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Ambassadors of Hope From The Groundswell Community: Natalie Small & Javier Larco

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This week, we launch my conversation with Natalie Small & Javier Larco straight from Peru. Peru has a rich culture in surfing and a connection to Mama Cocha and Madre Tierra as healing sources.

The surf industry and surf tourism have introduced another side of surfing; a darker side is driven by consumerism and competition. Natalie and Javier are on a mission to realign the local surf culture with its roots. Their intention has deep roots in healing and connecting humanity by caring for all members of the community.

Natalie Small and Javier Larco


About Natalie:

  • Founder and executive director of Groundswell Community Project. Groundswell Community Project offers various surf therapy programs for self-identifying women overcoming various forms of trauma and its effects. They are a transformational community of surf sisters who provide intersectional, brave, and safe spaces for all self-identifying women to find their unique healing, community, and power in the waves of Mother Ocean.
  • Also, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California

About Javier:

  • Professional surfer and surf coach
  • Has explored and surfed up and down the Peru coast, Ecuador, Mexico, California, Indonesia, and river surfed in Germany. He started his first surf school in 2003 in Las Delicias, was the surf coach for the Junior Pro Peru team 2016-2018, is the official Peru surf coach for Unleashed (Canada), Safari Surf  Adventures (US), and Surf Adventures (Brazil), and now provides free coaching and adaptive surf therapy for local kids in Huanchaco.
  • President of the Asociacion de Talentos Libertenos Del Surf and founded Surf Habilitados, a surf project providing surf therapy for local kids living with mental and physical disabilities and their families.

Topics Explored:

  • How do we realign surf culture with its roots?
  • Is it surfing or humanity that needs to realign?
  • Where did surfing take a wrong turn?
  • Where did surfing go right?
  • What are some things we can do to realign?
  • What do you mean by heal and connect?
  • How can therapy and surfing work together?

Location: Huanchaco, Peru

Social Media Profiles:

Transcripts

Sending the good vibes.

Yes. Hello, Natalie and Javier. This is Derek from Saltwater High. Welcome to the podcast. We are trying again.

Thank you.

I'm all about being fully transparent on these podcasts and sometimes we have some technical difficulties. And we were just talking about this incredible place that I went to on my trip there. And actually, I could hear you when you guys couldn't hear me. And it was like 2000, like late 2013, probably would have been, '12.

Was there a road to get after or were you...

There was a road, but it was horrible. It was we went out there in a taxi, right and I can remember being in the taxi right on this dirt road and it being like, chugchugchugchugchug, like potholes everywhere. And it was like an hour on this little dirt road from Huanchaco.

Doesn't change that much.

What's good is it probably keeps people away, right. So, yeah. Anyway, I'm in Ojai, California, you guys are in Peru. And Natalie, I guess you are originally from the United States?

Yes, I'm originally from North Carolina, but my family moved out to LA when I was 10 and that's where the surfing began. And then I started coming down to Peru in 2016. And I've been back and forth between Peru and the States since then for different amounts of time.

Very cool. And Javier, are you from Peru?

Yeah, actually I was born here in Trujillo around [inadudible] surf. Yeah, I'm from here, I'm from Peru.

Awesome. I love Peru so much. I've only been on 1 trip and have such good memories and I was lucky that I was there in July and Chicama was just firing. So, it was one of those trips you take. Chicama is this wave that you see and you read about, well, if you're a surfer like I've been my whole life and you're like, "I just want to surf that wave on a good day." and you never know on a trip, right?

Unless I mean, I guess in today's world, you could plan everything around a swell. But I happened to get Chicama on just amazing 1 full week of just massive swell. And it's definitely one of the best waves in the world, for sure.

And it is one of those waves where a lot of people, they fly into Trujillo near Huanchaco and they go straight to Chicama and it'll just be flat the whole time they're in Chicama. But then Huanchaco, Buena Fe, Pacasmayo, like all the other beaches in the area will be going off. But Chicama, it's so specific with the swell and everything that it needs to go off and when it's going off it's like you look at it and every time we go frequently and every time I see it functioning, it's just like mind-blowing.

That's awesome. There's so much good surf, right? From Pacasmayo to Huanchaco. That's really the only places I went and this other kind of Misto Beach. And each wave had its own qualities and characteristics. And it's just I really loved it. I mean, I've never surfed in the south of Peru, but I hear also the surf in the south is also epic. So, yeah, congratulations for living in such a beautiful place.

Yeah, thankful being here.

So, yeah. I really loved what you guys wrote in. What you're doing with Groundswells, the community project and just your work with the kids and so many different things you guys have happening. When you wrote in, you're like, "What are we going to talk about?" I feel like we could take any one of those subjects and just talk for ages. So happy to hear a little bit of your story and what you guys are up to.

And, yeah, we can kinda start there and let's hear from the beautiful people of Peru.

Do you want to go?

Yeah. Well, several years, long time ago...

Or maybe you start with your story.

My story.

Our story.

Okay, you can start.

So, I guess my story with Peru and these areas that I was coming to like do the typical Peru tourist tour - jungle, Machu Picchu, Chicama surf. And in the process, I got connected with Save the Waves, which has with Huanchaco is Save the Waves Surfing Reserve and the birthplace of surfing. And so I ended up coming to Huanchaco to provide a surf program for local girls at a local school that provides schooling for kids that didn't have the funds to go to the public schooling, because in order to go to school, you need DNI and DNIs cost about 25 soles per person and a lot of families can't afford that for all of their kids.

And so a number of their kids would go to a school that a local friend started up. And so basically any teacher that would come and teach anything, she would welcome in. And so I did like ocean conservation, girls' health, women's health, and surfing. And while I was in Huanchaco, the birthplace of surfing, it was my first time ever getting sick on a surf trip from the ocean and then also my first time ever surfing somewhere where there literally was I didn't see a single local woman in the water.

There were expat women and local men, but no local women. And so bringing the like, we had a little pod of 6 local girls from the school that were coming down and getting to engage with them in the ocean and in the beach. And they went from screaming their heads off to just falling in love with the ocean and getting a chance to surf back there. And we brought out the caballitos and let them get a chance to play and be a part of that as well.

And they live a 5-minute walk up the hill from the beach, but they don't know how to swim and had very little ocean contact time. A lot of it comes from fear of drowning, which is legit. And if their moms don't have their own ocean practice, then bringing their kids to the ocean is an extra fear of like, "How am I going to keep my kids safe if I can't even keep myself safe in the ocean?"

Yeah. Now I can see that's a huge issue. So is it possible to do like swimming classes and water safety and that sort of thing or?

Yeah. So that's what we've been doing for the last I was there for 3 weeks and I supposed to be just like support in the way that I could and didn't have any plans of coming back to Peru. And then stayed in touch with the school and my girlfriend Coco there. And she kept me updated and I actually end up coming back to Peru to do Machu Picchu with my family and shot her with like "Hey, I'm up coming back. How's everything going?"

She was, "Oh my gosh. The girls that you worked with 2 years ago are still getting in the water, a couple local or a couple of local expat women. So a couple of expat girls we're helping them continue the surf practice. But they were sharing a board and sharing wetsuits." And so she was like, "If you and your friends in California have extra gear or anything to come down that would be awesome to help them have their boards, have their own wetsuits, to be able to keep their practice going."

And so we came back down. And that's actually when I connect up with Javi and he at the time was coaching local boys and girls surfing with the [inaudible].

Yeah, with the Federation from Peru, with the team. So I'll be connected with Natalie and she got then nice programs for the town and all the kids start going surfing, be accessible for the sport. And it's very beautiful because it's connected with the nature and people who don't have access to the sport now, they can surf, so they change their minds as they change their heart. They have more respect for the ocean. So it's very invigorating to see how surfing changed people.

Yeah. Changed their mind, changed their heart, that's for sure. That's a great mission. I love that. So does the local community, are there any like grants or does the government help at all or is this comes from your stoke and kind of private funding, I guess?

It's been all stoke supported so far. And it started really small and really just like listening to what the need was, I mean, "Okay, how can we meet that need and support in the ways that we can?" And from that, it has grown into we now have-we had 50 local girls and their moms and our summer programs this past summer.

Wow.

That have a sustainable surf practice and the surf practice is based in building that ocean relationship. And so it's like everyone's stoking each other up, cheering each other on, we have like an end of summer surf competition, but you're getting awards for like best wipeout, best party wave. So that's encouraging the community building element of surfing rather than the competitive.

Right. Winner takes all. Yeah, good. Nice to hear you're getting away from that mentality. Yeah, that's beautiful. I mean best wipeout, I could definitely make that championship. That's amazing. So all of this is happening around the Huanchaco area or is that kind of the main community that is where the energy is?

That's been our home base over the last couple of years. And just I think the beautiful part with COVID, if there can be, is that it's really helped us. So before it was really funded by our international volunteers coming in and helping out. Then we've been, over the last couple of years, it's been like, "How can we make this not people from other places coming here and helping, but really locally driven and locally stoked." And so last summer we had a couple of the local moms who used to surf, but due to like they need to take care of kids and provide for the family, surfing has not been accessible for them because you can't. There's zero women surf instructors. And so the surf industry and making money in the surf industry in Huanchaco for women isn't even a dream.

Right. Not a priority.

Exactly. So this past summer has been kind of shifting that. And there's another local surf school in the area as well that has been doing that work of engaging women as surf instructors. And so it's been really cool to see that shift starting to happen. So we were able to hire 3 local moms that support the girls in the water and have been coaching and sharing that with the girls.

And so the COVID shifted in like, "Okay, now we can't have volunteers coming in from other places. How can we really make this sustainable and locally stoked?" It's been beautiful to see that process happen.

Yeah, it's amazing.

Yeah, that's amazing. How do you feel about, Javi, being a local that's grown up in that environment and seeing these changes, it must be such an incredible feeling, right? To see all of that?

Yeah, for sure. When I was young, surfing is so rare in Peru. There's no opportunities. And now seeing all these changes like grownups coming in and make accessible surfing for everyone is amazing. Because surfing in my life gives me a balance in life, give me a direction so and see how it's happening with a lot of people who don't think ever surfed. It's hard to tell. It's an amazing feeling.

Mm hmm. As people start to come back down there, are you going to do a hybrid model where you'll have locals and international help? Is that maybe the idea or have you thought about as travel opens up again, you might have more opportunities to get people involved from the States or from Europe or whatever?

Yeah, it's a great question.

And my hope for all of our international surf therapy, retreats and programs is really around, I guess as expats, as people coming from somewhere else into a different land, it's more about how can we learn from each other rather than we're coming in like being the white savior.

Right. Yeah.

Bringing gold or whatever. And really recognizing, like, how can we connect with each other and be in community with each other and learn and grow with each other. And so a lot of the volunteers that come are actually learning how to surf as well. And so they're getting to learn how to surf with the local moms versus white people coming in and pretending that we have all the answers and everything figured out. So it's been like "Hey, how can we learn together, how can we grow together, how can we learn from the deep cultural roots of surfing here in Huanchaco, and be able to take that story back and share that with our communities and other places as well."

And so even prior to COVID, our volunteer model has always been that of as women from different communities come in, we all sit around, circle together and have a cacao together and get to learn and grow together and do yoga together and get in the water together. And that's my big pieces as women. I started with girls because I felt like that was the entry point to being able to build trust and connection and community with moms. But I feel like once getting moms engaged in their ocean relationship and showing them that they belong here too, they deserve the right to play, they deserve the right to hold space for themselves, to laugh and to connect and to be in the ocean and do something for themselves. That's my jam. That's the stuff that gets me all giddied up. And lots of time, starting with their daughters is where that can begin. And that's really how that seed started. And Huanchaco's working with the younger girls and then their moms were like coming around dropping them off and like, "Hey, you can actually get in the water with us if you want." And they go," No, no, no, no."

And then eventually it's like, "Oh really? I can? Oh, okay. I can come to this yoga class. I do belong here as well." And so it's like a slow breath into recognizing that everybody belongs here.

What a beautiful story of an empowerment, right. And it's got to be it can't be easy because you're going up against all of the cultural history. And how women have been treated not only there, but around the world. So, yeah. I'm very honored to hear that story and know that you're doing something like that. I got involved with—because I'm really close to Baja and I go to Mexico a lot—and I did a kind of a paddle out with disabled kids.

We took the disabled kids surfing. A lot of them couldn't even like they were quadriplegics or they had some kind of physical difficulties. So we paddle them out on the boards and the crazy thing was, I feel like I got more out of it than they did. Right? Like just being able to give and to be around people that I'm not normally around. And so, bringing in the international piece, I think it'd be interesting like the white people aren't coming down to heal or not to apply the healing, they're actually coming down to be healed themselves. Right? In a lot of ways.

And a lot of our volunteers, because the Peru program, the Peru summer is December or January through March and so our volunteers come down and stay for at least a month. And so they're really getting to partake in the community. And it's such, I feel like one of the biggest gifts is that we are getting a chance, we are being welcomed into their ocean and to their understanding of Mama Cocha and the different historical connections and rituals around that. And a lot of the women that do join us as volunteers from other places go back to where they came from and their life has shifted and they make huge life shifts and changes in the direction that their life is going, career-wise, relationship-wise, professional-wise based on this time of sharing and being invited into Mother Ocean and Peru and wherever it is held. And so it's always radical to see the ripples of what comes from those times of being pulled out of your typical home space and welcomed into someone else's home and getting to see the ocean and womanhood and coming in through someone else's eyes.

Love it. So what else are you doing, working on? Javi, I know you're doing a couple of other things, too?

Yeah. We also have a program with the disability kids like down syndrome and all this kind of disability and it's very grateful working with them because I never imagined like see how they can do progress in the ocean. Like their first day, they are scared, they don't want to even touch the water. And then the second day, they touch the water and then the third day they go on the surfboards and some of the moms coming to me and told me, "Hey, my son before, he don't want to walk that distance. And now he want to walk going back after surfing." So that means that surfing for sure helps a lot in healthiness, in psychologic thing, and everything.

I'm very grateful of that. I have also another program with the kids in Huanchaco to train for competitions and it's really nice to see how they can train and progress in their surfing, in their life. And I'm so grateful.

And what is the surf scene? I know as a traveler I know what it's like in Peru, but is there a pro circuit and are there companies that are sponsoring young kids? Is that kind of thing happening?

Lima there's a lot of it.

Yeah. It's happening more in Lima. There's a lot of good surfers in Huanchaco, a lot of good surfers around the coast. Now you can imagine you come in here and you see the level is.

It's unreal.

You see a pro-level. It's held yeah, but also it's not held for everyone. It's just a group of people who represent Peru and all the help coming for them. But also there's more surfers who surf really well, but they don't receive the same help.

Yeah.

Yeah. Peru, most of the money and the sponsors and the surf industry is in Lima, and so once you exit, once you leave outside of Lima, the resources to make surfing a sustainable profession is difficult because you have to be able to travel to be able to get to the contest.

And that in itself is a struggle and Javi had a bunch of stories of the creative ways that he made it to Lobitos, in Chicama as a kid because he wanted to get there and surf the different waves and surf the different contests. But it's not easy.

Yeah. Yeah. So how are you guys doing? How are you funding these projects? Just how is that happening?

Yeah. We are constantly looking for new funding opportunities. We've had sponsorships from Sawyer was our biggest sponsor, which helped us be able to open up the Casita, which is our surf clubhouse that the girls can go and receive support. And yeah, they have their space to be able to show up as girls and women and get in wetsuits and feel supported and stoked on each other and then really volunteer support. And then we have our every year we do a No Plastic November challenge and it's 30 days of people, kind of like a Jog-A-Thon, like you pick the type of single-use plastic that you want to give up for the 30 days.

And you invite your community and family and friends to donate a dollar a day to support you in completing the challenge. And every day that you live without a plastic, without using plastic bags or plastic straw or plastic water bottle, you get those donations that go to support our programs in Peru and in the US. And so I feel like fundraising wise, a lot of organizations do like big galas, and it kind of separates like all the people with money show up and the people that aren't necessarily financially rich but are able to show up.

But with Groundswell, we embody the feminine leadership model. And so really understanding that all of us are rich in resources. Some of us have resources that are financial, others of us have resources that are in compassion and time or different skills and professions. And so really being able to hold a fundraiser that allows everybody to show up in their resourcefulness and abundance and the ways that they can. Because all of us can make really simple changes that can make huge impact on ocean health, mental health. And so that's kind of the idea on the platform. And then share the stoke with a huge supporter, basically provided all of the boards for the programs here, which is really awesome.

Awesome. That's beautiful. I love that. You guys are concentrating on the Huanchaco area, but is there an opportunity to maybe do some satellite work like around Lima or up north? It just seems such a beautiful model that to get other people involved, right? Kind of grassroots programs around the country.

Yeah. Groundswell's part of ISTO, International Surf Therapy organization. And so through that, we've connected with another surf therapy organization and the Lima area who has and I feel like in general, the response that I get from a lot of different surf therapy orgs or surf nonprofits is "We have lots of boys showing up, but it's so hard to get the girls and the moms to show, for the women to show up." And so being able to partner with these orgs that have already built the community and helping them create that space that's more welcoming for girls and women to be included and belong as well.

And then up in Lobitus, a coach has a nonprofit that works with more like media. And so being able to use photography and videography with local kids for ocean conservation. Also they have done some work with the local surf school there and helping build openness and access to surf to the local community. And so we've been in conversation with them as well to be able to do a program out there.

And right before COVID hit, we had plans to go up to Lobitos and spend some time doing a program there, and then COVID hit. And so we weren't able to make it. It's on the books. It's in the conversation. We're really excited to help support in those ways.

Yeah, that sounds great. So what is it like to live in Peru?

What is it like to live in Peru?

It's very good. Like in very early stage, take my car and go celebrate in a beach very close to my town like 10 minutes from here is such a nice left point break.

Nobody's there.

Nobody there, you driving on the beach. So it's very relaxing. Wake up like that, surfing and then come back and start working. I make several bags, I make different kinds of things for surfing.

Oh cool.

Yeah. I have my own brand and I'm working on it and then yeah it's very creative because I can paint also. So I like to be creative so I can take my paintings and make a new design for my boards and then make it possible.

Yeah.

I'm going to share his story. Because basically he was an up and coming professional surfer and was wanting me to get a surfboard or surfboard bag sponsorship to be able to get his board to contest in Lima and different places. And the surfboard bag sponsorship fell through. And so he created his own surfboard bag. He was like, "This is something I need." And so he started learning how to sew and started making his own bags. And then he uses Peruvian fabrics.

And now I was able to use his brand to sponsor new up and coming professionally on surfers to be able to travel. Because if you travel around Peru, you're putting your board bag in buses, on taxis, on moto-taxis, on everything. Everyone needs a solid surfboard bag more so than just a surf sock when you go places. And so it's been cool to just see how that was something that he needed as he was up and coming in surf career. And now he's able to give that opportunity to other local kids trying to make it as well.

That's awesome. That's awesome. I love that. We were, just as a hobby, as a possibility, for a while we were making some board bags out of the big billboard signs. So they have the billboards. I don't know what the fabric like is in Peru, but the fabric here, it's a really strong, it's plastic. But your upcycling it, right. You're taking it off the sign and you're then creating a new product that can extend the life cycle of that particular fabric, which I think, is fine.

Actually, that's a win-win for everyone. And though that fabric tends to also have UV coat on it so that it protects against the sun. And it's really strong, too. And the beautiful thing is obviously they're big so when you cut them and you're creative so you can create different designs out of the large billboards. You can find designs in letters and numbers and people's faces. So anyway, there's a little tip for you in case you're looking for some material.

Yeah. We've been doing a lot of brainstorming on how to do more eco products or eco materials for the bags because it's tricky.

Yeah, we love to do it, but it's hard to find in Peru sometimes, this kind of materials. But I want to search a little more. Yeah. It's a really good idea.

Yeah, cool. Very cool. What else?

Basically, Peru since COVID has been fascinating. We started COVID in Huanchaco and saw basically lack of air traffic and street traffic. The beaches just were filled with natural life that hadn't been there like huge flocks of birds. And Huanchaco beach is unfortunately well known in Peru as one of the dirtier surf locations. And so a lot of people in Lima won't actually come to Huanchaco because of the water pollution quality.

But during the first couple months of COVID, while everyone was still in quarantine, you can see the color of the ocean change, the beach plastic disappeared. It was amazing to see the shift happen. And then once things started opening up and everyone had to do take away and all of that, it's 10 times worse. But the other piece that's been interesting shift is seeing basically a lot of the fishermen families, a lot of their sons have become surfers and are in the surf industry.

And so they're the ones that are running the surf schools and part of surf industry. So they've moved to surf industry and away from fishing. And in Huanchaco, all of the fishing is done with the traditional caballito. And so other forms of fishing aren't allowed, it's just the traditional form of doing it. And so since the surf industry has basically disappeared from COVID, a lot of the surf industry people are returning back to fishing and going out and doing that ancient practice, which is cool to see that reconnection with what their ancestor hood and their family practice.

That's very cool. Spending time with their pops out on the boat, probably, right? Yeah, that's amazing.

Food resources has been one of the biggest struggles with COVID is people live typically like day to day to day. There's not the idea of having a savings account and a retirement plan. And that's I think one of my favorite parts of being here as well, is that I just really living in the moment and not worrying about what's going to happen 10 years from now or your 5-year plan.

But it's like, "Hey, where are the waves going to be breaking this evening? Let's go." Living in the present and not really worrying about the future. But with that, with COVID all of a sudden, all the income opportunities being very quickly cut, people started going back to relying on nature to provide for them and for their resources rather than money. And so people getting back into fishing and farming and natural resource wealth, which is pretty interesting.

Wow, amazing. So, Javi, I see you've traveled a fair extent. What's the best trip you've ever been on and where was it?

Well, I have some travel but the best trip actually is in Peru.

Aha! Well said, my friend, well said.

One of my favorite was in Padang Padang in Indonesia and Puerto Escondido. Two of the most energetic places that I went and I have a really good experience there.

In the way back from Indonesia, I surfed a secret spot here in Peru up north and was exactly the same or even better Padang Padang. Again, I have a brand new favorite and I break it in 3 days or something. I get the best barrel of my life in that way.

Amazing.

He also lost his wedding ring in that wave.

Oh, no! Sorry, bro.

I love Indonesia, I love Mexico. Ecuador has really good waves like big barrel and all these. I guess I have to travel a little more here in Peru. I guess there's more places that I didn't go yet. It's really good waves, nobody there, it's magic. It's a big thing also that you are alone. Nobody go there, you need a 4x4, and the condor coming to the beach. The condor from the Andes, it's a big bird like 2 meters bird. And this bird coming at the beach. And it's really hard to see in the Andes.

But you can see in the beach, the condor, and the waves are so good.

That's amazing.

It's such a good place around here.

I'd be kind of scared, though, if I saw a condor. I think it might pick me out of the water.

Yeah.

Oh, go ahead. Go ahead, Natalie.

I feel like that's the beauty of Peru. Every time we go, we just got back from a trip up north in Lobitos and Mancora, then came down to [inaudible] and Pacasmayo for the first post-COVID contest. And there's just so much untouched coastline here. And you just need a 4-wheel drive and a little bit of adventure in your spirit. And knowing how to fish, you'd be fine with nothing for a while. You can find ways all to yourself all the time.

Yeah. As a surfer living in, well, anywhere, but especially living in California, that's the one thing I'm always looking forward to. I actually surf alone today, but it's not common.

Yeah. That's my concern moving back to the states because Javi's going to get there and be like, "wait a second."

No. I already lived in there a couple years so I know how it is.

Yeah. You can find them. I live really close to Rincón, which is about 20 minutes up the coast. And it's a joke. You feel like you're going to Disneyland but nobody stands in line. I wouldn't mind if it were like Disneyland and people were standing in line and taking their turn, but it's like Disneyland, no lines, nobody takes a turn to get on the ride.

So, yeah, it's a tough call. As surfers, I think about this often. We love surfing and we love surfing with our bros, a couple of our bros out. But the community beyond that, it's hard to embrace because, well, so many people, they carry with them the mentality that they have on land, which is everything's mine, I'm not going to share. And so it would just be wonderful in the water if people would have the sense of community and feel like we're all out here together and let's have a good time.

Obviously, that happens sometimes. But this place near your house, Javi, sounds pretty good. All by yourself, 10 minutes away.

It's basically paddling out. And with whoever you bring and then as soon as there's like 5 people in the line that it feels crowded.

Also front of the house is a really good ride. Sometimes just jump up the ocean because it's just there, over there. It's amazing so we're happy.

Yeah, very cool. Well, did we miss anything? Is there anything else we want to say before signing off? I'd love the conversation.

Also I want to go back to California and surf your waves.

You come any time, my friend. You come any time. I'll show you around these waves up here. It's pretty good.

Many good ones over there, too. Sometimes crowd, but I think it's okay, we just have to find new ways.

Yeah. Definitely find new ways to connect.

Yeah. And I'll put the links to all your projects in the show notes. So if people want to get involved or go down and help or help any way they can, we can generate some love for you, guys. That would be great from the community. And yeah, if there's anything I can do to help, Javi with the board construction stuff, I can help look in helping you kind of maybe find some eco-materials down there.

So yeah, happy to help however I can. Really, really stoked to meet you, guys and to hear your story and can't wait to get back to Chicama and have a local paddle me out with them.

Yeah, for sure.

And outside of Chicama, there's some other waves that nobody even ....

Even better. I think I'm just going to come hang out at that wave in front of the house. That sounds good enough.

Yup. Can't beat it.

Thank you guys so much. Really appreciate it.

Thank you. I really hope we continue to connect. I love that you've been here. It's always awesome to connect on similar ways with wave story.

Absolutely. Let's keep the conversation going, too, and have another podcast when you get some more updates and you just want to get in front of people. Be happy to have you back.

Yeah, well, I guess in California, our programs are still running. I've had an amazing team of surf sisters that have stepped up. And so we have Waves of Grief programs that are happening right now in San Diego, San Francisco in direct response to COVID, to be able to hold space for women, for self-identifying women to come together and let the ocean be a space for grief recovery and also our small group surf therapy.

And so we'd love to make those available for ladies that are looking for and it's not a surf lesson, it's really about starting a sustainable relationship with the ocean as a space for a community and connection and healing. You might happen to learn how to surf through the process because we do use surfboards. But it's really if you learn how to surf, awesome, if not, totally fine as well. It's just as long as you are building that relationship, that's what matters.

And that's called Waves of Grief?

Yeah, we have several community project, but we have Waves of Grief programs and also an 8-week surf therapy program so you're with those small group of women for 8 weeks. I'm getting a deep dive into the sustainable surf practice.

Love it, I love it. Great, guys. I'll let you go and yeah, we'll do this again.

Of course, thank you.

Okay, bye.

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