We heart Instagram – 10 of our favourites to follow

This weekend we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite Instagram surf and snow accounts for you. Instagram is such a great place to take inspiration from. Get ready to become a snow and surf Instagram junkie – that’s if you’re not already!

And don’t forget to follow @nowripthis 

Who are your favourite Instagrams to follow at the moment?

Shred your heart out at Hakuba’s Snow Goddess Retreats

snowboarderSnow Goddess retreats offer the chance to spark your spirit of adventure, get inspired, master or develop your snow skills and enjoy a fantastic winter vacation in one of the world’s most beautiful alpine locations – Hakuba, Japan.

Hakuba is situated in the breathtakingly beautiful Northern Japanese Alps and stands out as one of Japan’s top winter resort areas, offering some of the best winter sports action in Japan.

HakubaYou will have fun meeting new friends, experiencing the unique Japanese culture, being pampered and honing your snow skills. At the same time we will nourish your body with delicious healthy but hearty meals made fresh daily by our resident chef.

Tour Dates: Sun 01 Feb – Sun 08 Feb | Sun 08 Feb – Sun 15 Feb | Sun 15 Feb – Sun 22 Feb | Sun 22 Feb – Sun 01 Mar | Sun 01 Mar – Sun 08 Mar | Sun 08 Mar – Sun 15 Mar |


Luna HotelTHE TRINITY PACKAGE from $3075 pp triple share

THE HARMONY PACKAGE from $3185 pp twin share with shared bathroom

THE BLISS PACKAGE from $3295 pp twin share with ensuite

THE SERENITY PACKAGE $3850 pp king private room

Prices do not include airfare. Solo goddesses are welcome to chose a shared room and will be partnered with a room mate.


• 1 Night accommodation at Narita Airport hotel on arrival with breakfast

• Return “Goddess Only” transfers from Narita Airport to The Lodge

• 7 Divine Days of accommodation at the Charming Goddess Lodge in Hakuba, Japan

10424432_527013724069195_1425261393_a• Private rooms with king size beds or shared rooms with twin beds and custom retreat amenities

• Delicious a la carte meals including breakfasts, lunches and decadent dinner parties made with love by our resident chef (2 dinner not included).

• 5 day all mountain (9 mountain resort ) ski pass

• Small instruction groups for personal attention at your ski or snowboard level

• Mandatory snow helmet provided

BALANCE• Top quality and new design, board/ski hire available at an additional cost

• Restorative yoga sessions at the lodge with our resident yoga Instructor

• 2 visits to nearby Onsen (Japanese hot bath)

• Customized ‘Follow Your Bliss Day’ – Spark your spirit as you spend the day exploring the best of Japan with a variety of activities.

Superior twin 620x462• Endless purified spring water, coffee/teas/hot chocolate

• Complimentary broadband Wi-Fi internet access

• Luscious room amenities including Guest Robes & Hairdryers

• Custom blended spa toiletries

• Daily inspirational cards with Turn Down Service

• Goody Bag

Snow Monkeys• 5% of profits donated toward our ‘Giving Goddess’ Charity program

• Personalised itinerary consultation & booking services with your Snow Goddess Retreat Hostess

• Travel with a company that is annually awarded Trip Advisors Certificate of Excellence for consistently exceeding our guests’ expectations

• Relax in our expert care with over 12 years experience hosting world class women’s retreats.



Girls On Board Surf Retreats


Wahine on Waves, East Beach Waitara. 28th April 2014


Bennys Cafe, Cardrona Valley

If you’ve ever driven through the Cardrona Valley you’ve most likely seen Benny Bright’s house. You can’t miss it because there’s a randomly placed halfpipe in the front yard. Well this season Benny’s opened his house up for business – #mi casa, su casa. Now it’s also a cafe and a ski or snowboard tuning shop.


I don’t usually write about eateries, but everything about Bennys was purely rad. We were heading to Treble Cone from Queenstown and I was acting as tour guide for a half gnarly, half bogan family from Aus. I demanded we swing past Bennys on the way through to try it out for Breaky – I was hardly expecting it to be as exceptional as is it was.


Here’s a little low down of what happened: Firstly we were stopped in our tracks by Torah Bright #megababe and #supershredder. Sorry I didn’t get a photo, I needed nuts as big as bowling balls to ask for one. Shameful, I know. For those who don’t know who she is, take a look below.


Image from Torah Bright’s Facebook Page

But it wasn’t even Torah that took all the attention – it was Otis, the super-chef. As the name suggests. Otis was super friendly, welcoming, and a paperless multi-tasker. What do I mean by this? He managed to take 15 plus orders without writing anything down then prepare the meals in home-cooked perfection. All whilst having a chat about what’s good on the menu (nom nom). You know the type of guy that blokes want to have a beer with, women want to sleep with and even Nan wants to invite him over for a cup of tea? That’s Otis. Cheers bro!


Otis was wicked, but I had a Staffy crush on Cruise (Awkward that I did just admit that.) He was clearly the coolest dog in NZ. Too swanky for balls, Cruise had his own motives around Bennys  – unlike most dogs he wasn’t interested in the food. He had more fun playing outside on the halfpipe. He was to die for! ♥♥♥♥


Did you think I was actually going to get a photo of Cruise on the halfpipe? Pfft, go see him for yourself!

What else? Otis wouldn’t let us leave without trying his brownies. Otis, what did you put in those brownies? When you eat those brownies it permanently eliminates your ability to be sad about anything!

Thanks Bennys for making me look like I know my shiz around Southern Lakes. Respect to you guys opening up shop and all the best for business.

When driving through the Cardrona Valley, make sure you pop in to Bennys for a lovely visit, a coffee, a toastie, or perhaps a game of connect 4. Why? Because you can! You’ll be filled with joy when you do. Pretty soon they’ll have a liquor licence too!


Images courtesy of Bennys FB page and Tamie Wexler.

The original Mint Chicks Camp

Last year we ran an original Mint Chicks Camp, it was amazing, so amazing in fact that other companies have decided to copy it, but this is the original and it’s on again in 2013. Here’s the full itinerary and there’s still spots available. Here’s to making the Mint Chicks camp bigger and better in 2013!


Mint Chicks 2013 Progression Tour – It’s the sheeyit

mint chicks

Fi Duncan, Kiwi snowboard coach and pilates instructor is the guide for the week. She says: “Why come shred yourself stupid with me? Because you will never laugh so much in one week, you will stretch yourself and your limits!” As a local Fi knows the spots on the mountain and off. She says, “Plus you Strayan’s need an interpreter!  Cm’on leave your fears at home and jump on board!”


Claire Hooper from the 2012 Mint Chicks trip was trying loads of tricks she never thought she would. She says it was one of the most memorable weeks in her life. “There is nothing better than a shredding holiday with a group of awesome chicks.” said Claire.

It’s so much fun and will become one of the most memorable weeks of your life! You’ll also be trying loads of tricks you never thought you would! Here’s the video from last year!

To sign up contact : http://www.minttours.com/minty

Fancy a surf safari with Beck Woods?


5 minutes with soul surfer Jenny Mikota

We caught up with Jenny Mikota, true soul surfer and founder of Girls On Board surf retreats. She shared with us her passion for the surf, healthy living and travel.

jeny surfg

“Don’t think just do!”

When I was young I grew up on the Great Lakes in Canada. My parents took us to Florida every year and we stayed on Coco Beach, which is where Kelly Slater and the Hobgoods are from. I remember one day seeing Kelly surfing and it looked so cool! I couldn’t wait till I was old enough to move to the West Coast of Canada where I could surf everyday.

When I was a teenager I moved to a special little town called Tofino, it’s in Vancouver Island – a magical place. There was just a few hard-core chicks that surfed at that time. The water is very cold.

We had to motivate ourselves to go out. I remember surfing and it was -4 outside, but the water felt warm because it was 2 degrees! We would wear a 6 mill and could hardly move in the suit, but it would be warm because we would put it in the dryer before putting it on.  It inspired me to check out other places that were warmer. So I headed south of the border (Mexico, Costa rica) in winters. That was the start of my travel bug, led me to some amazing places and meet great people all over the world. Then I discovered Bali, and that was the start of the new chapter. An epic journey of surfing, creating an oasis and discovering what dreams really are made of.

There are so many things and people that inspire me on a daily basis.  I am so really blessed with the awesome friends I have in my life. My boyfriend inspires me with surfing. He is such a good surfer and supporter and it challenges me in the water. I really try and give thanks and feel blessed to all of the moments in my life. It such a wicked journey in life, we make it ourselves and our surroundings is what shapes us to be the best that we can be.

People tell me that I live the dream, but I tell people we are all the dream. Paradise is inside us all, the places we go and the people we meet.

I love to eat organic and it’s easy to do when you live in a small village will local produce shops. I also try and grow what ever I can in season. I have lots of fun trying new recipes. I love to cook and be in the garden – it’s a meditation in itself.

Building the retreat in Balian was quite an adventure. I travelled to Java (the island next to Bali) and found a little village that has 100 year-old teak houses. I transported a house back to Bali and used the recyced materials to build with. I tried to use mainly recycled timber and rock to build the house, beachcombing for timber and rocks became my afternoon pass time.

The whole house was built with a hammer, saw, couple cement mixing buckets and some string line – it’s actually really amazing. The Balinese people are very crafty and I was amazed how good they are doing things by hand. Doing things in a foreign country can be difficult at times, but I think building anywhere you can say just the same. The challenges became less the more I learnt the language, and the more I learnt and accepted how the culture does things. I had to respect the way the Balinese did things and the more I accepted it, the easier it became. Oh ya…. and patience plenty of it!

I do have a passion for many things, as putting passion into the things you do makes you a compassionate person. Yoga, playing the guitar and singing, cooking, hanging out with friends and family, all different types of sports…. Whatever I’m in the mood for!

I continue to love life by loving myself, loving others, being true to myself, and always knowing that I’m on my path, an exciting path and there’s only one life, which is now.


If you’ve been inspired by this article perhaps you would like to visit Jeny. She runs surf retreats and surfaris around Indonesia. If you want a place to stay she also offers nightly rates in her very cool pad in Balian, Bali.

Christmas gift ideas

Struggling to think of Christmas gift ideas? We ♥ a little bit of sneaky online shopping so we thought we would share some reasonably priced gifts.

We’ve picked some snow and surf treasures so even if you’re heading north for some pow or sticking local for the sun – chances are there’s probably something here you will .

If you ♥ them as much as we do, perhaps add to your Christmas wish list 😉 All of the items below are available online – in case you want to forward them onto your Mum, boyfriend or a fellow shred sister. Just click the coloured text to be directed to the purchasing website. Happy scrolling!

1. Sambora beach toes nail polish.

Now you can enjoy twinkly toes even when you’re surfing. Sambora comes in 48 different shades of summer and it’s a local name from Freemante, WA .

Price: $18.95

2. kiki.K coral leather travel document wallet.

There’s nothing worse than running late to the airport and not being able to find important travel documents. Well thanks to kiki.K you can free your mind and stay organised whilst on your trips.

Price: $79.95

3. kiki. K 2013 A5 daily diary.

We love this colour so much because it reminds is that the only thing that is important is just to BE who we are and that that is enough. So why not look at it everyday when making plans.

Price: $44.95

4. Cheeki Stainless Steel bottles.

Ditch the plastic this summer and save the environment and your health. These aluminum bottles come in a range of different sizes and bright colours.

Price: $16.95

5. Musuc bag

There’s no need to unzip the bottom of your sleeping bag and shuffle around on those cold winter adventures anymore. This sleeping bag has arms and legs. They fold up nice and compact too.

Price: 119.00 EUR

6. Rack-It-Up

Stop hiding your boards under your bed and start a shred museum! These babies come in sizes to fit snowboards, skateboards, surfboards and wakeboards.

Price: from $23.99 for 1 set.

7. Chuckbuddies

Now you can snowboard mid week too – at your desk.

Price: $30 bucks and add shipping costs from USA.

8. Paper Sea

This brilliant quarterly magazine is the work of many talented local artists in Victoria. It showcases honest stories and critical pictures about surf, travel and art from around the world. What else would you want to read after an exhausting day on your board?

Price: Subscribe for a year for $50 bucks.

9. Tea Forté

I have sipped on a lot of tea of tea in my time and this one is by far the best. Each one is a work of art, handcrafted in our workshop amid the lush tea gardens of China and designed to infuse as much flavour and aroma as loose leaf teas. If you haven’t tried it before I would recommend the Chamomile or Mint range.

Price: $29.95 for 20 infusers.

10. Roxy ladies go girl snow backpack

This puppy is super light and comfortable, but also has loads of great pockets and an internal laptop compartment .

Price: $79.99

11. Roxy Broadway Art Series Snowboard Goggles

You’re never too old to be pretty in pink with these Roxy Goggles.

Price: Approx $100 including shipping from UK.

12. Map of the world tights

Travel the world in style.

Price: $US 49.95.

13. SKINS Snow Women’s Compression Long Sleeve Top

SKINS help increase blood flow to deliver oxygen to your active muscles. This process also reduces the build up of lactic acid, so you’ll wake up the next day ready to do it all again. Bonza!

Price: Sale $22.99 – Bargain.

14. First Love the DVD

For summer inspiration check out First Love, a local surf film about 3 girls who try to make it big in the challenging surfing world.

Price: 29.95 from Garage Entertainment.

15. And for the big spenders: Tiffany and Co.

Snowflake charm.

Talking surf films with Taylor Steele

Chances are you probably know the name Taylor Steele from his inspiring surf films and beautiful Corona commercials. Taylor’s the guy who makes us want to drop everything to surf and travel. We have a love-hate relationship with him.

He has built a reputation as an influential surf film maker from his 20 years of travelling the world, following waves and making films. His latest baby “This Time Tomorrow” follows two surfers Rasta and Ando as they go on an exhausting 8-day journey to Tahiti, Mexico, California and Alaska to follow a storm cell through the Pacific Ocean. We caught up with Taylor in Melbourne after watching the film.

Where did the idea of the film come from? I’d been thinking about the idea for nearly ten years – a body boarder Mike Stewart did it in the early 90s, but he didn’t take a camera with him. After a few beers one night I started talking about the idea and then the pressure was on to do it.

Rasta and Ando are so loveable, how did you convince them to come along? I really got lucky with the cast. I convinced Craig at the last minute to come along. When we got to Tahiti it wasn’t what he was expecting.

What about the filming, did you come across any problems? When we got to Tahiti there was a competition on at the time so I couldn’t get any boats to go and film from, all my friends were booked out so we had to film from the land.

You really show the boys are exhausted in the film, what was it like for you as a film maker? When the boys went to sleep I had to book flights and plan the next part of our trip.

What about the technical part of the film, the cameras, sound, editing etc? We shot on a Red and a 7D. We just used the sound from the camera. We also used some Phantom footage and it took about two months to edit.

The film is showing at the moment in Australia and New Zealand at Hoyts Cinemas.

Mint Chicks: the making of

It was Autumn in 2010, I sat at my computer tucked away in a bleak office in the city. I would occasionally look across at my boss who thought she owned me. She thought I was immersed in an Excel spreadsheet, but actually I was searching for new snowboarding destinations. I was like many others around the globe who spend more time thinking about living than they actually live!

I started daydreaming of an all girls snowboarding progression camp in New Zealand and I emailed an itinerary to Jarred (creator of Mint Tours). Jarred had been working in the snow community for more than a decade. In his younger years he maintained his Queenstown snowboarding lifestyle by delivering pizza in the snow, constantly getting towed out of ditches in his crappy car. “The worst job was in Canada, it was cleaning kitchen grease traps while it was puking outside,” he says. Luckily he stepped it up a notch and joined the park crew which he likes to drop into conversations the most and more recently he judges snowboarding events. He’s an honest, chilled and professional guy with a lot of information in his head. He’s the “get me out of the city and take me to the snow” go-to-guy in Melbourne.

So I asked him online, while I was still tucked away in the office, “Can you make my dreams come true?” Great Itinerary, he said, but I’ve tried to run girls camps in the past and I couldn’t get enough girls on board (no pun intended). Fuckers! I guess that meant I had to find some numbers. Any girl I met whilst snowboarding I invited along. Black, white, fat or skinny – it didn’t matter. Heaps were enthusiastic, but one got pregnant and others were drawn to alternative locations.

Come summer time Jarred was ecstatic when he had confirmed more numbers and a female coach for us at Snow Park. Fi Duncan was her name. It was only once I hung out with Fi that I realised how lucky we were to have her. Fi is a travel queen and free spirit. She has surfed and snowboarded all over the planet. Back in her prime time, she was a snowboard competitor and an instructor, but a harsh knee injury changed her life voyage slightly. Now Fi is a passionate Pilates teacher and a dedicated surf coach.

Fi remembers, eight years ago when she was an instructor at Concrete Peak Coronet Peak. She would go into the offices and try to push for all-girl events. “I guess we were just at the forefront of it all,” Fi says. Coronet’s management didn’t see the point in all-girl events and there wasn’t enough money in it back then either, but that didn’t stop Fi. Instead she travelled to Wanaka to run girls camps at Snow Park. Snow Park offers one thing and one thing only – it’s a resort for park riders. The entire resort is full of jumps, boxes, rails, a half pipe and a wall ride. It’s a great place for progression, which is why it’s used as a training ground throughout the snow season.

Back in her day, Fi coached camps at Snow Park with pro snowboarder and instructor Abby Lockhart. It was only once our chicks numbers had doubled that Abby’s name would become familiar to myself and the other Mint Chicks. She was the second coach in our playground.

August 2012. The camp began. Girls flocked from all over Australia from different backgrounds and occupations. One element pulled us all together – snowboard progression.

Claire Hopper, journalism student and Mint co-shredder sums the camp up nicely here. “Mint Chicks Tour was created for a sole reason; to bring Aussie snowboarding girls together. Their desire to do something so unique and groundbreaking, together with our basic desire to simply ride with other chicks, meant this week-long tour in New Zealand was not only bursting with unforgettable and hilariously girly moments, but also full of the encouragement and support us females need to give each other in this once male-dominated sport. We not only nailed some awesome new tricks and techniques during our tour, we formed snow-bound friendships and finally found those chicks we’d always be looking for.

Cassie De Colling caught the rest with her camera.

 Note – Anything written or viewed in this blog can not be held against me or others.

Pictures by Alexandra Volk, Cassie De Colling, Tamie Wexler and Mint Tours.

By Tamie Wexler

 Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you can not help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics. Albert Einstein.

Airport travel with a broken back. Verdict: not bad!

Emma Lovell from Lovelly Communications tells us what it’s like travelling with a broken back:

We all dread it, but apparently there’s a little bit of good in breaking your back. Thanks Em for this article.

The back brace - helping me in more ways then I would ever have imagined

When booking a ticket to Melbourne two months ago I considered the amount of work I would have at the time, assignments I had to do and various social commitments that may get in the way of my trip. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would also be dealing with the complication of a broken back.

Dreading the car trips, plane rides and airport security, I arrived at the airport on Saturday afternoon less than excited to say the least. To feel nervous before a flight was a foreign feeling to me and not one I want to experience again. I felt anxious, unsure and slightly bewildered as we approached Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport. A few deep breaths and a big hug from dad were necessary!

To my amazement, I had no need to worry. The staff at Jetstar, Australia’s fast growing domestic and international low-cost carrier, were fantastic. I was given the seat I asked for, allowed priority boarding and given advice on how to talk to Security. Things were looking up!

The next big hurdle was to be the customs checkpoint. Wearing a full body back brace is not conducive to x-ray and security machines and I was not looking forward to the thorough pat down. However, a simple mention to one of the guards about my situation and all was well. I was concerned I would have to take the brace off and there would be a big scene and pictured red alerts going off and private rooms. But no! I was told ever so kindly by one guard ” Don’t worry, you can keep your clothes on. You don’t have to strip here.” Why thank you sir, not a phrase I hear everyday thankfully, but  rather welcome at this point in time. I was able to walk through the machines as normal and to my great surprise, the metal on my frame did not set off the detector. The bionic woman is apparenly made of plastic and aluminium. Who knew!

I was helped with my bags, assisted with my check in and given priority seating. I was even upgraded to Star Class for the landing as it would be more comfortable for landing. A big thank you to the crew at both airports and the Jetstar team.  For a budget airline the service was great!

All in all, a good experience. Travelling with a back brace, not so bad!

So this traveller is giving some advice: Next time you go on a trip and are feeling a little unloved, why not don a back brace and watch the service levels soar!

Red Bull Snow Performance Camp

The Red Bull Snow Performance Camp has just started at Snowpark in Wanaka, New Zealand. This year’s 10-day camp brings together more than 25 of the world’s best snowboarders and freeskiers. Each has individual goals, but the mission is a common one: push the progression of their sport.

Check out more video and media here.

World Heli Challenge wraps in Wanaka

24 hours after the World Heli Challenge closure athletes are still celebrating in Wanaka, New Zealand (thanks to Carlton Dry). Why wouldn’t they want to keep ‘sending it’ after such an incredible experience! Here are some inspiring highlights in Tomohiro Fujii’s award winning documentary of the event.

Photo cred: World Heli Challenge

Congratulations to the winners:

The overall winners (best all around skiers and snowboarders) were chosen for their performance over the two days of competition (Extreme Day and Freestyle Day).

Top Three Female Skiers
1. Natalie Segal
2. Jacqui Edgerly
3. Victoria Beattie

Top Three Male Skiers
1. Marcus Eder
2. Sam Smoothy
3. Nick Devore

Top Three Female Snowboarders
1. Abby Lockhart
2. Ratty Sheidow
3. Jett Elkins

Top Three Male Snowboarders
1. Will Jackways
2. Shin Biyajima
3. Antti Autti

Freestyle Day

Snowboard Women
1st place – Abby Lockhart
2nd place – Ratty Sheidow
3rd place – Jett Elkins

Snowboard Men
1st place – Will Jackways
2nd place – Shin Biyajima
3rd place – J.J. Thomas

Ski Women
1st place – Natalie Segal
2nd place – Jacqui Edgerly
3rd place – Victoria Beattie

Ski Men
1st place – Markus Eder
2nd place – Sam Smoothy
3rd place – Nick Devore

Extreme Day

Snowboard Women
1st place – Abby Lockhart
2nd place – Ratty Sheidow
3rd place – Jett Elkins
Snowboard Men
1st place – Will Jackways
2nd place – Shin Biyajima
3rd place – Antti Autti

Ski Women
1st place – Natalie Segal
2nd place – Jacqui Edgerly
3rd place – Victoria Beattie

Ski Men
1st place – Neil Williman
2nd place – Markus Eder
3rd place – Nick Devore

Keep up to date with the Wold Heli Challenge here

Burton High Fives! Distinctly Kiwi flavour.

The Burton High Fives, is an invite-only global snowboarding competition that combines traditional halfpipe and slopestyle events. Taking the place of the former New Zealand Open, the 2012 Burton High Fives is the first event in the Burton Global Event Series.

Snow Girls, freeski and snowboard camps Snow Park, NZ August and Sept

Rip Like a Chick, Cardrona – August and September

Will you be in the area?

Lara Bingle goes snowboarding in New Zealand

The Remarkables Ski and Snowboard Girls only Freestyle Camp

This is strictly girls only, designed for those who are intermediate and above ability level. Some of NZ’s top skiers and riders will be coaching and we have just 60 places per camp.

The day starts with breakfast and a glass of bubbles, you’ll then be divided into groups of similar ability. On top of coaching for the day you’ll also have the opportunity to go tubing, you’ll get a Red Bull BBQ lunch, transport is included to and from The Remarks as well as plenty of prizes and giveaways throughout the day. And then when it’s all over we’ll head to a bar downtown or an after-party where you’ll be able to view loads of pics and video footage!