The Mermaids of Santosha Society: Ladies on the Worldwide Surf

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Out in the sea, Vera and Chrystal are are the coolest and most beautiful figures one can catch a glimpse of as they go and travel with the Santosha Society to be with ladies also wanting to have their surfing fix. Both commanding stellar careers in the field, they are both renowned in the world of surfing as living mermaids. If you ever thought mermaids didn’t exist, well they do now…

Vera Nording

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There’s something about Vera Nording… Swedish surfer/musician/mermaid. She rides for Monster Surfboards, models for Billabong Sweden, and most recently worked with Rip Curl School of Surf in Bali. She is stunningly beautiful, but so much more than just a beautiful face.  She is a ripping surfer, motivated traveller, animal activist and experienced surf coach. She is optimistic, inspiring, funny and full of charisma.

I met Vera in Sri Lanka a year ago, where we tied our longboards on top of a tuk-tuk and went exploring. What we found was a country full of empty waves and a friendship that will last a lifetime. We said goodbye in Sri Lanka, only to say hello a few weeks later in Bali. In Bali, I spent countless hours in the water with this graceful nose-riding mermaid. She was my longboarding mentor, guiding me in the challenging waves surrounding the tropical island. She has a very sweet and gentle way of teaching that motivates you to paddle back out there and do it again, but this time better.

“She’s a young girl with strength, optimism and a driving passion for surfing”
– Mermaid Society

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Vera is from Sweden, where spine-tingling waters and windy waves led her on a magical journey to become a girl of the sea. When talking to The Mermaid Society about surfing in Sweden, Vera explains “As long as the water doesn’t freeze, we surf. Last year I was out the week before Christmas the air temperature was about 10 degrees Celcius, the sun was shining the water was about zero degrees.” She might be stylish and fashionable, but that by no means makes her too girly to get out there and do super rad things.

She rides for Monster Surfboards, a Spanish board shaping company. With two new boards that are both 9’2 classic singlefin, log-style nose riders.  Watching her surf a longboard is truly mesmerizing.  The girl has style.

She is not only an inspiration in the water, but in her drive to help others as well. She is on the board of UDDA, a youth depression organisation that provides mentoring for young people that have been through or are experiencing difficult times. The organization’s aim is to remove the taboo of depression and mental illness for youth in Sweden. They are a support group for those in need. While living in Bali we talked about her own depression and ways of fighting it. One way for her to combat her own depression is to help others fight it through this organization. She has dreams to start a retreat centre to support people in their fight against this widespread epidemic in the future.

Vera travels over the world surfing. She will be joining Santosha Society, who run boutique surf trips around the world for a couple of upcoming trips. If you get the opportunity to spend time in the water with this lady sliding legend, I suggest you take it. Not only will you surf better, but you will laugh louder and your heart will shine brighter because of it. Get to know more about this living mermaid on her Instagram handle @veranording.

Chrystal Dawn Fitzgerald

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Some people are really inspiring. They motivate you to go out into the world leaving behind all your fears and doubts and actually live your dreams. They make you look at your own life and want to be a better person. I know a person like this. Her name is Chrystal Dawn Fitzgerald.

Chrystal is a soul surfer, inspirational writer, engaging filmmaker, motivated conservationist, talented photographer, adventurous traveller, nature lover and all around amazing human.  She is all these things and more. She dreams and then she does.

“I enjoy the beauty of simplicity and believe in Kismet.”

She has an incredible gift to tell a story. Her stories are often inspired by her adventures. Her adventures are influenced by her love for surf and her love for the ocean has led her to promote conservation. She shares her spectacular photos and engaging stories of travels, surf, and healthy living through inspirational films, writings, a personal blog, and posts on her social media channels.

Her childhood consisted of natural forts, flower leis, free diving and adventuring in Ka’u, the lava desert of Hawaii Island. She relocated to Australia and it’s easy to see why the whole country fell in love with her. She is the ultimate sea gypsy. She credits the sea as being one of her greatest teachers. If that is the case, then she is certainly one of the sea’s most elegant students. It is no wonder why she is one of my favourite surfers. Her graceful style and cheerful smile make a sunny day in Australia even brighter. She is a true ambassador of free surfing culture and constantly shows the world how one lady sliding mermaid can have a massive influence for positive change in the world.

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She is an ambassador for Toms Footwear, Conner Hats and Seea Swimwear. Her writing and photography have been published in Foam Symmetry, Destinations Magazine, Surfing Magazine, and on the websites of Tourism Queensland & Deus Ex Machina. She has selflessly given an impressive amount of time and energy supporting organizations such as Save the Kimberley, Sea Shepherd, Living Ocean, Misfit Aid and Assist a Sista.

Besides her professional accomplishments, Chrystal laughs loud, smiles often and fills the room with a glowing energy. She has made an enormous impact on my life. She is sure to influence yours as well.

For the past eight months Chrystal has been on a journey of self-exploration.  She has studied permaculture in Spain, flew to Sri Lanka to inspire the surfer girls that joined the Santosha Sri Lanka retreat and spent time at lady sliding legend, Ishita Malaviya’s surf camp in Karnataka, India. She really embodies all that I believe in: travel, surf and a healthy yogini lifestyle.

After the surf and yoga retreat in Sri Lanka, she flew to India and completed an intensive yoga teacher training.  Like I said before, she dreams and then she does it.

She chronicles her life through photographs and you can take a look at her ever popular photographic journal through stunning images on her Instagram handle: @thedawnchronicles and read her stories on her website: The Dawn Chronicles.


Words By: Kori Hahn

Photos Supplied By: Vera Nording and Chrystal Dawn Fitzgerald

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