SwellWomen Archives - Women's Surf Camp

I’m super excited to introduce our Special & Talented Swell Team Guest, Katy Cox from Everessence, who will be joining us at the 1st SwellWomen International Surf & Yoga Retreat taking place in Nicaragua April 11 – 18.  Katy Coconut

Katy has been traveling the world for years working as a Private Chef & Nutritionist working for high profile clients of which titles include Queen & King…ehmmm!  Over the past couple of years she has expanded her talents to include teaching dynamic & yin/restorative yoga and a healing bodywork called ‘Integrative Healing Yoga Therapy’.  I was honored to receive a both yoga classes and bodywork in Panama last month and literally floated out of the room completely blissed out from each session.

Following is beautiful letter for the retreat guests from Katy ~

Katy Yoga Pose

Hola SwellWomen,


I am completely honored to be part of the 1st International SwellWomen Retreat in Nicaragua and look forward to sharing my gifts with such a wonderful group of Swell Women.  For me food is a form of creative expression, a practice of devotion and bringer of great joy.  As a nutritional therapist, I enjoy the exploration of food not only as an art form but also as a powerful medicine.  There is no greater pleasure than to share the results of my passion and work with others. I desire each guest too experience food that not only looks and tastes alive, but also nourishes your body on a deep level.


I am often asked what my ‘signature dish is’ ~ a question that so often leaves me stumped. I choose to take my inspirations from the ingredients that stand out at the market or the vegetable that is ripest in the garden and often just cook with instinct rather than following recipes.  Wherever I travel, I love to draw on the flavors of the region and the season and inject my own little twist of culinary magic!  I specialize in Living foods and incorporate many ‘super foods’ into the dishes that I prepare.


I will be sharing a simple, but delicious raw food dinner with the lucky SwellWomen guests on April 12th  as well as exploring how to incorporate a few super foods into your life in fun and delicious ways during a Raw Food Workshop on the 13th!  I will also be introducing you to a energizing Cacao Ceremony and leading an afternoon Yin Restorative Yoga session in hope to get you blissed out after working you body in the water.


I’m looking forward to personally meeting each and every one of you at the opening SwellWomen ceremony on April 11th.



Chef Katy


Are you getting excited or what??!!!  For more details about Katy, please visit her website:  www.everessencenutrition.com and follow her on Instagram: @katethechef .

Katy Action Food ShotKaty Juice


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SwellWomen in Nicaragua

In: SwellWomen

Celebrating over a Decade of Bliss, our surf & yoga blissful vacations bring together the joys of surfing a tropical paradise with the rewards of a health and wellness retreat.  Our retreats are designed to help women re-energize, reconnect, and relax.

Nica House PalapaIn 42 days and counting, Swell Women from all over the world will be arriving to our new surf destination ~ Nicaragua.  There are still a few spots available, so we thought this would be a good time to officially introduce you to this pristine location in order to entice any last minute travelers seeking adventure.

Hacienda Iguana Golf & Beach Club is a private gated community in the spectacular Tola coast of Southwest Nicaragua known as “Pacific Riviera”.  Our Ocean Front Luxury Surf Villa is located in this secure, gated community, on a pristine sandy beach.  The villa literally sits directly in front of the world class surf break Colorados and only a 5 minute walk down the beach is Panga Drops and Los Perros. Casa Colorados-18

Our 1/2 acre Luxury Estate resides directly in front of Playa Colorado, arguably one of the best beach breaks in Nicaragua, if not in all Central America.  With no expense spared, the estate contains Granite and hardwood throughout, major appliances, plasma tvs, oceanfront pool, daily cleaning, high speed internet, and more!

Villa Amenities

*  Fabulous pool looking out at the world class surf break, Playa Colorado
*  Game Room with ping pong, board games & books
*  Fully-equipped kitchen with local Private Chef to cook daily
*  Courtyard sitting area with fountain
*  Separate A/C in each room
*  Large plasma TVs, 7.1 Dolby surround sound home theater
*  Daily Cleaning
*  Membership access to Hacienda Iguana’s 9 hole golf course. It’s only $30/person for a round of golf, golf cart and clubs.
*  The house also has full access to the Community Beach Club, pool, restaurant and bar located only 3 minutes walk to the south.

Casa Colorados-4Casa Colorados-8Casa Colorados-17Sunset Yoga Palapa
When taking a break from riding these perfect waves, activities such as golfing, boat rides, sailing and fish adventures, horseback riding, zip lines, additional massages, manicures, spa treatments or anything else your heart desires can be arranged.  We will have an appointed concierge to take care of your requests.

Nicaragua is blessed with an abundance of good waves, 330 days of offshore winds, and sunny weather almost all year-round.  Our SwellWomen surf lessons will take place at Playa Amarillo which is a rare beach break in Nicaragua that is conducive to learning to surf.  In smaller swells, small, fat wedges pop up with the right speed and intensity for a beginner.  Playa Amarillo sits inside the wind corridor of Lake Nicaragua so it is offshore 300+ days per year.

SwellWomen offers a wellness luxury adventure where guests are encouraged to face their dreams, not just their fears.

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Gogh 6A couple of months ago I was introduced to Szilvia by my contact at LA Yoga. I absolutely loved her offering so ordered a few pieces to see what they were like. Needless to say, they are as beautiful as they look. After doing a little more digging, I discovered her inspiring story and was thrilled when Szilvia agreed to be our Feb. SwellWomen Spotlight.

Here’s the scoop on this amazing designer….

Stunt Women, Professional Scuba Diver, Jewelry Designer and Yogi; Szilvia Gogh celebrates the natural and empowers the individual. The artist’s extensive scuba diving experience melded with studies at the prestigious Budapest Art Institute spawned a beautiful complementation of natural tranquility and style with subtle European flavor. Each hand-crafted piece reflects the artist’s sense of mystery and individuality, and beckons the free spirit in every self-made women.

Szilvia combines her passions by collecting the natural elements used for her inspirational jewelry during her travels.  She curates items such as turquoise from Egypt while filming at the Red Sea, shark tooth while diving the extreme waters of South Africa, mala beads from Nepal while trekking Annapurna and practicing yoga at the Himalayas.

Once back in California, Szilvia combines these precious treasures with silver and transforms them into meaningful accessories that garnish mind, body and soul.

Isn’t that AWESOME!!!  Read on to discover more…..

Q:  Tell us about your business and what inspired you to start Gogh Jewelry?

Jewelry can be beautiful but it can say something, too. Something empowering, healing and grounding. With that in mind, I designed a unique line of pieces where nature’s most basic elements are transformed into stunning accessories meant to celebrate life and the world around us.Gogh Jewlery 5

I started making jewelry in my late teens out of frustration due to the lack of silver accessories for the adventure hungry travelers. I get materials to create the unique jewelry during my travels. I pair silver with semi-precious stones, like garnet, turquoise and carnelian with reclaimed wood, sea shells and beach glass.

The LA based jewelry line materialized with the vision of balance and harmony with herself and the world surrounding. My inspiration comes from every day life challenges, my love for the ocean and travel.

Q:  What advice do you have for women who want to start their own business?

Don’t listen to those who keep saying that you can not do this or that… They just say it because they either did not try or did not succeed.

Gogh Jewlery 4Q:  You’re certainly a swell woman, what message would you give to inspire SwellWomen?

My mission in life is to find ordinary people and crack open their tiny view of the world. I do that as a scuba instructor as well as through my artfully created jewelry. By showing people what the world has to offer I change lives and get the average Joan to visit the middle east, Philippines and other places they might not otherwise visit. I encourage everyone to challenge themselves with my “Do One Thing Every Day that Scares You” necklaces – go someplace where no one speaks English but everyone understands the universal language of Humanity.

Q:  What are 3 things that give you bliss?

Scuba diving, travel and my familyGogh Jewlery 3


Interested in learning more about Szilvia?  Check out the following links:

Find her on Facebook: Gogh Szilvi
Shop her Jewelry at www.GoghJewelryDesign.com
Check out what scuba diver girls do at www.Miss-Scuba.com


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NICA PROMO April 18-25With 10 awesome reasons why to consider surfing in Nicaragua, here’s the icing on the cake:

Book our SwellWomen Luxury Surf & Yoga Retreat April 18 – 25 and save $500!!!  We are looking for 4 adventurous women who would like to follow their bliss for an All-Inclusive Price of $2,395 (based on double occupancy / happy to find you a roommate).

First Come / First Serve

Sign Me Up




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When I bought Swell Women last year, expanding our surf and yoga retreats from Maui to other beautiful surf destinations around the globe was my top priority. And Nicaragua was my top choice for a second location. This Latin American country is an absolute gem—near perfect surf breaks, warm water, incredible wildlife, friendly locals, and fresh markets overflowing with tropical fruit. From the moment I arrived at Hacienda Iguana for a scouting trip, I was in love. The sun was just coming up at Playa Colorado, beautiful, organized sets were breaking right outside my front door, and the white sand beaches were empty save a few early morning surfers. In a word, it was magical, and I knew this was the experience I wanted to share.

While one of the beautiful things about Nicaragua is that it’s an “up and coming” destination (check out these articles in Lonely Planet, USA Today and Huffington Post), it remains relatively unfamiliar to a lot of people. So, here are my top 10 reasons to consider a surf trip to Nicaragua:
2014-11-28 10.30.25
1.)  The surf breaks. My passion for surfing significantly outweighs my ability, so when I travel, I’m looking for clean, friendly waves– not gigantic barrels. Even when there is a big swell and the main breaks at Colorados and Pangas Drop are huge, there are almost a dozen other breaks in the Playa Colorado area offering fun, smaller waves for beginner to intermediate surfers.

2.)  Pristine environment. Close to twenty percent of Nicaragua is protected, which means abundant wildlife, lush jungle, and pristine beaches. It is stunningly beautiful.

3.)  Eco-luxury. While Nicaragua feels authentic and wild, the country is emerging as one of the top luxury ecotourism destinations in the world. Since the opening of Mukul, the country’s first five star resort, in 2013, a number of boutique hotels and luxury resorts have opened their doors to visitors seeking safe and comfortable accommodations. The Hacienda Iguana, where we run our surf camps, is a private, gated community with miles of private white sand beaches.Nica Sunset

4.)  Consistent surf conditions. In most parts of the world, surfers have to wait for optimal swell and weather conditions—not in the Playa Colorado area of Nicaragua! Thanks to a year round deep-water swell and 300+ days a year of 24 hour offshore winds blowing in from Lake Nicaragua, there are beautiful waves sun up to sun down—a surfers dream!

5.)  Adventure. There are canyons, waterfalls and volcanoes to explore, miles of white sand beaches, snorkeling, scuba diving, and of course amazing surf. One of the country’s claims to fame is “volcano boarding”—esVolcano Boardingsentially riding snowboard style down the side of a volcano!

6.)  Fresh, tropical food. Every day, I drank fresh coconut water to rehydrate after my surf sessions. Trust me, there is nothing more refreshing or delicious than pure coconut water. You will definitely work up an appetite after a day of surfing, and the food in Nicaragua is so delicious. Fresh oysters, fish and lobster are brought in daily from the ocean, and avocados, bananas and mangos are picked right off the trees. Oh, and did I mention excellent rum and organic, local coffee? Paradise!
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7.)  Culture and history. Though I could not quite tear myself away from the waves, the cities of Granada (one of the oldest cities in the Americas) and León are rich with history and culture. Colonial-style churches, art galleries, local shops, fresh markets, coffee shops, cathedrals, and restaurants showcasing traditional cuisine are all part of the charm.

8.)  Few crowds. One of my favorite things about visiting Nicaragua was the lack of crowds in the water. Surf etiquette is really important for safety, especially at busy breaks. But it’s blissfully wonderful to put all that aside and just focus on catching the next wave…which you can do if you’re the only one going for it!

9.)  The people. One of the things I love most about traveling alone is the amazing people I meet from all around the world. Everyone I met in Nicaragua—from Pedro who brought out fresh coconuts every morning, to the other guests who were staying at Hacienda Iguana—were wonderful, interesting people with a shared passion for adventure, surf and travel. Whether it was out in the waves, back at the Beach Club, or over an impromptu dinner, sharing stories and experiences with the people I met was a highlight of the trip.2014-05-07 12.06.16

10.)  Rejuvenation. We all need a break from our busy schedules and lives in order to rejuvenate, and the beaches of Nicaragua are a perfect place to do that. The bliss that comes with trying something new, being physically active, connecting with water, eating fresh local foods, and making new friends is invigorating for the body and soul. After a week of surfing in Nicaragua, I returned home full of energy, determined to share this incredible experience with other women.  Beach Club Hammack

Have you been to Nicaragua? Or always wanted to go? What did you love? What do you want to do or see there? Please share your story in the comments!

Swell Women is currently offering trips to Nicaragua. Please click here for dates or contact me, Lulu, with any questions.

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Lauren LlaceraCongratulations to Lauren Llacera from Florida who was the lucky winner of the Carve Designs $400 Shopping Spree that took place last month.  We have no doubt that she’ll be surfing in style with some of Carve Designs new spring pieces which include the Cruz Rash Guard, Sunset Rash Guard and the Solana Swim String Top.

Read on to find out more about another amazing & inspiring woman who will be following her bliss to Nicaragua this coming April….


Q:  Lauren, tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

I’m a Yoga Instructor living in West Palm Beach, Florida. I began teaching group Yoga classes about 4 years ago after practicing Yoga as a student for over 15 years. My passion for it was so intense that I felt compelled to share its many gifts with others. I created, and currently teach at local yoga studios, my own yoga sequence called ChakraFlow that takes Vinyasa sequences through all the Chakras (energy centers) of the body. To this day, I am ALWAYS Heart-filled immediately after teaching a class and seeing Yogis shine in their Happiness and Light.

When I’m not teaching Yoga, I’m either working at a high-end Interior Design firm as a project manager or paddling on my Kayak in some glorious habitat of nature.

Q:   What inspired you to sign up for a SwellWomen Surf & Yoga Retreat?

I love to be surrounded by Water and new adventures. I’ve never surfed, but often imagine the sensation especially when I’m riding a wave in my kayak. Watching surfers has always awed me. For 2015, I put “Learning to Surf” on my Bucket List. When I learned about the pairing of Surfing and Yoga with SwellWomen, it was perfect!

Q:  What is one thing you are hoping to achieve on this retreat?

Learning to Surf!

Lauren, with our fabulous instructors from NSR, we have no doubt you will be a rock star in the water!  Q:  One last question ~ What are 3 things that give you bliss?

Students smiling after my Yoga class

Kayaking with all my senses overwhelmed by Nature

An Awesome Spa Body Massage


Awesome Lauren!  Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions and we’ll look forward to surfing with you in paradise!!!


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MI OLA 4MI OLA’s motto, “Be comfortable in your own skin. Be secure in your bikini.”


In celebration of MI OLA’s spring line and Valentine’s Day, they are showing us some love by sponsoring this amazing giveaway.  The bikinis and rashguards are fabulous!  What you’ll find with MI OLA is every seam, stitch, elastic and fabric has been tried, tested and approved.


Nine years ago, Helena Fogarty learned to surf at a SwellWomen retreat that changed her life.  Helena is a New York fashionista who swapped her heels for flip flops and created MI OLA. Sexy Bikinis that Stay On. MI OLA swimsuits have been designed to provide active women a functional, yet sexy look.  Each style has also been wave tested and approved by real surfers. Take a look at these beautiful swimsuits at MI-OLA.com


To enter, please use the rafflecopter widget below. The entry period ends 3/1 at midnight Eastern Standard Time. Best of luck, everyone!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Congratulations to Sara T. who won the MI OLA $200 Gift Certificate.  Thanks for following & participating!!!  Watch this space for the next giveaway…

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This month we are excited to shine the spotlight on Kelly Haas ~ a RYT-500, Yoga Therapist, Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher, avid Spanish-speaker, who is sought after for her skilled eyes and hands in therapeutic and alignment-based yoga.  Kelly Photo 1

Kelly’s yoga practice began in 1999 in Atlanta, GA. Her first trainings included Sivananda yoga, followed by an interdisciplinary Teacher Training at the Nosara Yoga Institute. She also completed trainings in Ashtanga, hot yoga, vinyasa, and thai massage therapy. From 2005-2012, her studies focused extensively on Anusara. And now she is studying thai, restorative, and the art of integrating knowledge from all of these practices.

Her deep understanding of the therapeutic benefits of the practice, along with her playful, firey nature, make her classes informative, challenging, and nourishing. She considers it a great honor to teach, and strives to help each student restore health, vitality, and energy to their hearts, bodies and minds.



How lucky do I feel to have had the opportunity to interview this absolutely amazing and inspiring woman.  I feel blessed!  Read on to learn about Kelly and how she inspires people from all around the world:

Q:  Tell us what motivated you to become a yoga teacher / therapist and about your business, Kelly Haas Yoga Therapy . 
Kelly Photo 2

I have always been fascinated with movement, and the innate ability of the human body. As a child, I was a gymnast and loved everything to do with body movement and exploration.

I was introduced to yoga during my college years, and one of my first teachers suggested I train to become a teacher. Wow, what a complement! That got the wheels turning. My love for and personal evolution through the yoga practice is what inspired me to share the teachings with others.

I have thousands of hours in intensive yoga training, and have traveled the world to study and teach. After more than a decade teaching, my path steered more towards the therapeutic forms of yoga. I started exploring how all yoga poses could be adapted to benefit any body type.

Currently, I teach public classes – including restorative and pre-natal – and I specialize in private instruction for those with sports injuries, post surgery, or with physical limitations or disabilities. My home base is New Orleans, but I also lead workshops, classes, and retreats around the world.

You can find out more about me and where I’m roaming at: www.kellyhaasyogatherapy.com

Q:  What advice do you have for women looking to find more balance in their lives?
Kelly Photo 3

Be guided by your internal compass and your own innate wisdom.

Our lives are extremely busy, and can lead to high levels of stress. We often times go outside ourselves to seek answers and affirmation.  The practice of yoga draws our awareness inward and tunes us in to all layers of ourselves. By doing so, we become more sensitive to exactly what we need each moment. Feminine energy pulsates and changes, so too does what brings us into balance.

Resting, reading, nurturing ourselves, taking care of our bodies, eating well, communing with nature, exercising, and creating space for the activities that bring us great inspiration and joy. Whatever activities uniquely make YOU feel alive, bring joy and balance!

Q:  Can you tell us about your first surf experience and how it made you feel?

Kelly Surf NicaWhile living in Costa Rica and managing Pura Vida Spa & Resort, I was introduced to surfing. Spending time with locals who were very adept at water sports didn’t personally provide me the support I needed as a novice to feel comfortable in the water. The Mother Ocean has an ebb and flow all her own, to be respected. On vacation in Nicaragua in 2014, I was reintroduced to surfing. My lesson was with a patient, knowledgeable instructor, who found a perfect small wave for me to pulse with the ocean again. The feeling is pure magic… to be in the water, on a board, getting into her flow, and cultivating patience and trust to ride a wave.

Q:  Wow Kelly ~ thank you for sharing, it gave me goosebumps!  You’ve organized retreats all around the world, can you share what is the best part about a yoga retreat?

Yoga retreats hold space for us to transform and truly nurture ourselves.

In a retreat environment, we can get out of the busy nature of our lives. Retreats create an insulated, safe environment to really “let your hair down.” We sleep onsite, practice together, have our delicious meals prepared for us. With all of the logistical details managed, there is a great amount of space each day for personal reflection, activities, rest… and this is what truly heals us. Kelly Photo 4

Q:  Based on that response, all women should experience at least one retreat in their life!  My final questions ~What are 3 things that give you bliss?

  • Learning about other cultures and speaking different languages.
  • Communing with nature, particularly the water and water kingdoms.
  • Yoga, music and dancing.
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Lana.BlastFitness 1

This month we are excited to shine the spotlight on Lana Osborne-Paradis from Blast Fitness.  She is a BSc Kin, CSEP-CEP, AFLCA Trainer and a LuluLemon Ambassador from Calgary, Canada.  For the last eight years, she has been running, jumping and kettlebell swinging as a personal trainer. Her clients are her greatest inspiration. Every person is different, so she thrives on figuring out what makes people tick, sweat, eat some kale and then tick better. Her goal is to change people’s relationship with exercise and healthy eating. She says we need to be lovers, not fighters. We need to find balance, not extremes. Her results-based approach allows her to help people go from binge athletes and health gorgers to a healthy lifestyle that they can actually keep up with.


Read more to learn how Lana inspires women from all around the world…


Q:  What inspired you to launch your business, Blast Fitness?

I was inspired to start my business Blast Fitness because of my own journey to peace and health. While I have always been active and involved in the health and fitness field, it took a number of years for me to really walk the talk. I believeLana.BlastFitness 2 that many women begin their journey of body change with primarily externally motivated goals, yet continue on the journey because of how exercise and eating well makes us feel about ourselves.

Q:  Tell us a little more about what you do and how you inspire women around the world?

My business involves teaching and inspiring women to live a healthy, stress-free lifestyle. I run an online monthly membership program called the Blast Fitness Lifestyle Club in which I create exercise and nutritional programming for our members each month. Other aspects of my business include a mobile personal training business in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

I believe true inspiration comes from showing up with honesty and vulnerability about our experiences and beliefs, and I strive to be authentic with everything I share on my blog and in my coaching practice.

Q:  What advice do you have for women looking to find more balance in their lives?

My advice for women looking to create balance in their lives is to make peace with their past, be aware in the present and be open to the future. Balance comes from slowing down, smelling the roses and realizing that we are all in this together. Regular exercise, eating well and dealing with stress properly all help to maintain balance!

Q:  What message would you give to inspire SwellWomen around the world?Maui

The message I would like to share with swell women around the world is that we have a choice in how we view the world and our experiences. Choosing a peaceful and grateful perspective makes all the difference in enjoying our bodies, lives and relationships.

Q:  What are 3 things that give you bliss?

Three things that give me bliss are being outside, helping women find their strength and a real good sweat session!Lana.BlastFitness,1016

Q:  Is there a quote that inspires you?

Salt water is the cure for everything. Sweat, tears or the sea.



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Carve Shop Spree Promo 1

Today, we are excited to announce that Carve Designs is partnering with SwellWomen as we launch our April 2015 Nicaragua Retreats by sponsoring a drawing for a $400 Carve Designs Shopping Spree!

Carve Designs has evolved into an active apparel company offering a full range of technical waters sports, après surf and lifestyle collections for all seasons.  They love what they do — pioneering a brand for the Carve woman, one who is passionate, fun, versatile, organic, feminine and inspirational.

Carve Designs is a match made in heaven for SwellWomen.  Each piece is functional, fabulous and designed for the female surfer & yogi.

The Carve Designs Story
Carve Jen and Thayer shot 2On a surf trip to Mexico in 2003, surfers & athletes Jennifer Hinton & Thayer Sylvester had a vision: to be able to surf comfortably without having to squeeze their rears into boardshorts designed for juniors.  They took a leap of faith, quit their jobs and dedicated themselves to designing and manufacturing boardshorts for real women that would fit well and look great in and out of the water.


Register by Jan. 31st for one of the SwellWomen Nicaragua Surf & Yoga Retreats in April 2015, and you will be automatically entered into the drawing that will take place on Feb 1st.

The winner of the drawing will receive a $400 Shopping Spree from Carve Designs and be featured in a mini photo shoot in Nicaragua that will highlight their new surf & beachwear.

Are you ready to Follow Your Bliss to Nicaragua?  Book your life changing trip today!

Casa Colorados-18



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Our mission is to provide inspiration for growth and renewal through surfing and yoga on the beautiful island of Maui. Read our blog or subscribe to our feeds and newsletter to prepare for your surf and wellness vacation or stay in the bliss if you've headed home. SwellWomen discusses surf, health and Maui lifestyle with news tidbits and useful tips.