Happy Faces in Happy Places

Chicks on Waves in the Spotlight: Ann Van De Ven

Chicks On Waves

Guest Experience



We can tell you all-day-long how amazing our surf and yoga retreats really are, but who are we to tell you? Why not let our guests speak about their experience?

We decided it was time to put some of our chicks in the spotlight. Find out what brought them to Chicks on Waves, how they got into surfing and how it changed their life.


Anne Man

Name: Ann Van de Ven 
Age: 41 years young 😉
From:  Antwerp, Belgium
Started surfing: 8 years ago


How did you first hear about Chicks on Waves and when was your first stay with us?

My best friend already knew Chicks On Waves founder Katrien from school. She told me about Chicks on Waves and asked me to join her on a trip. I immediately agreed and we scheduled a week at Katrien’s first house in the Algarve. This was back in June 2013.


Was that your very first experience with surfing or had you surfed before?

It was my first experience. I had never worn a wetsuit, nor held a board. It was all totally new.  Also the yoga was a completely new experience.


How did you experience learning to surf? 

Although I didn’t manage to catch 1 wave, I LOVED it. The water, the vibe, the people.. It was frustrating because that first week I hardly managed to get up, but I was bitten by the surf bug.

Surf Warm Up

Fun at Chicks on Waves


What did you love most about that first trip with Chicks on Waves? 

The week with the girls in the villa. The atmosphere, a whole new world opened up. Everything was new and I realised I had missed this all my life already. I wanted to go further with this and a few months later I went back on my own and again the year after. I went to Chicks on Waves 3 times. We organised reunions with the girls I met there and later on even in other parts of Portugal. The retreats created friendships for life.


Has surfing taken you to new places you might not have gone otherwise? 

Definitely! I learned to love the Belgian coast, the Dutch coast and meanwhile made surf trips to Spain, UK, Morocco and Jamaica. Surf trips are on the agenda every year, whether on my own or with a friend. My latest trip was to Morocco, but unfortunately when I came back we went into lockdown. I’ve only surfed the North Sea since.

Entering the water

How has it impacted your life in general?

The way of living.  My respect for nature and the way the sea makes me feel.  I went through a break-up with the father of my little girl and although we separated as friends, it was very hard to process the fact that I did not manage to give my girl a ‘family’ with mommy and daddy together.  That winter I spent most of the time in the sea and those sessions are in my heart.  They helped me to regain my inner peace, confidence and I re-discovered that what I love is the small things and nature. 


Would you be where you are now if you hadn’t learnt to surf?

I don’t really know of course, but I am so happy that I went on that trip 8 years ago. It taught me a lot and brought me where I need to be.  Close to myself and close to like-minded people.

Happy Faces in Happy Places

What would you want to tell anyone thinking of making a booking with us?

Don’t hesitate! Is it your first time? Are you experienced? Only a bit? Either way, you will LOVE Chicks on Waves and the retreats they organize. The warm welcome, the sharing of experiences, the surf trips, yoga… Not to forget the great and healthy food. 
If you go once, you will definitely go again. Chicks on Waves rock!!