Employee Spotlight: Sarah the Surfer
On this month’s employee spotlight, we’re diving into the deep blue world of surfing. Sarah Arvin, Urjanet’s Chief Marketing Officer, recently returned from an all-women’s surf safaricalled Las Olas. For five days in Nayurit, Mexico, Sarah learned to hone her surfing skills under the guidance of world-class instructors.
Sarah’s Path to Surfing
Originally hailing from Fresno, California, Sarah first started surfing at the age of 19. Attending undergrad at University of California, Santa Cruz, she lived near the ocean and naturally fell into surfing as a regular activity with friends. Over time, surfing became synonymous with travel and adventure.
After moving to landlocked Atlanta, GA in 2003, Sarah began to reserve more vacation time for surfing trips. She’s passionate about traveling in general, always looking for new places and cultures to explore, while also incorporating her love of surfing into her trips. To date, Sarah has surfed all over the world. From 10 different states in the U.S. to Portugal, Australia, Barbados, Bali, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, Sarah has had the chance to catch waves in some of the world’s best surfing spots.
One of these trips took her to a small village north of Puerto Vallarta in Nayurit, Mexico, 20 years ago, and then most recently with Las Olas.
Founded in 1997, Las Olas is known as the world’s premier surf safari for women. The camp professionally coaches women who range in skill from newbie to advanced. Over the course of the weeklong camp, women surf twice a day, every day, in multiple spots and varying conditions. The camp also offers additional activities like yoga and salsa dancing, and blends easily into the local community.
This spring, Sarah chose to return to Las Olas for a number of reasons. The pacific coast of Nayurit is an ideal place to surf. Though it has grown and developed since her last visit, the village has retained its down-to-earth, local feel — no high-rises in sight. The safari itself is the perfect challenge for Sarah, not only coaching on physical technique, but also on mental focus and the science of surf. Las Olas instructors teach attendees how to read the waves, tide, wind conditions, and swell period, so they can understand the mechanics of optimizing their timing.
Making Girls out of Women
Las Olas also stands out to Sarah for being an all-women’s camp. She enjoyed the camaraderie she built with the other women as they encouraged each other to push themselves. Women at the camp come from a wide variety of ages, backgrounds, professions, and skill levels, and Sarah was particularly impressed to see some go to surf for the first time, far outside of their comfort zones. “It takes a lot of courage to learn a new sport as an adult,” said Sarah. “It was fun for me to watch these women develop their skills and think back on when I was in their shoes 25 years ago.”
Being coached by a group of all-women instructors was beneficial to her as well. According to Sarah, “learning from an all-female crew of world-class instructors who understand a woman’s unique bio-mechanics and mental and emotional state makes all the difference. They know how to talk to you, how to demonstrate, and how to overcome the challenges women face in a sport.”
“Learning from an all-female crew of world-class instructors…makes all the difference. They know how to talk to you, how to demonstrate, and how to overcome the challenges women face in a sport.”
Female empowerment is central to Las Olas’ mission; the camp’s mottois “making girls out of women.” Surfing develops inner strength and balance that extends to the rest of one’s life, and those strengths can sometimes best be discovered by “the little girl inside who just loves to play in the waves.”
Starting from Scratch
Surfing is a lifelong sport. Sarah’s first piece of advice to anyone who’s interested in learning to surf is to learn from a good teacher. She taught herself by trial and error, but to go through a program like Las Olas where they’ll break it down and really provide thoughtful instruction is an entirely different story. At the safari, she saw people learn in a week what took her a year to learn on her own. To learn more about Las Olas, visit their website.
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About Amy Hou
Amy Hou is a Marketing Manager at Urjanet, overseeing content and communications. She enjoys writing about the latest industry updates in sustainability, energy efficiency, and data innovation.