/wellness/cultural programs which include a range of extra activities and excursions. Prices start at $495 and $950 for these packages, respectively, available for different days of the year. Generous prepayment discounts also apply.

Flights to Denpasar, the main airport in Bali, are quite affordable during the winter. Aviation Corporation (phone. 888 / 468-5385; www.airlineconsolidator.com) has a round-trip fare from Los Angeles in January 2005 to Continental, northwest or Japan Airlines starting at $788 plus tax.

Mexico

Las Olas Surf Safaris (phone. 707 / 745-2261; www.surflasolas.com) promises to seduce women with its reverse perfectionist school. Located half an hour’s drive from Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s beautiful Pacific coast, Las Olas prides itself on being the world’s premier surf camp for women and offers potential chicks of all ages and opportunity to learn to surf in a low-pressure, non-competitive environment.

Your Las Olas surf safari includes ground transportation to and from Puerto Vallarta airport, accommodation in tropical beachfront villas, daily surf classes, surf equipment quality (soft starter and custom shaped performance board), your own rash-protecting surf shirt and sports water bottle, three delicious meals a day, daily yoga sessions , private sports massages, private surfing classes with your instructor and day trips to secret surf spots. Depending on the instructor’s schedule and guest preferences, some of the following activities may also be offered: hiking, henna art, jewelry making, Western lessons Spain, body conditioning, introduction to local cuisine, whale watching and turtle encounters (seasonal). Safari prices for a seven-day/six-night safari start at $2195 per person staying two people. Pay 90 days in advance from your safari start date and save $200.

All safaris are open to solo travelers, small groups and guests of all levels of surfing experience and of all ages. Previous surfing experience is not required, but guests must be proficient swimmers, in good health, and uninjured. Girls under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must be 14 years old to be allowed to surf. There is no maximum age limit. Mothers, daughters and families are all welcome. The dates for the 2005 season were January 13 and 20, February 10 and 17, March 3 and 10, April 7 and 14, May 5, June 12 and 26, and June 2.

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Once again, Aviation Corporation (phone. 888 / 468-5385; www.airlineconsolidator.com) can offer you some of the lowest prices on flights to Puerto Vallarta in January. Prices start at $213 plus tax from Los Angeles on Alaska Airlines, Aero California or United.

Florida

Saltwater cowgirls (phone. 904 / 242-9380; www.saltwatercowgirls.com/mainpage.htm) is a Florida-based women-only surf camp located in Jacksonville Beach. In summer the waves can be calmer and a bit smaller than in winter and during the spring and summer months the average wave height is 1 to 3 feet, ideal for beginners Surfing at a high level.

One of the things that distinguishes this camp from the others is that they start all the beginners on the long table. Their weekend clinic is ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers. Three-hour morning classes are $69 per class or $99 including surfboard rental (or $89 for two days and $120 with surfboard rental). Mother/Daughter Surf Camps are also 3-hour morning classes that cost $89 per person per weekend or $120 including surfboard rental.

Various locations

The Adventures of Wahine (www.wahineadventures.com) offers surfing expeditions to local women on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State and in more tropical localities like the Troncones, Mexico, and the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. All-inclusive surf camp prices for seven days start at $1000 in Washington, $1200 in Mexico, and $1500 in Costa Rica. Packages include beachfront accommodation, meals, equipment, professional guidance and local guides. As an affiliate of Lost Coast Adventures (phone. 360 / 681-2065; www.lcasurf.com), they can also arrange surfing adventures in dream locations like Tahiti and South Africa.

These are just a few of the surfing options available to adventurous women. However, you may feel that you want to learn the sport in a less female environment and for those men to compete. For a list of specialized surf schools in the United States and around the world, including those specifically for women, visit www.boardfolio.com/surflinks/camps.html.

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