Meet the team: Mercedes de Cea
Mercedes is one of our international team members. She's originally from Barcelona and spends part of her life in our Asian headquarters, Indonesia, and the other half in her hometown, Barcelona. Apart from being a surf coach, Mercedes is our marketing coordinator. We're so stoked to see our team work across different jobs and be able to develop their knowledge and passion in other fields aside from coaching.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Barcelona, Spain. But I am incredibly lucky for having 3 places that I call home: Barcelona, Byron Bay and Lombok, Indonesia.
What’s your role at Surf Getaways?
In the early days of Surf Getaways, I started working as a surf coach, while I was living in Australia. Then I moved to Indonesia and worked in the tourism industry for a few years. During the pandemic I came back to Spain, lived in Portugal and had some adventures. Since a year or so ago, “thanks” to Covid, I am back on the team, this time working in the Marketing department, and enjoying it so much.
I have a background in Marketing and business management, so to be able to learn and develop a different part of me whilst staying with Surf Getaways is amazing. There are a few of us in the team that have different roles within the company (coaching, admin, customer relations). I think it’s great to experience different parts of the company and see how every part of the team comes together to make things work.
What do you do when you are not working?
When I’m not working, you’ll probably find me on the beach and surfing. Half of the year I am in Indonesia where that is easier, and the other half of the year I spend it in Barcelona. There, surfing is quite scarce, so I get more into yoga, cooking and spending time on the beach and in nature.
How long have you been surfing?
I started surfing on and off 10 years ago. But probably the last 7 years have been more consistent.
Why did you take up surfing?
My friends at Uni introduced me to surfing. We used to take trips at the weekends and drive 6+ hours to surf for a day and a half in the north of Spain. Then, when we were lucky enough to get some swells in the Mediterranean sea, we would skip class and spend hours surfing tiny crappy waves. Still, plenty of fun!
If you could give your younger beginner surfer some advice, what would you tell her?
Start as a beginner, take the necessary steps and don’t rush. Spend time working on the right technique and make sure you have a strong foundation. I went too fast too quick, and that has definitely made my surfing journey much harder than it could've been if I had followed the right steps.
How and why did you become a surf coach?
Serena, the co-founder of Surf Getaways, made my dream come true. I moved to Australia when I was 23 with the dream of working in the surf industry – any job would have been amazing, but being a surf instructor was probably the top job I could have asked for. I didn’t have accreditations or any related studies, so it seemed pretty much impossible to achieve. I guess sometimes you just have to cross paths with the right people.
Apart from the joy of surfing the waves, what else has surfing given you?
Surfing changed my life completely the day I discovered it. I was planning a very different life, studying Uni to move to China and work in big companies. I’ve always loved the ocean and lived near it, but after I started surfing I knew I’d spend the rest of my life living by the ocean and trying to have a life where surfing could be part of it.
What is your favourite surf break and why?
Bongkas Reef in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia is definitely on my Top 3. I guess I have a special relationship with that wave, and especially with the local surfers, that are like family to me. And it's a beautiful right-hand reef wave, with no crowds and the most beautiful surroundings!
What would you say to a woman of any age considering trying surfing for the first time?
Surfing is for everyone. There are no real barriers to surfing, but only the ones we have in our heads. And with as many things in life, what really matters is not the outcome but the journey, you have to enjoy every part of it.
You might find Mercedes on any of your future Surf Getaways trips around the world, or have the chance to meet her virtually through our social media channels. Either way, she'll have some fun stories to tell!