One of the reasons I love Puerto Viejo so much is because of the commUNITY here. I first met Nathalie as a photographer. The images she captures are breathtaking. I actually had a photo session with her and fell in love with each and every photo. Years later, we have bonded over surfing and being a part of our community. Nathalie created Wild Wahini Surf School with partner, Ana, in efforts to teach children in the area about surfing, conservation, nature, and being conscious. Wild Wahini Surf hosts surf days and teaches kids of all ages how to be one with the ocean and catch waves. These days also consist of beach yoga, meditation and environmental education. One of the efforts I love so much is that Wild Wahini works to promote young girls' confidence while surfing. It is tough being a female surfer! I am so in love with this initiative.
Olas Para Todos is also Nathalie's creation. It is a branch of Wild Wahini Surf School and is more focused towards protecting the environment. She hosts tons of beach clean ups, works to get the community involved, as well as shares information on sustainability and ways to be eco-friendly.
TuCamino Travel loves working with these women and encourage you to volunteer if you are in the area. Check out our interview with Nathalie Vigia:
-Tell me a little bit about yourself and the inspiration behind Wild Wahini Surf School/Olas Para Todos
Originally from Switzerland, I have been in Costa Rica since 2010. My great passion is travel and surfing and I've always been concerned with nature and environmental aspects.
For me surfing is a powerful activity that can impact people and above all impact kids, so i really believe surfing is something more than just catching waves… for me it is a matter of respect. That's why we started this project: to make a small change, share experiences and knowledge.
Kids and surf are my inspiration; believing in a better future and giving them more opportunity to grow and keep on dreaming.
Being that there are not many chances for local kids and girls to surf and learn, we wanted to try and offer something different. With the help of Wild Wahini, we could start to offer some lessons and surf camps in the area.
I also realized, while traveling in Costa Rica and living here in Puerto Viejo, that there is so much we can do regarding environmental education. For example, keeping beaches clean and creating green initiatives. This really inspired me to combine surf lessons with education and games to make kids more conscious about nature and how to keep it clean and respect it.
-What is the mission of Olas Para Todos?
This project, which combines environmental education and surfing, is a way for me to spread awareness about the importance of what it means to keep the beaches clean as well as what everyone can do to help. It is essential for every surfer to be aware and take care of the ocean and the beach. It's so important that we can teach kids how to surf but also the true "surf philosophy" behind this sport.
There is also a part of this project we dedicate to supporting young people, especially girls, to help them reduce anxiety and improve confidence through surfing. To push them and give them an opportunity.
-What is the most difficult part of running your own business?
Olas Para Todos wants to be a local, non-profit organization. The most difficult part is finding help and feedback from people and finding help and collaborations around the country. We always have amazing people helping but to keep this project constant and active all year long we would need more “help” and support. We need a great team in town that would keep on going with the project.
Then of course, sometimes the hard part is to find the time to develop more activities and things to do seeing that this is not our main “work”. We need to find a good balance between work and this project.
-What advice can you give to female entrepreneurs?
Don't be scared and be confident in what you do! Because if you do it with your heart, I'm sure you can do it. Be honest with yourself and keep on trying and dreaming.
“Yes we can” is really the “motto” and it is what I would say to any girl that wants to follow her dreams.
-What is the best part of what you do?
Inspiration, motivation and seeing that change is possible. Seeing children with a big smile on their face when they catch a wave and seeing them so tired but happy. When they ask you “when can we do it again?”
The best part is when I see an improvement and they get more confident in the water and outside. When I get ready for the lesson and kids arrive with all the garbage they found on the beach and say “teacher look what we have found”.
-What is a happy day for you?
A happy day is waking up early in the morning, making a fresh “batido”, and starting my day with some stretching while looking out at the beautiful nature. The next step, of course, is going to see the ocean and the waves with my dog. Then, spending hours in the water catching waves and having fun with people around.
This is how an ideal happy day starts for me : Recharging my energies with the ocean, improving every day inside and outside the water, and learning something new and inspirational.
But a happy day is everyday and everywhere because every time i wake up, I appreciate and give thanks for what i have and this instantly puts me in the mindset of having an amazing, happy day.
Reading these answers, completely moved my soul and we only want to do more with organizations like Wild Wahini Surf School and Olas Para Todos. These women have such big hearts and we are so moved by them and their work. In a way, we all have an active part in teaching the younger generations how to be conscious, aware adults. It is also up to us to take care of and protect the environment. If you or anyone you know is interested in donating, collaborating, or volunteering with these two organizations, contact Nathalie Vigia at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out their FB page.
Thank you Nathalie and Ana for all that you do for our commUNITY. We love you!