Girl Crush // Natalie Sageloly of Pointe Break Retreats

Nosara, Costa Rica, Natalie Sagelol

A little surf town called Nosara tucked away on the Pacific Ocean in the wild country of Costa Rica is like the best kept secret. The one you are wanting to gush about with every pulsating vein because it ignites your senses in the most profound way, but you hold on so dear because you want it to be your special place. That is the magic of this place, engulfing you with reverence, grounding you to the sacredness of those melodic waves. I travelled to Costa Rica in search of adventure, and after a 7 hour drive through treacherous dirt roads, rainy season dead ends and mountains, oh those epic mountains, I finally reached this small town as the sun was descending to its slumber and the sky was a pastel kaleidoscope; the most heavenly sunset I ever did see.

This exact feeling I felt when my feet touched the sand in Nosara for the first time was the feeling Natalie Sageloly felt when she ventured to this town some years ago. She too marvelled in its elegance and purist nature, it was her “wildest dream” (thanks Taylor) come to life and where she now calls her home. Natalie along with co-creator Jennifer Nichols combined their passions of surf and dance into the Point Break Retreats, a community inspiring adventure for those seeking a vacation to “find your balance” and relish in Nosara’s mystical quality. How can a place be this enchanted you may wonder? Let Natalie express what she sees and feels everyday in this town and how she wants you to also experience the Pura Vida life in this week’s Girl Crush.

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When you first visited Costa Rica on a surf retreat you explained it as being ‘love at first break’. Can you tell us more about your Costa Rica love story?

I first came to the little sleepy surf town of Nosara, Costa Rica four years ago by myself. I  had at the time some experience surfing and had travelled to some other beautiful places to surf but had heard so much about the beauty and healing powers of Costa Rica that I had to go check it out. I had just gone through a break up, was taking on a new job in the fashion world and was in a state of transition. The trip and timing couldn’t have been better.

I got the referral to come to Nosara from a friend of mine who lives for adventure and living organically and I was instantly sold as he told me about his time here over coffee one day in downtown Toronto in a snowstorm! From the moment my flight touched ground I was in awe of the color and life Costa Rica has. Green just so happens to be my favorite color and I instantly found myself engulfed in lush, fertile land and jungle. The perfect word to describe how I felt as I drove down the winding dirt roads, past rolling hills of green, bridged over flowing rivers was that I was free. I felt an instant connection with the environment and soon to be the lovely people of this country.

I arrived in Playa Guiones (a.k.a Nosara) just in time for sunset. As we drove down the main road we passed cute little cafes, bustling quaint restaurants, colorful vendors and many people walking around with a surfboard under their arm or a yoga mat slung over their shoulder saying the local slogan “Pura Vida”. I felt instantly that this was the type of place  people come who appreciate and live a healthy lifestyle. We continued to the beach just in time to see the sky turn from aqua blue to fire orange red as the gigantic sun departed for the evening (usually around 5:30PM). I was in love!  

As my week went on and I connected with my inner wanderlust child, I fell more and more into obsession with this town and especially with surfing! Getting up at 6am to the sound of monkeys and wild birds was my new alarm clock and to my great surprise I would leap out of bed and grab my board and hit the warm waters to surf. Trust me… this gal has never been one to leap out of bed in the morning for anything! The surf break here is world renowned and naturally designed for all levels. Its also one of the most consistent surf breaks in the world and you can count on surf everyday of the year. This has brought in many super cool and unique surf schools and has created a very safe and friendly surf environment for beginners and intermediate surfers. I was devoted to learning and imporving my surf and can’t really explain the feeling when you catch your first green wave and glide thru the waves effortlessly. Its like you are floating on water and nobody but yourself got you there. It is the most humbling and rewarding thing I had accomplished.

In a nutshell, Costa Rica just got me and it was love at first break. I have been living here now for just over one year and call Nosara home.  I also found real romantic love here as well and am engaged to an awesome man who everyday inspires me to love without fear and live Pura Vida! Of course he is a surfer 

Pointe Break is a unique, community inspiring retreat that focuses on “finding your balance.” What sets it apart from other retreats?

We don’t even like the word “retreat” because it insinuates that you are being pulled away from something. We are anything but a boxed in experience. I can’t even imagine booking a vacation to this amazing country and notexperiencing it. I have seen this happen many times and it was one of my main goals that our clients get to live the “Pura Vida” while they are here and hopefully take it back into their everyday lives. I believe that everywhere we travel in the world will shape who we are and Costa Rica in many ways has so many valuable lessons to take home. Almost everyone I meet here can attest to a “life changing” experience.

We use the word “finding your balance” as it relates to both the physicality and emotionality components of aPointe Break Retreat. Balance is an obvious part of both surfing and dance but it also strikes a chord with people’s stress levels. How often do you hear people say “I need to find more balance in my life”? The week is programmed to reprogram your mind and outlook on life, taking each participant back to the basics and simple way of life and refocusing them when they return to everyday stresses.

Our hope and mission is that through our surf and dance classes our clients will develop or improve their overall fitness and be empowered by completing a challenging week that takes you out of your comfort zone. We also have designed a retreat that encourages connection with the other participants and with nature itself. You will laugh your head off the entire week and make friends for life. We attract a certain type of women or man, someone who wants a stress free vacation and wants to lose themselves for a week. Having fun is a policy of ours and there is always good wine on the table. I want people to know we aren’t a strict retreat where you are tied to a schedule and feel restricted to explore. The jungle is your playground so let’s go play!

This retreat is all about flexibility, fun and finding your bliss in the challenge of dance and sport. What are some unique excursions your guests can look forward to? Tell us about the treehouse and it’s fascinating dinner hosts!

As stated previously, we are a really cool retreat company with one major advantage over most retreats. You have a host that lives in the town you are vacationing to! You get the inside scoop and get to experience things maybe other retreats don’t know about. I am particularly excited about our off-site tour up the coast of The Pacific to a town called San Juanillo. Our guests will get the real deal! The coastal tour takes you past turtle beaches, black sand beaches, farm land abundant with the most beautiful cows, through thick and glorious jungle, through rivers, across bridges and will end in a quaint little town. Here we will snorkel and have dinner up in a Tree House overlooking the ocean as the sun goes down.

I fell in love with Tree Tops Restaurant for two reasons… the 5 course delicious home cooked meal and the hosts! Its owned by two of the most charming and interesting people I have met here. You will be taken away by Jack’s stories of his past professional race car days and their love story which brought them to Costa Rica. To make the night more special we finish off the night with a bonfire on the beach.  Our participants can also look forward to nature hikes and beach walks to tide pools as well as enjoy the beauty of The Costa Rica Yoga Spa. The accommodations and grounds of The Costa Rica Yoga spa are luxurious and breathtaking. Its set up into the mountains so every view is an ocean and jungle view. The wildlife you see from up there is stunning and not to mention the sunsets as well dance in our open air studio.

Nosara, Costa Rica is romantic, wild and pulsating with beauty. What is it like to call it home?  

I could write a book about this but I will keep it simple. Calling Nosara home is to me like smelling a new born baby for the first time or having your first kiss. Its both comforting and exhilarating. It really is home for me because it is where my heart is.

You met Jennifer of The Extension Method and instantly had a girl crush on her (we did too!). The studio is such a special and connective space, can you pinpoint what gives it that remarkable quality and why you were so drawn to it? How did Pointe Break Retreats come to be?

I met Jennifer Nichols four years ago and really was instantly attracted to her energy and warmth. I could also tell she had a goofy side which I found to be true as our friendship developed. Not only was I in love with a new form of fitness, I was in love with a studio. Walking into Jen’s studio for me was like walking into your mom’s house after you have been away for a while. I had a new family, I have a place where I could meet other women who were like minded and felt the same way I did about The Extension Room. I really believe that people don’t like a class or a method of fitness, they like the experience and that’s where Jennifer hit in on the marker. It’s like a girls club but everyone’s invited to join! Everyone feels welcome and can dance at their own levels and just be themselves.

It was important to me when we designed Pointe Break Retreats that we keep this feel and connection with our guests. Its really like just going on vacation with a bunch of your best friends! When I decided to move from Toronto to Nosara, I knew right away that I couldn’t live without The Extension Method that I loved so much. It was a part of me and always will be. As entrepreneurs usually do, Jen and I were chatting one day and out of my mouth just came “Pointe Break Retreats” and that was it. We just gave each other that look like… Yep let’s do it, and so it was!

The retreat offers an escape and an opportunity to honour yourself with a new challenge and to be a part of the rhythm of such a breathtaking country. Why is it important that we treat ourselves to excursions such as this? For example, what would you tell a mother who was wanting to take this trip?

I know as women especially we always put the needs of others ahead of our own. This is more true when you are a mother. I am not a mother yet but hear this all the time. I call it the “mother guilt”.  I respect anyone who puts others first but I do believe and it has been my experience that honoring yourself not only benefits oneself but the people we are always putting in front. We have had many moms come on our retreats and have testament to how it has helped them deal with family life when they return back home. I give so much credit to moms today, it has to be one of the most challenging and tiring jobs out there. I would tell a mother who is considering treating herself to think of who she was before she was a mother and who she is now as one as well. Did she have goals and wants? As women we can play many roles but we can’t forget who we are as individuals and anyways “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”! Also your kids will think you are the coolest mom when they see photos and videos of you surfing! Thats serious mom credit!

You had a past life in the fashion world! Tell us about that and how you incorporated your fashion roots into the retreat?

I worked in fashion for the past ten years and it of course is a large part of me. I have been blessed to work for great designers and companies in many aspects from PR to sales and buying. As a surfer chick now, my wardrobe has gone from glam to bikinis! I am not complaining at all, I have always been a bikini addict. Now I have a reason to be! As a surfer, you also need to wear a rash guard until you develop the thicker skin on your belly where the surf wax rubs. (It’s not a bad as it sounds) For this reason we include a surf rash guard with every retreat package and I wasn’t going to settle for a boring ol shirt!

Wanting to keep things Canadian, I emailed a company called Akela Surf after seeing them on Facebook.  I loved their aesthetic and prints as well as their uniqueness. It fit our brand perfectly so every retreat we design a unique rash guard with them for that retreat. These can also be worn in yoga or fitness classes as the fabrication is super high quality and really yummy to wear. I love when our participants get their welcome goody bags and try it on for the first time. We look like warriors when we are all wearing them and walking to the beach with our boards in hand! It’s like we are a family, and in many ways we are and will be for a lifetime. I love that fashion can do that! I love that it can empower a group of women and connect people together. I am happy that I still have one finger in the fashion world and that I have found my balance 

What is…

Your favourite movie?

Great Expectations

A hidden gem in Nosara?

Playa Pelada beach

A book that inspired you?

The Bible

After being to Nosara I witnessed its magical essence. What does magic mean to you?

Magic to me is a feeling. I believe it also stems from surprise. To be surprised is to awaken your emotions to something new which sets off a feeling of excitement and bliss.  I love that about Costa Rica and my life here. There are always so many surprises and unexplainable events that occur that you are always on edge and in a good way. It’s the surprise that tonight’s sunset is even more beautiful than the lasts? It’s the shock that you are getting up with the sun even though back home your husband has to drag you out of bed! Its walking on the street after sunset and remembering that if I Iook up I will see stars and behold the sky is polluted with sparkly magical things! If we forget to let ourselves explore and experience new things, I believe that the MAGIC goes away for most. This is why we encourage people to come to our retreat and get a little uncomfortable so you can experience magic again like a child and find your balance. Pura Vida, xoxo.

Article Source: Ana is an actress and writer and host of the blog series Girl Crush. She loves hanging with her friends, finding the best vintage pieces and travelling to every small town. You can follow her musings over on her blog and instagram.