A few years ago, Holly Beck was a real darling of the surf media with a little love from mainstream culture as well. The photogenic girl from Palos Verdes was among the hottest NSSA competitors a decade ago. She went pro and took a crack at the Womens WQS. But she was always more than a surfer with a little modeling, a degree in Psychology from UCSD and an MBA in marketing.
But then she fell out of the public eye a bit. Well, if you're kind of curious to know what Beck's been doing, you'll be happy to know she's not divorced, living in the Valley in a pair of velour sweatpants on a diet of Xanax and ice cream. Quite the contrary actually -- Miss Beck has been working in Nicaragua and living (quite comfortably it seems) off the land. And from the looks of it, she's been getting shacked too.
She's teaching surfing at Suave Dulce (Smooth and Sweet), her Womens Surf and Yoga Retreat in Northern Nica. But the camp is about more than getting limber and cruising on waves, it's actually designed to proactively give back to the local community where it is hosted.
"After spending the last decade traveling the world as a pro surfer, I wanted to spend time living with more purpose. I fell in love with the people and waves of Nicaragua," Beck told me today, "I bought some land, built a small house, and am trying to live as sustainably as possible while also becoming a part of and helping out the community around me. That means pumping a well for water, running lights and a fan off solar electricity, and bringing volunteers down to assist me with beneficial projects. I love inspiring people, and if I can do that in the water while also helping them to help others and see their lives differently, then I'm happy."
Suave Dolce offers a chance to not only partake in surf and yoga, but give back to just one of the struggling but surf-rich regions of the world. The camp is at a simple, but comfy house right on the break where you eat all sorts of natural food from the earth.
You can actually sign up for the Surf Yoga Volunteering trips here. Beck will be teaming up with an organization called SYRV (pronounced "serve," as in, serve the community.) They are involved in purifying drinking water, improving education, feeding homeless families, and teaching English. Together they will be erecting a community center for the local village.
"It will make sewing machines, computers, and clean water available to a community previously without any of those things," explains Beck, who is on SYRV's Board of Directors.
What did you do on your last surf trip? Get barreled and overtip the maid?
Always good to know that surfers are using their skills for something admirable.