fbpx

Blog

NomadX Live interview with Margherita Iganska from Girl On The Wave

✨ Margherita is a Polish digital surfing nomad, and she has been living in Ericeira, Portugal, for the past 2 years. She opened two surf camps, one in Portugal and one in Costa Rica in 2018 and 2019, and ran about 20 camps since then. You can find more about her on her FB Girl on the Wave and IG @girlonthewave.

⬇️ What is surfing for Margherita?⬇️

💞 Surfing is about fighting fears and seeing opportunities instead of obstacles in every wave coming. It’s about shaping body and character. Learning how to respect nature, how to be focused, and how to let go. Not everyone will become a professional surfer, but everyone will find it exceptional to connect with waves and make it a unique experience for life.💞

🔥 Watch our next interviews! Join our community Facebook.com/groups/nomadx

Interview Transcription

Dave:

Hello, NOMADX community, we are going live today with Margherita Iganska. Margherita is a Polish surfer into board sports, she started off as a snowboarder, got into surfing and she came here to Ericeira, Portugal, which is one of our top surf locations and she basically never left a couple of years ago and started Girl on the Wave. So, she’s got a really inspiring story. She’ll be joining us here hopefully in a couple minutes. We had a little technical issue so hopefully everything will run smoothly. But yeah, I’m really excited to have her. We’ve been supporting her surfing events this winter and she had a bunch of events this last summer. And then the previous year, she did quite a few as well. So, she’s got a really nice following, great surf location, she’s partnering with a top co-live, co-work space in Ericeira called Surf Sunago. We’re going to talk about that a bit, give you guys some insights into her surf school. Co-work, co-live, surf, whatever you want, she’s got it. Yoga, surf, really nice food. But anyway, waiting for Margherita to join us here. Yeah. So, this week has been awesome. It looks like Margherita’s here. Now all you have to do… Okay. Awesome. We are going to go live in a second. It’s working so perfectly. All right. Hey Margherita, how are you?

Margherita:

I’m okay.

Dave:

How are you today? What’s up?

Margherita:

Oh my God. Thank you. Yes, I’m fine, thank you very much.

Dave:

We’re super excited to have you here today.

Margherita:

Yeah, wait. I don’t want to lose the connection with you right now. Good. Okay.

Dave:

All right. I think I can see your surfboard back there. Is that yours?

Margherita:

Oh yeah, it’s my surfboard. He’s resting a little bit right now because we have a little bit of stormy weather so surfing is not so much recommended but it will have it’s time soon.

Dave:

All right. Yeah. I’m down in Arrifana in the South and I went for a walk on the beach today. There were some surfers out there but there are pretty big waves tomorrow and Friday, it’s looking really good. I don’t know for you guys but yeah, it’s looking great. So, for the community, just so we can get started here, we’re super excited, we have Margherita Iganska, she’s the founder of Girl on the Wave. Girl on the Wave is a surf camp based in Ericeira, Portugal, which she founded a couple years ago and she’s been surfing around the world. She spent time in Central and South America, she’s obviously here in Ericeira, which she fell in love with and moved here from Poland, really pursuing her dreams. We partnered with her this winter in our camps and we plan to partner with her going forward. We wanted to share her story with you because we feel like it’s super inspiring. So, without any further ado, we’re super happy to have you, Margherita. Welcome to the show and we’d love to hear a bit about your background. I think it’s super interesting in terms of your inspiration and what inspired you to get started with this business, maybe you can give us the story.

Margherita:

Well, inspiration you can look for everywhere, as always in life. For me, the most inspiring thing was to see other people having a regular job, working all over the world with their laptops. Even before I became a surfer, I was already a traveler, I was traveling a lot. And those people with their laptops over the terraces with amazing views over exciting places, they were super inspiring me and I was thinking like, “Hmm, what the hell do they do? How do they manage their life that they can actually work from every place in the world that they want?” While I was still on my paid for 24-day holiday by year. And then, more and more I was meeting them and talking to them to think about what they do, how they did it, and what it meant to do remote work and to be a digital nomad because I had no idea at that time. Then I discovered that this is probably the way how I want to live. I want to work and live. And then, there was a passion for surfing, which came five years ago. I discovered surfing and I got totally mad about that, I got totally in love. And then, I just knew that I needed to find a way to move to the place where I can live by the ocean and to probably create a workspace for myself and start this crazy digital nomad life, which is actually happening for the last three years it is on.

Dave:

Super cool. So, how did you decide to come to Portugal because you’re from Poland, right? You’re really into board sports. I’m a snowboarder, as well, and I saw you were really into snowboarding before surfing, which has been my trajectory as well. So, maybe you can tell us a bit about your love affair with surfing and snowboarding?

Margherita:

Well, in Poland we are snowboarders, a major part of people they, at least all they ski or they do snowboarding because we have a lot of mountains, we have a lot of snow in the winter. So yes, I was a snowboarder and I really enjoy that, I love it and I still love it. I don’t do that because not right now because I switched my board, my snowboard into my surfboard, even in the winter time. But yes, I used to do it a lot. And then, I was also a longboarder, I used to longboard a little bit of downhill, mostly push racing and this kind of activities in the city where I lived. So, I was close to board sports in general and I loved water always from the little kid that I loved water, I was swimming in high school. So for me, this magical mix between board and the water at the same time. It was something totally crazy. I just jumped into it and it happened.

Dave:

That’s awesome. My wife and I, we are here down in Arrifana, we’re learning how to surf and it’s taken me a lot longer than I thought. It’s a very difficult sport to learn because it takes a little while at first and you’ve got to really dedicate yourself to it. So basically, the pandemic has allowed me to learn how to surf essentially.

Margherita:

I think it’s not one of the most difficult sports I have ever contacted in my whole life and I did a lot… I was a horseback riding, I used to play the men in group games like volley, basket, things like… Actually this sport was really super difficult at the beginning because everything is new. Ocean is full of surprises. Nothing is repeatable, which is probably the most difficult thing in this sport because you have everyday other conditions. And this is what makes surfing super, super difficult. Only experience and repetitive surfing, repetitive surfing, repetitive surfing can bring you to the point at which you enter the fun zone of surfing. You don’t struggle anymore with waves, with the power of nature, you know how to control it and you know how to find the pleasure inside, but it really requires time.

Dave:

Yes, it’s an amazing sport. It really is. Once you get the feel for it, it’s like you’re almost learning every single day. My wife and I, we are here in our house… Surf every day, that’s what our friends told us. If you want to become a good surfer, you almost need to surf every day or try to surf at least 100 times a year is what someone else told me.

Margherita:

Yeah, definitely. I remember you asked me about my inspiration. One girl that I met actually in Sri Lanka was running the surf school there. She came from Sweden. She inspired me a lot to do the surf business that I do right now. And I remember when she told me, “Margherita, if you want to become a surfer, you have to live in the ocean.” And this is something that once I heard it in my head, then I just knew that I had to do. There is no way you can become a surfer without having contact with the ocean every day, every day.

Dave:

I totally agree with you. That’s been the situation for me because going once a year is a good way to get started, but getting out there just day, after day, after day is awesome. Just as a reset for everyone.

Margherita:

Surf tourism is also interesting. It’s an interesting thing. Not everybody will become a professional surfer. Neither me, I will never be a professional surfer because it’s too late for me. I started, I was about 30, but everyone can find that pleasure in surfing, even the beginners. So even someone who is coming on before two weeks per year, someone who wants to get better, at least enter that fun zone and start to really enjoy has to spend a little bit more time than normally.

Dave:

We’ve got a few people on here. We have Kimberly Koehler. She’s been on the show before she’s from Nomad Soulmates. She’s live. She’s giving us a lot of love on the screen. You can’t see it on your side, but everyone likes you. Ashley Douglas is watching as well. She’s been on for a little bit. Kimberly is… She said she did some surfing, but he’s never been more sore in her life. She said it was super difficult.

Margherita:

Okay. Yes, but don’t worry. There is hope. There is hope for everyone.

Dave:

Let’s see here. I was looking through your website and looking through a bunch of the information that you got online. I thought it was super interesting. It looks like you like to give back to the community, you’re involved locally. I was noticing a couple of things like cleaning up the beach and giving 1% of your revenue back to the MARE Foundation, which protects the Baltic Sea. Maybe tell us a bit about these programs. I think the community would be interested.

Margherita:

There are many ecological issues all over the world. I’m Polish, I was born in Poland. So for me, this ecological problem, which regards the Baltic Sea and the danger, actually, of the Baltic Sea for this happening there in the deep water, really concerns me. The problem comes from the Second World War and from the sink tanks and from the boats that are just sunken there and they are full of oil. And the problem is that with time they get rusted, rusted, rusted, more rusted, and one day they will just open up and all these oil will probably end up in the water and contaminating everything, like sea life, and it’s a huge disaster if this thing happens. And the actual problem is that unless nobody see it because it’s very deep under the water, many people pretend that the problem doesn’t exist and it costs a lot of money. The situation is clear and to clear it up and to save it. But so nobody wants to spend the money. And that’s the first problem. Then another problem is that between countries they are pushing responsibilities. They are pushing responsibility from one country to another, who is in charge to make up that mess because some boats are Polish or German or it was in the time of the War, it was super uncontrollable. So actually this MARE Foundation, apart from making a lot of different things from Baltic Sea, is trying to convince the Polish government and also all the lobbies to just focus on the problem and find some solution. I’m also observing how actually the North is working with that, like Sweden, and if you know where… Because they are already doing something in that direction to protect the sea.

Dave:

Really, really good that you’re… We really like that. Here at NomadX we want to support companies and programs that are giving back to the community. There’s a great group called Nomads Giving Back that we’re also affiliating ourselves with. We’ve got this huge initiative going on in Madeira Island. I know there’s a bunch of good surfing over there as well, but Ericeira, I was looking here and didn’t know this before, but you mentioned that Ericeira is Europe’s World Surfing Reserve. And I found that really interesting because I didn’t know that before. What does that mean exactly?

Margherita:

It means that it’s on the very short list of the spots all over the world which have special surfing conditions. It means that the surfing is consistent, that it is available all year long and that there is special access for different types of waves, which actually [inaudible 00:13:52] area happens because we have different beaches with different breaks. There is also a lot of natural space not touched with human’s feet, as we say, there is no infrastructure there, it is forbidden. So there are also different categories that allow you to apply, to enter this program of World Surf Reserve, and be accepted as a part of it and the field, which is super particular and really unique is that Ericeira actually is the only town in the whole Europe who is a part of that.

Dave:

Oh, I didn’t know that. So I think the one thing I like about Ericeira. 

Margherita:

I think there are like two spots in Australia, one spot in Mexico, there is a spot in probably Peru, and California, I think. I don’t remember all of them, but there are like 11 or 12 places and the Ericeira is actually one of them. So I’m very proud of it and I always tell everyone who’s coming here.

Dave:

I was just telling my wife about your surf camp. So we definitely want to get up there and spend some time with you all because we love Ericeira and I haven’t done any surfing there yet. So it’s on my list. For all of you all that are just joining us, because we’ve had some people join us here, we are with Margherita Iganska. She’s from the surf retreat called Girl on the Wave and she’s got a great Instagram group. What is your Instagram, Margherita, for everyone?

Margherita:

Girl on the Wave.

Dave:

So simple. Girl on the Wave. Check it out. She’s got like over 20,000 people. It was her inspiration for the project. I was looking here on your website, it looks like you have like one week programs, two week programs and then even month long programs which I think sounded awesome. I’ve actually noticed that here in Arrifana people are coming in, instead of just going to the camps for a week, they’re coming in for a month or maybe even two months, because instead of staying at just an accommodation combination with certain cohorts.

Margherita:

Yeah. Of course it depends on the purpose of every traveler, every person who is coming here. Some people come only for a surf camp as a holiday activity and they come here mostly for one week. Sometimes they come for two weeks, but they mostly, they come for one week stay and they treat it as a holiday. So this surf camp program I launch here in Ericeira between June and October, mainly. Sometimes I do something already in May or April. I think that this year I will start with April because now we are actually a little bit limited. We have an official lock down in Portugal, so it’s not a space for organizing the standard events. But from April until I think October one week surf camps will be back on. Then it’s like a regular holiday stay. We have a rented house. In the house we [inaudible 00:17:02]. they have workshops, they have surf lessons, which are guided by a surf school, which I’m working here with and yoga lessons and a lot of exploring around and stuff. So it’s a very lovely program for them. And over 200 people already joined it and I think they really enjoyed it and so they are coming back. Some of them are moving to Ericeira after. It’s inspiring. Yeah.

Dave:

Yeah. It’s super inspiring. I think on your website, you have something about, “What’s it all about?” And you said, you’re “basically living the surf dream.” You love surf travel and you’re encouraging people to cross their limits. A lot of inspiration. One of our group members was like, “Wow, this Margherita is super inspiring.”

Margherita:

Well, I think it’s a nice way to live, to live according to your biggest dream, and to find a way to do  that. Now it’s really difficult because we have travel restrictions and this year, last year was super extreme and super challenging, but still this dream can be on and I am fighting actually every day to make it happen and to move it on. So I always said that the sky’s the limit and only the problems are only in your head and you have to find the solutions for everything. And actually I believe in it. Of course, doing something that you love and then making some money on top of it it’s a really nice feeling. I encourage everyone to do it, to struggle a little bit, but to be rewarded.

Dave:

I love entrepreneurship. So I think for all those people out there.

 Margherita: 

Yeah. It’s like when you start to see it further, then you really realize what does it mean? Because at the beginning it’s like a happy entrepreneur’s life and then you actually confront a lot of issues and then you start to handle those issues and then your journey becomes stronger, stronger, and more effective and more focused on the things that you want to achieve.

Dave:

It’s like surfing.

Margherita:

I find a lot of things we try in common. Totally.

Dave:

Awesome. Yeah. I love it. I think you have a great program. We’ve got the surfing, the yoga, the workshops. I hear you even go up to Nazare once in a while to check out the big waves up there. That’s not so far away from you all, maybe an hour, hour and a half away?

Margherita:

Of course. Yeah. Those Nazare trips, I recommend them especially for the winter visitors because Nazare produces this kind of wave. The surfing window is I think between November and March. So you can predict that this big wave is going to happen there between November and March each year. So then really you can go there and see those monsters and people surfing, it’s like blasting. I think there is nothing that you can compare to that, impossible.

Dave:

I did a trip up there during Web Summit a couple of years ago and we went up with a Mercedes because they got a partnership with McNamara. And we had breakfast with McNamara, and then they took us out on the waves. It was like a 60 foot wave. And they took us out on a jet ski. So I was on the back of the jet ski with Hugo Vau. And he’s like one of the big wave surfers here in Portugal. It’s amazing up there. I really love checking out Nazare as well. So I saw that, that’s cool that you will go up there.

Margherita:

I had the pleasure to meet that team, Hugo and also Andrew Cotton. I don’t know if you knew him, but he’s also a big wave surfer. Very popular. Of course, there is McNamara who is like a father over everything there. They have this partnership with Mercedes, actually. They are super inspiring, I’m following them and I’m really impressed by the things that they do. Nazare, I think for everyone who comes to Portugal, is a must-see. Totally a must see. There is no way you don’t go there and you don’t see that thing, it’s exceptional.

Dave:

It’s kind of like the Everest of Portugal or the Everest of Europe. But instead of being a mountain, it’s just a monstrous wave and I look at the surfers kind of like gladiators. I got my friend Alupi just joined us for the first time. She’s based out of Atlanta, Alupi. You got to meet Margherita because she has this amazing surf business in Ericeira called Girl on the Wave and puts on these amazing trips. It’s one of the top spots in all of Portugal. So we do have a couple people that have joined us here. We’re just here live with Margherita Iganska. She’s telling us all about her surfing camp. She’s telling us about her journey from Poland to Portugal and starting her surf business. And she’s really got a hot product here. She’s served over 200 customers over the last couple of years, even during the pandemic. So I’m super impressed with that.

Margherita:

In the last two years.

Dave:

Wow. That’s a lot. I couldn’t believe that, that’s about twice what I expected.

Margherita:

It’s a nice number.

Dave:

Wow. So I was also noticing you guys are at a co-living, co-working space called Surf Sunago, that’s right? You’ve got a partnership with them?

Margherita:

Of course, they are my… Actually Sunago House, it’s not the Surf Sunago House. They are my partners and we made this Winter Escape Project this year because we wanted to invite people for a long-term stay. People who are digital nomads, because Sunago House is a place 100% for digital nomads and mostly for surfing digital nomads. So I think that this combination of Sunago House and Girl on the Wave in the winter time, that was the year for that project which worked really well. We managed that cooperation for the whole month confronting a lot of issues, actually, because Portugal went under the lockdown. This is what happened, but all the projects now are saved and it’s postponed into April and May so we are going to manage that after, with all customers who didn’t come because of the problem with lockdown and we’re going to manage that later.

Dave:

All right. Yeah. I saw that. It’s difficult. I think everyone’s dealing with the same things. I know some of the other people running retreats are… Everyone’s dealing with it, the hotels, the accommodations. Everyone’s ready to travel. I think yet everyone’s kind of got this idea of what people want to go back to nature. They want to get away from the cities they want to be… I think surfing’s an amazing option for people to connect yoga with surfing, hang out. I was asking my wife, I was like, “Do you want to go to a surf camp with a bunch of women?” And she thought it was a great idea because he said, “If you’re there with a bunch of guys, the guys were all trying to hit on you all the time.” Sometimes it’s nice just to be at a camp with a bunch of girls because you guys can just relax and do your girl things and you don’t have to deal with the guys.

Margherita:

But I also have men in my surf camps.

Dave:

I was wondering about that because I definitely want to come check it out. I was thinking, well, I don’t want to disrupt the whole…

Margherita:

Both you and your wife you’re more than welcome to.

Dave:

All right. Yeah. We’re definitely going to get up there. We definitely want to see you pretty soon. And then once this pandemic lifts, I wanted to introduce you to our community. This was a great little introduction. I really appreciate you meeting up with us, Margherita. I wanted to see if there’s anything you wanted to say before we leave. If there’s any special offer or any special website you want people to go to.

Margherita:

I’m inviting everyone to check my Instagram, Girl on the Wave and the Facebook page also because I run a pretty nice, fun page here on Facebook. People can join, you can take part of this community and actually find a lot of maybe interesting information for you. You can always contact me on Instagram or Facebook. I am super contact. I respond to every message of everything that is coming to my group by my mailbox. And then if you have any question about how it works here and what are the plans for 2021, I can also always let you know. And then I think it’s not the time now for entering the new offer. Now it’s time to, to resist this lock down, close it in Portugal. Probably we will close it at the end of March. And we are really hoping for that and preparing for the summer season. I think, and I’m predicting, that the offer for the summer camps will be on in April. Yes, it will be on in April, maybe in the middle of March, if things will be getting better. And I will realize that in fact from April we are open.

Dave:

All right, that sounds awesome, Margherita. I really appreciate meeting up with you today and really think what you’re doing is awesome. I’m trying to bring on some interesting guests and I’m trying to bring women on the show, too, because I think there’s so many interesting women entrepreneurs and definitely you’ve got an amazing business. I really encourage our whole community to check out Girl on the Wave. If you’re looking for a surf cap, I would say this is the place to go. Ericeira is really the hotspot, it’s amazing too and it’s so close to Lisbon. It’s a really beautiful little Portuguese town and… Amazing food and seafood and everything. It’s just great. And we’re looking forward to maybe meeting in person someday very soon. And I’ll try and hang with you out there on the waves if I can. I’m going to head out tomorrow. I’ll be thinking about you guys.

Margherita:

Thank you for that. I hope we’ll be in touch for the next weeks and months and it’s not going to be our last talk. I enjoy it really, really a lot and thank you so much.

Dave:

All right. Awesome, Margherita. Take care and look forward to seeing you soon. Thanks so much from the community.

Margherita:

For all the digital nomads, it was a pleasure to be a part of this interview and to present myself. Thank you very much.

Dave:

Well, thank you. Take care, Margherita. Have a great day.

ABOUT NOMADX

NomadX is a European accommodation marketplace for remote work travelers and digital nomads with over 11k listings across 18 countries with stays for 2 weeks to 12 months and average stays of 3 months. The business was started to meet the needs of the rapidly growing global community of location-independent remote workers, or “Digital Nomads”.
As Digital Nomads ourselves, we know what the market is looking for: trusted, affordable accommodations in highly-attractive locations worldwide at 50% less than AirBNB. We also run the popular NomadX Private Travel Community  where we share hacks, tips & special offers to our community members which can be found @ https://m.facebook.com/groups/nomadx/

FIND A PLACE TO STAY AT NOMADX.com

Please join our community of Digital Nomads and remote workers from around the world:

Instagram: nomadx.experience

Facebook: NOMADX

Facebook Group: Travel Community for Remote Workers

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.