Thu 13 Jun 2024 Bonanza Collective

Edition 12: The Art of Bonanza


There are two choices you can make when you find treasure. The first being to hide it away in seclusion for only yourself to enjoy—an option that most people claim. The second however, being the decision to take it and share it with other people—so that it can benefit a multitude. For Amanda Djerf and Elin Hagstein, that treasure is a vibrant life of surfing, celebrating, and community in southern France, and they have chosen to share this treasure with the world through Bonanza Collective. Call it magic, call it feminine capability, call it whatever you want, but Amanda and Elin have cultivated a week long experience of adventure, girlhood, and rest that is truly impactful.

Maggie Livingstone by Hayden Moore  

As an excited and slightly nervous attendee of Bonanza Edition 12, I packed my bags from Columbus, OH and headed to Biarritz, France with hopes of getting a tan and not missing my flight. What I encountered through the Bonanza Collective turned out to be far greater than I could have expected. From the moment I arrived at the beachfront villa in a quaint village of the Basque Country, I knew the week would be special. The ladies behind Bonanza Collective crafted such an intentionally lovely experience that I couldn’t help but feel giddy every morning with anticipation of what fun was to be had that day. The villa, less than a minute from the beach, felt like an endless girls' summer camp. Our days were filled with sun and sand, while the nights were for wine, dancing, and laughter. The week bonded our edition 12 group into a close-knit community where everyone felt like a dear friend.

I came to the retreat with absolutely no surfing experience. The thought of standing on a board, balancing on the waves, was both thrilling and terrifying. But thanks to the Bonanza surf instructors and the supportive environment fostered by Amanda and Elin, I left with a newfound love for an amazing sport. Each morning, we hit the waves, guided by experts who taught us everything from surf etiquette to techniques. By the end of the week, I was not only catching waves but also feeling confident enough to continue this adventure on my own.

No retreat would be complete without incredible food, and Frida, our kitchen queen, ensured every meal was a delight. Post-surf brunches were a highlight, with fresh, colorful spreads that refueled our bodies and delighted our tongues. Think cheese, baguettes, pancakes, and a plethora of local fruits and vegetables. Dinners were a mix of dining out at quaint Biarritz restaurants and home-cooked meals in the garden. Each meal was a celebration of French cuisine and camaraderie.

One of the best aspects of the Bonanza Collective retreat was how Amanda and Elin crafted a perfect blend of adventure and rest. Each day was a careful mix of exhilarating activities and peaceful relaxation. The mornings often began with surf sessions that left us both exhilarated and exhausted in the best way possible. Afternoons were spent lounging by the pool, savoring delicious brunches, and exploring the local area. The balance allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the experience.

Amanda and Elin have an extraordinary way of making you feel not just like a visitor, but like a true part of their community. They shared their favorite local spots, introduced us to their friends, and gave us a genuine taste of what it's like to live in the Basque Country. Whether we were enjoying a casual evening at a local bar or hiking the local trails, we experienced the authentic charm and lifestyle of the region. This sense of belonging and deeper connection made the retreat so much more than just a vacation; it felt like we were welcomed into a new home.

Leaving the retreat was bittersweet, but the Bonanza Collective isn’t just a one-time experience; it’s a community to be a part of. One that continues to support and inspire its members long after the retreat has ended. The spirit of Bonanza will continue to influence my day-to-day life. I left with not just new skills and friends, but a refreshed perspective and a heart full of gratitude. From the lighting in the villa to the foggy morning surfs to the belly laughing at one am with my new friends, the treasure of Bonanza was truly transformative.

Words by @mags.livingston, pictures by @haydenkortemoore <3

Related posts


Thu 9 May 2024 Bonanza Collective

Bonanza Love Stories: Shona & Roser