Leonie is a friend of Sol, so we thought it was about time we introduced her, and let you know a bit about the awesome work she is getting up to.
We've been doing a bit of a collab with Leonie this Summer, and she has some exciting events coming up soon, which you can learn more about on her website.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself? And how you found yourself living in New Zealand?
6 years ago I was living in the Netherlands, working as a flooring designer (9-5 job), spending most (if not all) of my time inside. Although I loved my job, I was disconnected from Nature and only saw my friends once a week (if I was lucky). I used my summer holidays to top up my dose of nature and desire to discover the World. In 2016 I decided to book a ticket to NZ to visit my friend who was living in Raglan.
I instantly fell in love with this little surf town. It represented everything I always longed for: Community and living in harmony with Nature. Everything inside me wanted to live here. So I quit my job, sold everything I had and moved to New Zealand. Now, 5.5 years later, I am a New Zealand Resident, I am surrounded by an incredible Community of Women and I spend most of my time in the ocean (with either my surfboard or with my camera).
2. SURFGIRLNZ - Your baby!! What is surfgirlnz all about?
Surfgirlnz was founded when I bought my first digital water housing in the beginning of 2022. I started capturing women in the surf in Whaingaroa (Raglan), a small beach town on the west coast of Aotearoa New Zealand, and shared these pictures on social media.
The response was overwhelming. I quickly realised how under-represented women in the water are (still). I received so many messages from women all over the World saying that they were looking for something I found in Whaingaroa: a surf girl community of like-minded Women. I knew I had to create a platform to bring more Women together. That's how Surfgirlnz was born.
3. How do you spend your day? Or what does an ordinary day look like for you?
I usually start my day in the water with the girls, either taking photos or surfing.
Dawn is our favourite time to go out. If there's no surf I usually go out for a long walk on the beach. When I come home I make my breakfast and start my computer to post on socials and reply to emails/messages. In the afternoon I take time to edit photos, create new reels or go out and shoot for brands.
I try to finish my day meeting up with friends and winding down with either yoga, float therapy or a beach walk.
4. What’s next for Surfgirlnz ? Do you have some cool events in the pipeline?
I want to keep doing the monthly women's group surf events and start organising some retreats (both in NZ and overseas). I'm also working on some online courses that will launch soon too. I will be launching 2 online courses soon: one for women that want to surf with community, confidence & joy and one for women that want to learn about surf photography and how to monetise this.
Maybe another one on how to organically grow on social media, since I'm getting a lot of questions about this (I was able to organically grow my following from 1k to 45k in one year with some instagram strategies that worked really well for me).
5. What’s one piece of advice you would give someone who wants to follow their passion and start their own small business?
Everything is possible.
There's so much free information online (youtube). Find somebody who has already done what you want to do and learn how they've done it. You don't have to come up with it all by yourself. And at the same time do the inner work.
Following your passion and starting your own small business can be scary and bring up a lot of fears. Be very gentle with yourself and feel the feelings and guide yourself lovingly through them. Find (spiritual) teachers that talk about these things and follow their courses or find free stuff on youtube so that you feel supported on this journey.
Honestly, if you want to take up surfing or already surf and want to be part of an amazing community of rad ladies doing what they love than look no further Leonie has created this for us all! empowering women in the surf!
If you would love to connect with Leonie find her on her website - www.surfgirlnz.com or Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/surfgirlnz
But you will find her most often on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/surfgirlnz/