Combine yin consciousness with yang activity at the Women’s Radical Wellness Retreat in Costa Rica.

By Molly McManus, Photo by Tony Roberts.

Pura vida! Literally translated to “pure life,” this customary saying embodies all that is Costa Rica. It can be expressed in gratitude, in greeting and in farewell; a person can be described as being pura vida; or glasses will salute “Pura vida!” or, “Cheers to the good life!” Cast your fears, preconceived notions and apprehension aside and experience pura vida during a week to remember for a lifetime.

From September 14–21, the Real Surf Trips Women’s Radical Wellness Retreat in Playa Negra, Costa Rica, provides a unique opportunity for the adventure-seeker wanting to connect with the natural world, a different country and culture, others, and, most importantly, themselves. Every aspect of the retreat has a specific purpose and intention. From surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling and free diving, to yoga, meditation, healthy eating, educational enrichment programs and discussion forums , this all-inclusive retreat is designed to physically and mentally challenge, in order to have a transformative effect on its participants.

Professional snowboarders Kjersti Buaas and Chanelle Sladics will host the retreat. If you don’t know who these two phenomenal athletes are, allow me to sum them up in two words: Bad. Ass. Buaas is an Olympic bronze medalist, Sladics an X-Games bronze medalist. Not only are these women successful on the slopes, they are also deeply passionate about building community with other women, the environment, and personal growth and understanding.

“I’m looking for community building,” says Sladics about the Women’s Radical Wellness Retreat. “I’m really grateful for people who choose to let down their guard and be themselves.”

She says she hopes the trip will allow women to open up and expose who they are more and more throughout the week.

“Maybe [the participants] haven’t tried some of the activities before,” offers Buaas, who stresses that whether or not you have prior knowledge in surfing or the other water sports offered, it is important to come in with a playful attitude and an open mind.

“The beginner’s mind is always something I’m speaking to,” Buaas explains. “It’s so fun, pure, curious. It’s also nonjudgmental, which is inspiring.”

She says her goal is to go in with an open mind as well, soaking up the advice and information participants will share with one another. Both Buaas and Sladics are certified in permaculture design and want to bring their knowledge of sustainable architecture and self-maintained agricultural systems to the retreat so they can share what they ’ve learned with their respective homes and communities upon leaving Costa Rica.

Permaculture, profoundly tied to nutrition, plays a huge part in Sladics and Buaas’s lives. In line with this, three meals a day will be provided that are locally sourced, non-GMO and organic whole foods. Cuisine will include local eggs, vegetables, fruit and fish freshly caught from the ocean just minutes away. The retreat combines more extreme, adventurous sports with mellow, reflective body movement, to encourage yang activities inspired by yin energy from within. Guidance along the way will help in understanding how each moment has intention and purpose, providing foundation for personal growth, mental clarity and body awareness.

“I’m excited to be a guide, with an effort to basically balance the yin and the yang,” says Sladics. “The Western world tends to live in a more yang side of things, constantly moving, accomplishing, succeeding and progressing. Then there’s the Eastern yin side of things, which is very peaceful and about reflection, analyzing and slowing down, breathing…to really help find a more healthy balance.”

Buaas points to another important part of the retreat.

“I want to have fun and inspire a playful environment. You can learn and you can grow and have fun at the same time. It doesn’t all need to be serious.”

Spots are limited, so take the opportunity to escape into pura vida and explore how Costa Rica and the Women’s Radical Wellness Retreat can benefit you. It will be impossible to not take away a newfound sense of self, mental and physical strength, purpose, and knowledge to carry with you as you return to your normal life.


Bob Witty and Tony Roberts wanted to offer a special surf destination they could share with friends and other surf enthusiasts, and thus Real Surf Trips was born. Living in Costa Rica for 20 years and surfing the world for almost three decades, they settled on the most consistent place for best surf conditions and great, uncrowded waves: Playa Negra, Costa Rica.


The Women’s Radical Wellness Retreat takes place at Real Surf Trip’s luxurious Wave House on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica at Playa Negra. The Wave House, located a short walk to the water in a warm and beautiful laid-back surf and beach community that boasts beautiful secluded beaches and consistent waves, is an extravagant lodging facility including Wi-Fi, large-screen TVs and a pool. Three meals per day will be provided, along with airport pick up/ drop off and transportation to surfing and diving. Fresh, local food is served three times a day. Snorkel the crystal-clear waters of Playa Negra’s hidden coves for a chance to see puffer fish, parrot fish, eels, rays and more.


Kjersti Buaas

Buaas is a Norwegian Olympic bronze medalist, with 15 years of experience competing on the snowboard world tour. She is the cofounder of One Life, an organization that strives to demonstrate ecofriendly and playful values, making cultural connections, and exploring the natural world. She is currently working toward her fourth Olympics.

Chanelle Sladics

Sladics, an XGames bronze medalist and YogaWorks certified teacher, enjoys surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, free diving and yoga, and is passionate about wellness and environmental sustainability. Also a cofounder of One Life, Sladics loves providing transformative camps and retreats to women across the globe.