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Drop In Sessions Episode 8: Holly Beck – Surfing and Self Healing

“How much the way we show up in the water is a metaphor for how we show up in life”

Episode 8 of The Drop in Sessions brought to you by the awesome folk at Mermaid Gin has landed, and features one of the most loved and influential women in both pro and grassroots surfing, Holly Beck.

California-born Holly lit up surfing during her long streak as a pro, after graduating from college in 2001. As a powerful athlete competing for over a decade, Holly became a global name, gracing campaigns, covers, and tv shows (remember Boarding House feat. Sonny Garcia, Veronika Kay, Danny Fuller and Chelsea Georgeson?) as a successful model. However, you’d be a fool for assuming Holly fits the stereotypical blonde surfer chick boilerplate. Holly really shirked off the expectations of the time and hunkered down, working hard to let her talent do the talking, and not shying away from her commitment to training, personal development and study.  

Holly’s career has been multifaceted, successfully impacting women’s surfing for the better at a true grassroots level. In this fascinating episode, podcast host, Sophie Everard, sits down with Holly to talk about her experiences as a pro in the 90s and 2000s. As a self-described ‘nerd’ (Holly’s got 2 Master’s degrees plus an undergrad degree to her name), Holly recounts the typical experience for female pros at the time, having to “fit into this marketable mould, kiss up to the male owners of different companies and really wear a mask and do a dance”. 

After moving to Nicaragua and establishing the globally adored Surf With Amigas retreats, a company which have opened up the sport of surfing to women worldwide for over a decade, Holly’s work continues to incorporate her studies in surf therapy and Master’s degree in counselling into surf coaching.

Have you ever wondered why exactly you didn’t go for that set wave? Why you were scared of it and what drove that fear? 

After a tumultuous period separating from her ex-husband and losing both her sister and her brother in law to an accidental drug overdose, Holly was inspired to start her Masters course. This was partly for “self-healing, being more empathetic, and to hold space better for the people that mattered”.  Holly’s learnings from both general therapy and surf therapy have allowed her to tie these aspects into her surf coaching. This has seen her explore a way to teach people to have a more intentional surf practice.

This truly insightful episode charts Holly’s journey of self-discovery and acceptance, of setting herself apart and being proud of the differences that make her unique….dive in!