It’s very hot where I am at the moment, so it made me think of a few things:
#1 I need to plan a beach vacation, and soon.
#2 I need to replace my swimsuit too. 😊
So while asking around for suggestions on who to feature, Samantha Thian of Seastainable Co (check out her metal straws and the causes she supports here) happened to point me to Beckie Liu, the founder and designer of Haikini.
Haikini is a Singaporean swimwear line for women who love to surf and be one with the waves. It’s lovingly hand-made in Bali by way of an eco-friendly and plastic-free production process – and the business provides workers with a sustainable livelihood that helps to support their families.
Check out Beckie's designs:
“Haikini began as a way to fill the gap in the swimwear market for functional, stylish and affordable swimwear,” she says.
“As our brand grew, so did our vision – to bring the joy of surfing to more girls in Asia. In our quest to do so, we’ve made it our mission to bring ocean lovers together through immersive brand experiences, from Haikini’s affordable high-quality swimwear to uniting our customers through overseas surfing events.”
The brand also fosters a sense of community among independent, like-minded female surfers through its group, Haikini Seasterhood.
Maybe I should add one more thing to my list:
#3 Learn something new, even when (especially when) I’m on holiday.
That could be… surfing? Yikes. 😬 I’m not the most athletic or active person.
But talking to Beckie will convince us to at least try it. Just listen to her as she shares the emotions she goes through while surfing.
“Living in a world where we spend most of our time on screens, surfing taught me how to be more present. When you’re in the water, there are no distractions, no emails to reply to, and no social media to scroll. It’s just you on a surfboard floating in the big blue. Nothing beats that feeling, and to me, it’s what true freedom feels like!”
#2 Appreciation for nature and our environment
“I got my first-hand experience of how bad plastic pollution currently is only when I started surfing. That made me more aware of my plastic consumption. I started recycling and reduced my consumption of disposable plastics.
“We only have one earth, and few places on earth produce the right conditions fit for surfing. If we don’t start changing our habits, every surf spot will be filled with trash and our natural playground will be lost.”
#3 Frustration (and sometimes fear when the surf gets too big)
“Surfing is not just about perfect waves, palm trees and shakas. There are as many bad days as there are good days. Some days when the waves are bigger than I’m comfortable handling, fear does set in. I get more anxious and my breath gets shorter. However, those days are the ones where I progress the most – with myself (by overcoming fear) and with surfing (getting more comfortable in bigger waves).”
You’ll get there
If you need more time to decide, Beckie lists more of her favourite moments in the sun, surf and sand to further inspire us.
Her experiences might encourage us to at least take up a water activity. 😊 (Although there’s nothing wrong with lounging around and simply swimming, to start.)
#4 Surfing with friends
“Waves are best shared with friends! We cheer and support each other, and also watch out for one another. I think surfing automatically brings people together especially if it’s a new relationship or friendship.
“When we were young, it was so much easier making friends in the playground because you played together. Surfing’s just like that; it’s a form of play (something that people don’t do enough in adulthood), and the ocean’s our playground.”
#5 Reading a wave successfully and paddling over it before it hits
“I think people who don't know much about surfing think it only involves riding the wave, but when you do learn how to surf properly and progress beyond the beginner level, you can actually read the waves. Reading the waves is about knowing which wave to catch, which way you should go, and how to surf more efficiently.
“When a big set (of waves) comes, sometimes only a few people in the water can paddle over it to avoid getting washed out (generally you want to avoid this because the wave can trap you underwater for a few seconds when it hits you at the impact zone). So when I read the wave successfully and work hard to paddle over it to avoid getting hit by the waves, it’s quite exhilarating!”
#6 Nailing a trick
“I mostly do logging/traditional longboard. My board is 9 ft 2 inches long, and the trick involves walking to the tip of the board (called the nose) and hanging your toes over the nose. This is quite hard to do and I’m still trying to perfect it.
“Whenever I successfully do that trick, it feels amazing. I think we live in a society where you can get everything instantly. Surfing taught me how to be patient, and the only way you’re going to get good at something is to constantly practice, persevere and just don’t give up that easily.”
#7 Travelling and meeting new friends in the water
“After learning how to surf, every trip overseas is now a surf trip! I’ve travelled to China, California, Hawaii and Sri Lanka to surf, and each trip was unforgettable because of all the new friends I’ve met in the water. The best part is that when you meet local surfers, not only will you have another friend to surf with, but also someone to show you their version of the true local experience (food, culture, sights), and not what you usually get as a complete tourist.”
#8 Challenging myself at different surf spots
“Every wave is different, so the same approach to catch a wave at one beach might not work at another. Some waves are faster and steeper.”
One last word
Surfing also helps people break out of their shell. Beckie gives us an example.
“I’ve had one surf camp girl who told me that she was surprised she could stand up on the surfboard and ride the wave quite well, because she didn’t consider herself sporty or any good at sports back home,” recalls Beckie.
“So surfing helped her to gain confidence in herself. You don’t need to be good at sports to surf, even though it may help you to paddle a little longer and faster. This confidence is important because instead of limiting yourself, learning how to surf (with the right coach and conditions) empowers individuals to do more things in their lives that they never thought they could do.”
And you have a cool Haikini swimsuit to do it in. 😊 (No excuses!)