As I reflect on what my heart is most grateful for this Thanksgiving, I am filled with gratitude for this incredible Ola Chica community, Mother Ocean, and the remarkable journey that has led me to this moment.
My love for the water has been a constant thread throughout my life. I learned to swim before taking my first steps. I was immersed in the waters of the San Lorenzo River that meandered through my parents' property. My family often adventured to the ocean.
At the age of 9, I became a beach junior guard. By 14, I was a certified lifeguard patrolling local pools, and at 15, I had my first surfing experience at Cowell's. My childhood friend took me out on an old board. She paddled so fast I couldn't keep up, but I was thrilled to be on a surfboard.
Even though I didn’t catch a wave that first time, I loved it.
For my 16th birthday, my family pitched in to get me a longboard. I had saved up to buy a car and surf racks, and from then on, I went to the beach almost every day!
I graduated high school early and went to Cabrillo College, where I thrived in school for the first time and surfed as much as possible. I later became a beach lifeguard and junior guard instructor for the City of Santa Cruz.
After a year's adventure of surfing in Australia, my passion for the waves led me to a dream job teaching surfing at a local surf school. I found myself in the water constantly, sharing the stoke of the waves. I worked at that surf school for 10 years, and then went on to teach in Hawaii, Mexico, and Costa Rica.
The genesis of Ola Chica can be traced back to the waves of Hawaii, born out of the sheer necessity for a swimsuit that could withstand the rigors of surfing. While in Hawaii, I designed my first suits, setting the wheels in motion for what would become my career.
My greatest teacher, the ocean, has been a steadfast companion on this remarkable journey. As I express my deepest gratitude for the path that led me here, I am filled with appreciation for the opportunity to create Ola Chica and cultivate a community that shares in my profound love for the water.