Makah Surfer Girls Retreat

Story written by Kelly Potts

Photos courtesy of Alyssa Retzna, our volunteer photographer for this event

In the spring of 2016 I decided to go to the mainland (from Maui) in search of places to teach surfing, and communities to host my free surfing events for. What became of that trip led me to one of the most magical experiences of my life.

I somehow managed to find the right people with the right connections, and together we hosted a surfing retreat for girls and women of the Makah Tribe in Neah Bay, Washington.

We started the day with an introduction circle game where each person makes a body movement while saying their name, then everyone in the circle repeats the movement and the name until everyone has introduced themselves. Good laughs!

Makah Intro Circle

After the intro game we circled up around the surfboards and talked about ocean safety, ocean navigation, and awareness.

Makah Ocean Safety Talk

I demonstrated the technique on how to get to your feet (notice I didn't say the Pop-up) and had the ladies practice on land to build muscle memory, making it easier for them when they rode waves.

Makah Surf Technique Practice
Makah Surf Stance

Stay low, eyes on the prize, point and look where you want to go...

Then, we hit the water...

Natural mermaids in their natural element. They took to surfing so easily, were not even concerned about the cold water, and played so comfortably in the swift moving shore pound. They seemed like sisters of the polynesian girls I teach back home on Maui.

Makah Mermaids
Makah Mom and Daughter surfers

After surfing we ate lunch that the Makah Tribal Council provided, then we circled up with a goodbye council. 

"What was your favorite part of the day? Your least favorite? And what did surfing teach you about yourself?"

Their answers brought home the reason why I do what I do...

Makah Nalu Huddle

No words can express the beauty of that day, and no words can tell you the empowering feeling that took hold of our group. I can't wait for the next one...

Thank you to PrAna for being the main sponsor for the event, and to Olukai for providing giveaways to the participants and volunteers! 

Most of all, Thank you to the volunteers for being such a huge encouragement and support to these awesome gals while we were in the water!

Big Mahalo to Alyssa Retzna for volunteering to take photos of the event and provide free photo packages for the ladies!

Thanks also to Ben Horton, my national geographic photographer buddy, for documenting the event with epic photos! Much love!