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Surf and Heal Together with the Women of Groundswell Community Project
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Surf and Heal Together with the Women of Groundswell Community Project

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Dive deeper into the power of the ocean and the specifics of surf therapy for trauma healing with the founder of Groundswell Community, Natalie Small LMFT, the founder of Hakuna Wear, Jessica Boynton, and Jackie.

Groundswell offers different surf therapy programs to help and give women a safe community to overcome various forms of trauma and mental health effects, heal, learn from them, and become their truest selves.

These 3 amazing women share their sisterhood and their experiences with the healing powers of the ocean.

Surf and Heal Together with the Women of Groundswell Community Project

Social Media Profiles:

Other Brands/Surf Retreats Mentioned:

Topics Discussed:

  • Surf with Amigas—what it is about, their mission
  • Groundswell's surf therapy programs and surf therapy journal
  • Finding bravery and resiliency through surfing
  • Embracing failure
  • Overcoming trauma and learning from it
  • Creating balance and the magic it brings 
  • echniques or tactics to utilize for anxiety
  • Healing powers of surfing and the ocean


Hello, hello, Saltwater High! I am back with Natalie and friends. Would you let me know who's on the other side there?

Yeah, we have--I'll let you introduce yourselves.

Hi, I'm Jackie and I'm a good friend of Natalie's. And I volunteered with her with Groundswell at her programs in San Diego when it was first kind of launching. And then I've also been on the maiden voyage Peruvian trip where she's launched down there a program for young women to learn how to surf.


Yeah, awesome.

I'm Jessica. I run an active, empowering swimwear brand and we also run the Groundswell shop through our site. And I volunteered for Groundswell as well.

Yey! Awesome.

And we're actually all down in Dominical, Costa Rica, right now.

I'm so jealous, I am so jealous.

And a lot of the things we've been doing have been because of your blog. So thank you for hosting that. We know what to do while we're down here.

Awesome. I'm so glad you guys got to read that and got some, yeah, some nuggets out of it. It's such a beautiful area. I think it's probably one of the last outpost, I would say, that are left in Costa Rica, unless you go probably to the other side, right?


So how is it? Is there more development happening there? Is there more activity? What's it like? What's the scene like?

Well, how many people are in the lineup today?

Yeah, we're not in Costa Rica.

We're actually in Huntington Beach, Southern California.


Instagram rooms are good.

Dude, if you are in Huntington Beach, you wouldn't be able to count the amount of people in the water.

So yeah, needless to say, it's great. Don't come.

That is such good advice for everyone. Look, there's no ecological damage, right? You let other people be happy because they're already there. That's such wise advice. I love that. Nobody travel anywhere. Let's all stay home. Wait, that's been our lives for the last year. Hold on.


Well, some of us, Natalie. Some of us.

Yeah, well, yeah, but yeah, no, it's been a beautiful time down here getting to, yeah, just see the nature and the greenery and especially after I've been in Peru the last, this whole past year. So it's nice to kind of switch it up. And I'm working with Surf with Amigas. They've been able to do surfer retreats down here since November because of the COVID regulations and requirements here. So that's been pretty nice. There's a solid group of like 10 to 15 ladies that come down every week and get their surf on.

Cool. So tell me a little bit more about what that is, Surf with Amigas, and who's running it and that sort of thing?

Yeah, so Surf with Amigas was started by Holly Beck.

Okay, yeah. I know Holly, yeah.

Yeah, one of the good ol girls.


And she actually took our surf therapy for Trauma Recovery Course last year and ended up joining our surf therapy facilitator training cohort last year as well. And she's going back to school to get her master's in counseling and is interested in integrating surf therapy into surf retreats. And so since that's the work I do, we've been working together and she's actually going to be doing her therapy internship as a surf therapy provider with Groundswell, which is really exciting.

That's great. So is it for the local Costa Rican girls? Or is it just open to anyone? How's that work?

It's open to anyone. Most of the people that participate are flying in from somewhere else in the world.


A lot of people from the US, but they do have a give back component. They do like a kickball or pre-COVID day, they would do a kickball tournament with the local ladies. And she always hires local surf instructors and photographers and artisans to come and take part to making sure to get back to the local community. And we surf at breaks that we don't get in the way of the locals. So it's good.

Where is it located? The main campus or?

Southern Costa Rica.

So that's quite vague, I just want to say. Southern Costa Rica. Wow! Okay.

Just contact them. They'll cook you up.

It's a moveable feast. Is that what it is? It's kind of wherever the surf is best.

They actually have locations in Nicaragua, Morocco, Asia. So they're all over the place.

Oh okay. So it's a pretty big organization then.


Yeah. Huh. Okay, so and what is the mission? Is it to empower women in surfing or what is the mission of the organization?

Uhm shoot. I should have had Holly with us.

Oh, that's okay.

Oh my God, I don't want to speak for her too much, but in general, it's just noticing a lack of ladies in the lineup and wanting to make sure women have a safe space to come and surf and get stoked and create a sustainable surf practice. And so there's a lot of work around like how to be friendly in the lineup and how to navigate localism and being safe. And then also just how to have fun and get stoked, but with the therapy focus. We're really excited to kind of work together and exploring what does it look like to do these surfer traits that are popping up all over the world for women and men. And how does it look like to really integrate the therapeutic aspects of surfing because it naturally happens when you're in the water. But to do that intentionally and yeah, provide more opportunity for women and all human beings to have the opportunity.

Yeah, I know. Don't worry, I don't feel left out, but I think you said it really well, right. To create a safe place for women to just be themselves and be with each other. I think that's so important in today's world, just to create some container that is supportive. And I don't know if safe is the right word.

Maybe brave.

Yeah. And maybe nurturing. I like the word nurturing, something that helps nurture them from many aspects, right? Not only physically but spiritually and therapeutically. Because let's face it, we all have trauma. We're all carrying trauma of some sort, I believe. And surfing for me has been one of the greatest healers, the greatest medicine that I've ever encountered. And so I think that, combined with someone like yourself who has insight into the deeper movements that are happening maybe in the shadows, right, of people's kind of behavior and psyche, that's a powerful thing. When you combine those two. And I think it's really exciting because every time we go on a trip, it's already kind of like therapy, at least it is for me. You're with your friends, you're in a new place, you're hopefully surfing good waves.

Disconnected from the internet.

Yeah, yeah, disconnected from routine too, right? So I'd love for you to maybe dig a little bit more into that and where do you see the work that you're doing or the work that's possible, how do you see it unfolding?

Yeah, well, what you mentioned at the beginning around how everybody holds a trauma experience in their bodies and in their life experiences, the flip side of that is that we also all hold resiliency. And I think surfing really allows us to embrace our resiliency and do that with joy and especially when you're learning how to surf and doing those things within community, you're getting a chance to explore and express and find bravery in your resiliency through surfing and community. And so, yes, we've all experienced trauma, but at the same time, we all have resiliency that's deep within our DNA. If we didn't, we wouldn't exist today if our ancestors didn't have resiliency and were able to overcome those different traumas and experiences and dinosaurs and all the different things that happen in the course of humanity. And so when looking for a lineage, we have a lineage of resiliency that's made us able to be here today and able to surf. And so being able to find joy in the healing process, I think that's one of my biggest pieces, and that's one of the things that surfing can allow us to do. Some days are really shitty and I come to the shore and I'm crying at the end of the day and like, yesterday I left the ocean bloody. But there's still that element of joy in being able to experience it with others and recognize, like, okay, that happened. But I'm still alive, I'm still breathing, I still had fun, and I can go back tomorrow and try again.

Hmm. Yeah. It seems like such a great lesson for life, right? Not just in the water but out of the water too is how we can get beat up, and yet survive. And you know what Nietzsche said it doesn't kill us, it makes us stronger or something like that.


So, yeah, I don't know. I think your perspective, right, of how resiliency and joy are sounds to me like are the things that you're cultivating. Right? Which I really love that. But at the same time, so how does one move through life without avoiding, maybe, some of the deeper traumas or issues that we might be carrying from childhood. So I love the idea of joy being the umbrella that you're pointing out. But I wonder what's the entry point into some of the other kind of areas that might be more challenging for us, right?

Yeah, I think it's important, I'm glad that you bring it back to that because it's not we are resilient and joyful and therefore like nothing ever happens bad in our lives, but more so like things happen in our lives, happened in our childhood or happened as adults or throughout life that are difficult and trying. But how can we take those experiences, learn from them and connect with others through them and use those experiences to inspire and empower ourselves and others to overcome them. And for me, that's what resiliency is. It's not pretending that the bad stuff doesn't happen, but it's looking at the bad things and understanding it and honoring it and listening to it and learning from it rather than just ignoring it. And so, like yesterday, when I was getting whomped on the rocks by the waves, Jess and Troy were watching me because it was like that awkward. They couldn't do anything. I was too deep and I just got stuck in the set. And then once we made it out, Jess was like, "That was a really good metaphor, Natalie. If you don't go, if you wimp out and don't go when you're supposed to, you're going to get worked." "Yup, that's exactly what I am experiencing right now."


And so the ocean's just full of those metaphors and opportunities to constantly be learning and kind of like holding a mirror up to what's going on inside and around us rather than just ignoring it. So it's definitely not a space of ignoring what's happening, but more so like giving yourself that opportunity to take a look at it and reflect on it and learn from it.

And I only know that's a good metaphor because I do the same thing.

I learned from the lesson because I was on the rock with her and I was thinking in my head, "I shouldn't stay on this rock for too long." And so I jumped in the water very quickly. And then when I heard that she was getting sacrificed on the rock later, I thought, "Oh, man. I feel bad. I should have told her that she should have jumped in quicker. And the water was safer than the rock."

Sacrifice is a good word.


But yeah. The work that we've all done through Groundswell is very intentional surf therapy spaces. But even just within the last couple of weeks of working with Surf with Amigas, we're not doing intentional surf therapy. It's just surf instruction and support in the water for women. And even in those just natural learning spaces, the things that are coming up have been powerful. I had one girl that I was working with, she was sharing how she's used to being the best at everything. And she said being really good at what she does and then coming into the ocean, she's like, "I will never be the best at this." And you just start bawling around that concept of letting go of being the best and being able to conquer it and overcome it and be good at something. And so we just shift the mindset of recognizing that the ocean is something that will always be bigger and stronger than us. And so how can we work with it and learn from it.


And be humbled by it and also welcome playfulness into it rather than it being like since I'm not the best, I'm a failure. But if I'm not the best, how can I still find joy in these moments? And so we talked about the wave as more of like a blank canvas and you're getting a chance to paint on this blank canvas and only you can paint on it the way that you're going to paint on it, rather than comparing your painting to somebody else's. And sometimes you get a chance to paint together and have like community art projects. And sometimes it's a solo art project. And so just kind of shifting that mindset of what it looks like to encounter life and encounter failure and embrace failure rather than being so afraid of failure or trying to never fail.

Yeah, surfing teaches I mean, it's taught me so much about failure, right? Every time you get worked or fall off the board or try to do something that doesn't quite work out the way you think it should. It's super humbling.


Right when I feel like I've maybe gained some wisdom about myself or life in a certain way and I go surfing and then I see that same behavior reflected back at me, like maybe I don't drop at a certain place because I'm feeling a little bit of fear, right? Or maybe I take off on a friend and it teaches me about selfishness and it's such a subtle playground that is reflecting both the joy and the aspects of my character that I want to celebrate and also I'm working on. Right? That's what I love about it.

I'd also say to kind of mirror that idea of there's a lot of struggle in it is that there's also a lot of winning and confidence-building in it too. Like, what do they say? You spend more time paddling than up on a wave. And there's persistency and confidence in it. Think about the time you catch a wave and it's amazing. And you tell everyone for weeks about this wave and it's like a big fish story and no one's seen this wave and you're just using your words and the expressions on your face and maybe your whole body to show what you were doing on the wave. And you're just stoked on it for weeks and you learn from that. And I think there's things as far as confidence that you can take from the ocean and apply it into your everyday life.

Hmm. Yeah, I love that.

It's building new neurological pathways in your brain.


Of confidence and those feeling because when you experience a trauma, it robs you of that experience of knowing that you're safe, that you have power over your own body, that you can have intimacy, and that you can trust people. And so by surfing, you're kind of reclaiming your ability to be like, "Okay, shit is going down. The waves are crashing on me. But I know how I can survive. I know how to be safe. I know how to regain and reclaim my power in the lineup with other people." So it's this like constant every wave is this opportunity in this practice that rewires the brain to know that, "Okay, I am safe, I do have power. I can do this." And so even when you fail, it's an opportunity. Failure is positive, like in our surf therapy programs, the goal isn't to make sure people don't get triggered or don't have bad experiences. It's more like when those triggers happen, when those difficult experiences happen, how can you know that you're not alone in it? And how can you overcome those things and learn from those things to integrate them into your life in a way that's going to grow resiliency and power and safety and strength, rather than creating more barriers and roadblocks to actualizing your fullest self in the world.

Hmm. Beautifully said. Love that. And this is where I think community is so important, right? And one of the things I love about surfing is my closest friends, they are also surfers, and it's because we kind of share this secret, right? In a way. Southern Costa Rica somewhere and Southern California somewhere, we share this kind of..

We should have said south of California.

Yeah, below the border. South of the border, you should've said. But, yeah, there's this mystery, right. There's this kind of because it is mysterious too. The ocean is very mysterious and how it speaks and just how it breathes and lives. And there's something about sharing that mystery with somebody else, which is super powerful. And I don't know why I said that, but I just feel, yeah, the community aspect, which I think women are probably better at that. Men tend to be more kind of I think they're less inclusive, they tend to be less inclusive and kind of more territorial. And so I can imagine that being in a community of women surfers can be a really powerful place to be in. Of course, it is for men, too. I don't want to get all gender weird on this, but there are differences, right? Between females and males. Like when there are females in the water, I'd always feel so much better. It just feels like, oh, wow, it's like I don't know what it is. There's like the energy.

It's creating balance.

Yeah, yeah. That's a good way to put it actually.

Yeah. Because it's not an element of like the feminine is better than the masculine or the masculine is better than the feminine. But when we have balance and when we are really in community, connected together, that's where the magic happens. And I think that's what the ocean has constantly taught me, is that it has this super feminine energy, but then it also has a super masculine energy. It's the combination of a sport and an art form. You're sitting side by side next to people, it's very individualized, but then you're also celebrating and experiencing it within community. And so it's this really powerful holding space of like the yin and the yang and the feminine and the masculine, the balance that's possible. And for me, it just keeps on reminding me like it doesn't have to be so segregated, doesn't have to be so separated out, we can truly have biodiversity and a biodiverse ocean is the healthiest ocean. And so the more biodiversity we can have within our lives, within our relationships, within our communities back on land, the healthier we'll be as well.

Yeah, and I would include animals in that mix, too.

Animals, plants, insects, all of it.

Yeah, yeah. Well, I was just thinking, when you said balance, right, I realize when a school, because we get quite a few dolphins in this area, seals and dolphins in the Ventura area, and when I see dolphins, if I'm surfing, I see dolphins in the water, it totally changes the way I feel about being in the water. It feels like joy is a great word. I feel so much joy when I see those guys and gals. And I never thought about this before. You said that about the feminine, the masculine. It's a reminder of the balance that exists or doesn't exist. But when the dolphins are there, it feels more holistic in a way.

Yeah. You're no longer out there to conquer the wave, but you're out there to be a part of it.

Yes. Yeah. And I always swim towards them. I always want to be as close as I can to them because I think they're just phenomenal. I mean, any creature in the water, whale or not a shark, maybe I wouldn't swim towards a shark, but I also respect them. I also respect them.

Depending who you are.


Some people like to go closer.

Some people will. Yeah. I haven't overcome that. Yeah.

We actually had a really beautiful moment in the water. Was that last night or 2 nights ago?

With the rain?


That was Monday, Monday night, which was it wasn't about the surf for me, but we had been having a lot of travel difficulties and I hadn't made it out into the water yet that whole day for a lot of my own personal kind of scheduling restrictions. And it was evening time and it's time to go surfing for me. And I didn't really care where we went in the water. I just needed to get in the water even it was just a float. And we drove to the beach, right as a thunderstorm was coming in and we all paddled out. And it was a very sensory time of the rain was literally pelting us in the water and creating a texture effect on the waves. And the waves were just kind of rolling in and the water below us was warmer than the air above us. And you could hear thunder and it just was like, really beautiful. I wish I had a camera or a video of what was happening around us. And you just felt all these things on your body. And it was bringing me such joy. I was laughing during it because it was just freeing my soul from a lot of the stress of traveling the last few days before. And I felt what was happening in the ocean. And later when we got out the water and back to the house, I was like, "Natalie, did you feel that out there?" And she's like, "Yeah. All the things are happening." I'm like, "I know." I'm like, "It was amazing." Just like everything at nature was happening all at once and it was really cool to feel it.

It's a part of being feeling so tiny in the big picture of it. Every time we go into the ocean, your senses are alerted. And so most people, if you speak the word ocean, they have a smell that goes with it, a temperature that goes with it, a movement that goes with it, a visual that goes with it, like a color or whatever it is. And so it automatically brings you into your body and into your senses. Whereas for a lot of us, the daily grind is a lot in our head. And so it's a lot of thinking and planning and being in the future and just all brain stuff going constantly. And then as soon as you touch the ocean, all of your senses are alerted and you're back into your body and back into the present again. Trauma triggers are constantly bringing you to the past, to that old experience and reliving it. And my understanding of it is like your body's wanting to heal. So it keeps on that trigger is bringing that old experience up, inviting the opportunity to heal it and to reclaim it and to grow through it. And so when you're able to experience that trigger, but experiencing the trigger within a safe community that holds space for you to experience it, acknowledge it, honor it and move through it and come back into the present, that's where that real healing can happen. And that's what can happen in the ocean when you're with a community that's holding space and being intentional and allowing you to be brave and that healing process.

Yeah, I want some of that.

Well, this summer, we're actually doing our first pilot program for men and women, so we're going to go, we're trying to help, we're seeing what's happening if it's possible.

Nice. Where in the world, south of the border?

We'll be north of the border.

North of the border, okay.

Actually, it'll be up in the San Diego area. That will be doing the first pilot for our co-ed.

Awesome. Yeah, so do you have any techniques or tactics that you recommend to people in this process? So maybe with the breath or meditation or what are some of the things in your toolkit that you might share with people if they're maybe feeling anxious or stressed or whatever? Or do you just say go surfing and then that'll fix everything?

Just go surf.

Works for me.

Do you all have any tools that you utilize for your anxiety?

I use breathing a lot. So I also worked with at risk youth at a horticultural therapy, a very similar kind of taking. Putting your body inside of your mind and breath was one of the things we taught them. And I've used it especially in corporate culture, which is now where I work. Every time that somebody kind of upsets me or something, I just try to do 6 in, 3 hold, 6 out, 3 hold, 6 in. And it's very helpful. And I do it in that same way in the surf, actually, when I get nervous, when there's big waves, I just paddle as far out and I just let myself calm down and then I come back to the waves.

I think for me, yeah, I think breath work is really important, but also for me, I've found that I exercise for mental health, not so much always for physical health. And I've been in a practice of yoga probably for the past 10 years in heated yoga. And this past year with COVID happening and a lot of the gyms being closed with hot, the heated, I didn't realize how much I actually benefited from it and it was enhancing my life until it was gone. And so that's been difficult. But they've recently opened back up. But I would say movement and just moving your body and stress or tension as soon as you realize it, fitness is one of the best ways to release serotonin and change your your mental as well as your physical. And so if you don't live close to the ocean because not everyone does, I think being in a constant state of or practice discipline of fitness is a huge benefit.


Yeah. Surfing.

Yeah, surfing. Surfing is super unique in that for generations, doctors have prescribed the ocean and ocean air to people overcoming depression, anxiety, skin issues, immunity. Like the queen of Spain was prescribed to go to the coast for her skin issues and anxiety. And that was back in the 1700s, I think. And so and then even before that, the ocean has always been integrated into the healing process and women were the water keepers in a lot of indigenous cultures. And then also that the ocean was that space of connecting with the divine in a lot of indigenous cultures as well. And so there's just so much ancient knowing of going to the ocean for healing and for connecting with the divine within you and around you. And then scientifically, the salinity of the ocean and the magnesium in the ocean is good for your immune system and your mental health and stress and anxiety. And then doing like Jackie was saying, doing activity, doing sport increases your adrenaline and your hormone releases. And so just the act of going for waves spikes that adrenaline release, and then you catch the wave or you wipe out and that gives that shake out of your body to release it as well. And so oftentimes with trauma triggers or different experiences or even just normal stresses in life, our body is sending out these stress hormones, making us either fight, flight, or freeze or activate in order to get out of the situation. And oftentimes it's all head stuff. And so our body doesn't get a chance to actually release the stress hormone that's being released. And so it gets stored and blocked in our bodies. And then when we're surfing, we're getting a chance to experience the stress hormone, we're at the peak of the way, we're like "Ahh.." And then you either drop in and go for it or you wipe out and the wave literally shakes your body out and let your body release that stress hormone. And so it's just that constant and your body is learning that over and over and practicing that with your brain as well so your brain and body are getting a chance to connect and learn how to release those stress hormones rather than storing them up in the body. And then I know when I'm surfing with my girlfriends, I tend to laugh a lot more. And laughter, in general, is a stress release. It helps release and shake out those stress hormones. And so, like, if I had been stuck on the rocks by myself, I probably would have cried and then maybe never surfed again in my life.

I almost cried.

I left you on the rock.

But because I was there with community, with supportive sisters, we were able to laugh about it, come up with meanings and significance and metaphors around it and learn from it together. And now I'm just limping around Costa Rica. I'm ready to go surfing as soon as my wounds heal versus like otherwise, I've been alone, it would've been very different.

Yeah, you make surfing sound like it's so good for you, and I think it is. There's another aspect that I've I've been thinking about. Not for you guys because you're in Costa Rica, but here, I think being in the cold water every day, because I surf on most days and it's been like in the 50s for months. But I really feel that has to be super beneficial for the body. I'm partially wetsuited, but I don't wear booties usually or a hood. So I'm still in the cold water, my hands and my feet. I've always felt that had such great therapeutical kind of effects. I don't know if you've seen any of Wim Hof's work with cold dips and that sort of thing. So, yeah, I don't know. That's another thing I was thinking about.

Yeah, cold water is powerful. And it actually, I had my first couple of days here, I was trying not to say anything but I was like, "Ahh. I wish it was actually colder." It's too warm. But the cold water, it helps shock your system to activate it and get it alive. And when I was in Peru last winter, since everything went virtual, I was on the computer nonstop, which I'm not used to at all. And I would have like 10-minute breaks in between Zoom calls and I would go and hop in the ice cold Peru ocean in my bathing suit. And it would instantly bring me back into my body, allow me to think more clearly and feel alive in my body again rather than just in my Zoom box.


So there's good research going on around it as well.

Yeah, I love that. I wonder what the warm water does. Probably more relaxing?

It makes you hot.

It makes you hot.

Well, there's actually the salinity, this is one of my favorite ocean facts and the salinity of the ocean is the same salinity of the fluid in the womb. And the temperature of warmer water is actually similar to our body temperature. And so the act of going into the ocean triggers this experience in our bodies of feeling home and a space of being like a familiar space, even if in our head we're afraid of sharks or waves or all these other things, there's a memory in our body of being in the womb and having that space of home with that salinity. And I imagine the warm water being somewhere. There's actually a swim therapy program in La Jolla that they make sure the water temperature of the pools and salinity of the pools that they do their therapy in, for trauma recovery is the same salinity and temperature as the womb.

Wow, that's awesome.

Yeah. So it's just coming back home.


Growing, comfort, nurturing.

Except for if you're in like San Francisco or something, then it's freezing.

Then it's freezing, yeah. Then you're getting the Wim Hof experience.

Yeah, definitely. Full on.

But yeah, for the surf therapy sessions, everyone's like, "What's the difference between a normal surf lesson and a surf therapy session?" And there's so many different organizations doing surf therapy right now and having their own unique ways of holding the space and providing those services. But for me, with Groundswell, our surf therapy is rooted in sematic therapies, feminine theory, and eco-therapy. And so it's really bringing it back to the body. And so rather than teaching the pop up with a lot of like, you do this and then this and then this and then this and all this head knowledge, we bring it back into the body. So we actually connect our pop up to our breath. And so you inhale and shine your heart, you exhale, pop up, flow on the wave, inhale, allowing yourself to fall into the water. So falling is part of the pop up practice. And then exhaling is covering up your head, making sure you're safe and then continuing to go back out there. And so it's that connecting the breath and letting your body be the guide rather than our heads constantly telling us what to do.

I love that, I love that. Yeah. I think I surf best when my mind is quietist. I feel like intuitively, I've been surfing a while, so I feel like when there's that kind of feeling of what the wave is doing, what the board is doing, and I can quiet my mind, is that's when the surfing just feels so incredible. It feels mysterious in a lot of ways. I feel that's one of the reasons I love to surf so much is because it puts me in a place where I barely exist, but I fully exist at the same time. Yeah, I don't know. It's beautiful.

There's a beautiful quote by dang it, I can't remember, but the quote goes, and as always as soon as you heard it, you say I mess it up, but it's something along the lines of "You are not a drop in the ocean, but the entire ocean in one drop." And it's that aspect of scientifically, one drop of the ocean has everything that is needed for life. But then that sensation of knowing that you're a drop in the ocean, we are so tiny and so minuscule, but yet everything that we need for life and for resiliency and for thriving is already within us. And then when all those drops come together, we're making waves and changing coastlines and carving out new tubes to surf and join and have fun and joy together, and so it's yeah, there's this beautiful element that the ocean provides of just feeling like you're absolutely nothing, but yet you're part of everything.

Yeah, yeah. Make me want to go back in the water. I just got out a while ago. So what's next for you? You're in Costa Rica for a while and then you're heading back this way or?

Well, I have no idea what I'm doing.

You have no idea? I love that answer.

But I know what Groundswell is doing. My life is up in the air where my husband is proving and we are still waiting on visas to be cleared so we can come back to the States together. So we're kind of figuring out where we want to be. And Peru right now isn't doing so hot COVID-wise and politically-wise. And so I have no idea where my body will physically be. But Groundswell-wise, we're getting ready for our summer programs. And so we've been able to work with local doctors that have actually helped build the COVID regulations for the Olympic team. So that way we can hold our small groups or therapy programs up and down the coast from San Diego or Orange County, L.A., San Francisco, and getting those programs started up again. And we have a whole cohort of women and 2 men from around the world that are doing our surf therapy for trauma recovery facilitator training with the help of trying to open up more access to the ocean for specifically, mental health and ocean health. And so it's exciting to just yeah, to see more people tuning in to recognize the ocean has already been a huge part of their own healing process. And then how can they mindfully and intentionally hold space for others to be able to access that as well. Because when you experience your own mental health healing in the ocean, it naturally grows into wanting to heal the ocean as well. So it goes really hand in hand. As we heal the ocean that heals us and as we heal, we heal the ocean.

Hmm. Yeah. And we heal each other, too.


Well, you're doing such beautiful work, Natalie. I really appreciate you coming on again. And I would love to have you back hundred times more and talk about what you're doing. And I'm so humbled by your approach and what you're teaching. And I think it's so needed and it's such a beautiful gift that you're providing the world. And, yeah, I wish nothing but wonderful things for you and everyone you're connected with.

Thank you. Thank you for this. This was inspired because of your newsletter on the healing benefits of the ocean and why you surf for your own mental health and spiritual health. And so I was like, "Dude, you got it. You get it." Yeah. And we actually just came out with all of our programs. We have a surf therapy journal that everyone fills out, and it's a way of kind of tracking what's happening in your head and your heart and in your body before a surf session and then after a surf session. And so we actually just printed them and are selling them on the Hakuna Wear website. And so that's part of the fun of doing this work is figuring out how to do nonprofit work differently and really doing it within community and celebrating the different women in my life and in our lives, who are being bold and brave in the work that they're doing and kind of going out on a limb and seeing the issues that are alive in the lineup and figuring like, how can we create something that's going to help solve these problems. And so Hakuna Wear was started by Jess and she makes surf suits that really celebrate all bodies and are ocean-friendly and just really mindful and celebratory of helping people feel powerful in their bodies. And so she created the first Groundswell online shop where we're going to sell our surf journals. And so the hope is that those will be accessible for people to have their own surf journal, to be able to specifically welcome in intentional mental health into their surf practice.

Beautiful. And I look forward to talking to her next week and digging into all that great stuff. Yeah. Very cool. Is there anything else, anything we didn't cover that you wanted to say or?

Yeah, where do you find out more information about Groundswell?

Thank you, Jess.


We have a website, we have Instagram. So and then @groundswellcommunityproject on Instagram. And then we have our shop at Hakuna Wear. Is that

Yeah, go to your site.

My site. So go to Groundswell and hit the shop button and you can shop for Hakuna and Groundswell goodies. And we actually have a Nat Geo release coming out on May 3rd. We've been, in response to COVID, we began Waves of Grief groups which are dropping once a month. Grief groups for all people to come together and acknowledge grief and the reality of grief, whether it's grieving the loss of a loved one through these times or grieving the loss of normalcy, job, home, just the different things. There's been a pretty big communal experience of loss this past year. And so a safe space to come together and just be in it together and then experience what the ocean has to teach us around grief and loss. And so the Nat Geo, there's a special on our program up in the Bay Area with one of our surf therapy facilitators, Kelsey, who lost her sister to COVID last March. And so it's a really powerful 15-minute series on their bigger series that's called Impact, which is focusing on women, women making waves all over the world. So there's a woman who's teaching ballet and I think jujitsu and different ways of engaging young girls and women with their bodies and healing and the community and nature that are making big impacts in their communities. And so that's May 3rd, which is exciting.

Very cool. May 3rd. Yeah, okay. We'll link all of these in the show notes so people can find it.



But no, just come like say hi, reach out, we're always looking for more volunteers or participants. Our programs are like a one-to-one kind of Tom shoe style model. And so for every person that signs up and pays for their 8-week surf therapy session, they give the gift of surf therapy to a woman who wouldn't have access. And so it kind of like that opportunity to give back and recognize, like by healing yourself, you're also actually helping heal someone else as well.

Beautiful. Love it. Great. Well, that's a wonderful place to end, I think, and, yeah, we'll definitely do this again.

Beautiful. Thank you for having us.

Yeah, it was my pleasure. My pleasure.

We'll do a blog plug for you. To people that are listening, read your blog and actually go to the places that you've been because they're epic.

Yeah, nice. But stay off the rocks, stay off the rocks.

Yeah, stay off the rocks, or actually, just jump when you're supposed to jump.

Yeah, don't wait. You're waiting on a rock.

That's a better example of it. I love it. Thank you, guys, gals.

Yeah, thank you. Have a great one.

Yey! Bye.