Age / Location / Passion
36 / Encinitas, CA / Surfing
Also stoked about?
Snowboarding, Backpacking, Cooking, Camping, Music, Anything outdoors
Favorite place to get outside?
Encinitas, Oahu, Bali, Sayulita, Byron Bay, Baja, Eastern Sierras (Mammoth/Yosemite), Joshua Tree
Go to Gear?
What’s your story?
I’m was born in Miami, FL where my parents emigrated from Cuba. I grew up in a very cultural environment, most of my older family spoke only Spanish, so I’m bilingual. My parents were really strict about grades and school so I was a bit of an overachiever, probably still am. I studied psychology at the University of Florida, went to law school and got a dual degree: JD with a master’s degree in sports administration. I worked as an attorney in Miami for a couple of years before moving to Southern California with no plan and somehow stepping into my destiny. I started my own law firm, Action Sports Law Group in 2009 and have been living an amazing lifestyle and working with incredibly talented athletes, artists, and business people every since.
What’s something coming up this year that you’re stoked about?
I’ve been really stoked on snowboarding this year. I took trips to Mammoth, Oregon and Whistler and had some of the best snow days of my life. It was beyond anything I could ever imagine. I’m really excited about doing some backcountry trekking and backpacking in the Eastern Sierras this year as well. I am supposed to be hiking the entire John Muir Trail but high snowpack levels and dangerous river crossings may delay our trek until next year.
Who inspires you?
So many things and people inspire me. Those who chase their dreams; who live life and make decisions based on love. People who set difficult goals and achieve them and then come back, celebrate and set new goals. That is how you step into your purpose. I’m super inspired by people who live sustainably and treat others and the planet with love and respect. I’m super inspired by artists and creatives who think outside the box to provide real, sustainable solutions to major problems in the world and by those who help others.
How did Action Sports Law Group begin? Tell us more about it.
This is a funny story. I actually went to a bar in Encinitas to meet some friends, and there were some surfers there from Australia who wanted to move to the US. I had been working with a law firm in Solana Beach that did US visas for professional polo players and equestrian athletes. I left my job and those 3 surfers became my first 3 clients at Action Sports Law Group. They’ve remained my dear friends ever since.
What is Changing Tides Foundation all about?
My friends and I travel a lot. We love the ocean and surfing. I had been taking water filters on surf trips for a few years and felt a calling to do more, so I called the ladies and presented the idea, everyone was on board. We’re creating a platform for travelers to add an element of service + charity while on their own travels. We are doing this by creating programs through established non-profits in different locations globally. They tell us what their needs are and we help them fund and implement programs to alleviate those needs. Thereafter, those organizations welcome our travelers to participate when they are traveling to that community on their own.
We’re also encouraging people to adventure consciously, by providing eco-friendly travel items for sale on our website. This way we can leave the places we travel better than we found them. We recently launched a campaign called the #PlasticSwearJar Challenge to raise awareness to the amount of single-use plastic waste we create in our daily lives and to creates accountability for it.
Why is what you’re doing important?
As a traveler, I feel a responsibility to give back and tell the story of the places I’ve been. I also feel like an advocate for change. I’ve always been someone that has followed the philosophy: if you don’t like something, change it. I’m not good at being a victim, or good at having problems; I’m much better at solving problems and being proactive. So if I can apply that to helping others, I think everyone wins.
When you’re not working on ASLG or CTF, what are you up to?
When I’m not working, which is rare, I’m surfing, hiking or traveling. It’s interesting because most of my hobbies fall within the industry I work in and lots of my clients are friends, so work doesn’t really feel like work when I’m face-to-face with my clients, or when I’m traveling on a CTF project. Work and play go hand-in-hand for me: most of the time work is play, and play is work. I also love cooking. I have an Instagram page just for my food @naturalrawmedies, a guilty pleasure for posting my favorite meals and recipes. It makes me happy.
As a woman in the outdoors sports industry, what’s something that you think is really important?
It’s funny, it’s definitely unsuspecting that a Cuban girl from Miami would be involved in action sports and with athletes the way I have been blessed to. And as a woman now, more than ever, I’m feeling the need to use my position and my voice to be an advocate for change. I’m very confident in who I am and in what I do. I think treating others with respect and compassion is vital to earning respect. I have always been myself and I think people can see that. What you see is what you get. I think there’s a lot to be said for that.
How do you balance work, travel + play? What advice would you give to someone who wants to make this a bigger part of their day to day life?
Balance is everything. It’s my life’s work. Right when I think everything is in sync, another thing falls off balance. Being patient and gentle with myself and understanding that perfection doesn’t exist, has been quite a revelation. I am my best self, do my best work and have my best ideas when my work/play balance in check.
I would advise people figure out how to make it work, because once you have that figured out, you will be in your flow. The tough part is not being hard on ourselves when things do fall out of balance because that doesn’t solve anything, it creates more problems. Work and play go hand in hand and are achieved through balance.
One Instagram account that you’re crazy about?
I’m really loving Kimi Werner @kimi_swimmy ‘s account right now. I’ve become good friends with her assistant Sarah in the last few months and had the opportunity to share a few meals and amazing conversation with Kimi. She just recently starred in a documentary called Fish People. Kimi is a free-diver, spear fisher, a cook, hunts for her own food and can hold her breath for several minutes. She shares her catch with her family and friends. It is incredibly beautiful and inspiring to watch her body move through the water and to watch how she connects. She’s so brave.
I love her Instagram stories because you can watch every moment from when she catches a fish, how she gets it home, how she prepares then cooks it and who she shares it with. She and Sarah have little geckos at their office that have become their friends (like straight out of a movie). Kimi has an amazing connection to nature, to the ocean, animals + others. She is conscious and selective about who she collaborates with based on their values. She isn’t perfect. She’s human, just like the rest of us, and she’s real about that. I love the content she puts out on Instagram. It makes you feel like you know her. She invites you in. And when I had the honor of spending time with her recently, I felt like I had known her a long time. She’s very honest and I really admire that.
Favorite on the road eats + drinks?
I’m a sucker for Kombucha and Coconut Water. I like putting lime in my coconut water and I make my own Kombucha. I honestly prefer to bring food from home than to eat out, unless it’s at a select few spots around town, like Fish 101 Restaurant or Good Onya in Encinitas. I love packing meals and snacks for trips. Some of my favorite snacks are: kale chips, seaweed, almond butter, banana, chia seed pudding, plantain chips and fruits and veggies. For meals, I always try to have greens in every meal, even breakfast. I don’t eat meat, only fish and I do like my protein so I like to pack leftovers in a mason jar. I love making salads in a jar and my own dressings and dips as well.
I recently heard that there is no better way to show yourself love than to cook your own meals. I like that. And when I don’t cook my own, I like to know that the people cooking my food are operating on a good vibration and that the food is sourced organically and sustainably. It makes me grateful for every bite.
Thanks for sharing your story with us. Catch you out in the lineup soon.
Stranded on Land