Being a good leader is about bringing out the best in others. Aura Boulton LeaderSurf's surf instructor for our executive leadership development program is a great teacher, an inspiration to others and an all around great person with contagious positive energy. Business leaders attend LeaderSurf to enhance their leadership skills and we are fortunate to have Aura on the team. She is a leader and a surfer. Two titles that challenge business leaders to change their stereotype of a surfer. We sat down with Aura to learn more about her and what drives her passions for surfing, for green living and for helping others.
LeaderSurf: Who are you, where are you from and how did you choose to live in Nicaragua?
Aura: I am Aura from Venezuela.
I chose to live in Nicaragua as I came here for a surf job with friends from Hawaii, and fell in love with the land, waves, culture, and amiability of the nicaraguan people.
I had already met "Nicas” when i atended agriculture school in Costa Rica years before. I knew they were humble, fun, hard working and tender people. Then i came to their country years later and saw that their country was just as nice as they were, and felt at home.
I had saved some money for land somewhere in the world, knowing my country of birth Venezuela, was not an option for living and working in peace much longer because of the decaying political and social situation.
In 2012 I visited Nicaragua to surf. While visiting I walked up the river from the beach looking for something. I had always envisioned a little river flowing through my land, and on that random walk I found the lot that called me.
It had big trees and animals, and the potential for a natural reserve and environmental education spot. I took it on to find the owner of this land, found him, put a bottle of rum on his table, and told him i wanted to buy his land.
Nica men aren’t used to doing business like that with women, but after a few drinks of that yummy Venezuelan rum, he finally softened and we agreed on a fair price. And so began my life round these parts.
LeaderSurf: How did you become a surf instructor?
Aura: I became a surf instructor in Venezuela while running a non profit that involved environmental and sports education in poor coastal communities there. Teaching poor people how to surf, especially kids, and to connect them with themselves and their natural environment was very rewarding. Then I continued to learn more formal surf instruction in Hawaii with some pro surfers on the north shore and in Puerto Rico as a certified lifeguard.
LeaderSurf: What do you see as the most important life lessons that one can learn through surfing?
Aura: To me, the biggest life lesson you can learn through learning to surf is to know what you want to achieve in the moment, be present, relaxed, and go with the flow to achieve it.
LeaderSurf: What is the biggest challenge most people have when learning to surf?
Aura: The biggest challenges people have when learning to surf are usually fear or stubbornness, Or both . :)
LeaderSurf: How does that challenge relate to similar challenges in life?
Aura: The challenges of learning to surf relate to life in the sense that if you are trying something new and are being guided through it, if you are too fearful or too stubborn you don’t give yourself the chance to be guided into the possibility of achieving a goal. Then you miss out on the opportunity for further exploration of the journey yourself. It is important to be present and open at the beginning of surfing so that you can learn the basics well and then the rest will come easier.
LeaderSurf: Why is teaching successful people how to surf more difficult than teaching kids?
Aura: Teaching successful people how to surf can sometimes be more challenging than teaching kids how to surf, because successful people have a predisposition for success and how to achieve it. The thing is, that in the ocean and in learning to surf, things don’t always go easy. You must be like a kid, open, malleable and willing to have fun without the expectation of success. The success comes with the openness to having fun and learning the basics. Kids can be better at this than Adults!
LeaderSurf: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Aura: My job is rewarding because we teach people how to have fun in the ocean no matter what the outcome is. We have a goal, sure, we want you to ride waves successfully, but having fun in the process is the most important thing. The ocean is healing and it is rewarding to have people feel this when they are in it. But to be honest also getting people out of their head and past their predisposition and riding waves successfully is also SUPER rewarding. ;)
LeaderSurf: Do you believe that learning to surf can make someone a better leader and if so why?
Aura: Learning to surf can make you a better leader because the ocean humbles you. Sometimes its easy, sometimes its hard. To me there are no better leaders than the ones that are strong but also humble. You need to be both to surf well. It also makes you a better leader because surfing can be very meditative in soft conditions. It eases your mind and connects you with yourself and nature which can then prepare you for the grind or what some call “real life” better.
LeaderSurf: If you weren’t teaching surfing what do you think you would be doing?
Aura: When I'm not teaching surfing i am working on my little Eco farm business and educational rural horse tours I offer. Also i try to have time to FREEEE SURF and ease my mind.
LeaderSurf: What is your Groove? Something you do better, special or different?
Aura: My groove and what i think makes me special is that I try to do things humbly and with a purpose to benefit all more than just myself . In my business i want to educate about environment and comradery. I want to have us all equally win and shine. In life I want us to remember that we are here to help each other and have fun, not compete with each other. That to me is success.
If all the corporations and people would maybe think a little more like this, the world would be a different place.