Playing rugby around the world, I’ve become acquainted with some tough chicks. While bruises, scrapes, and broken bones come with the territory, these women also demonstrate toughness off the pitch. Some are pioneers of a male dominated sport; some are symbols of strength despite facing the loss of loved ones; and some make bold decisions to follow their dreams and chase life’s greatest waves.

I first met Astrid playing rugby for the Philippine National sevens team. We connected instantly, bonding over rugby and surfing. Astrid majored in Advertising and Fine Arts before switching gears and focusing on programming and web design. She became a self-taught graphic designer and spent 5 years working for a publishing house, an author, and a corporate company. She currently works as a Surfing Sport leader for Decathlon, managing their surf department and building surf communities around the country.

Most recently, Astrid self-published her surf memoir, I Call Surf’s Up! Her story is about following your passions and being true to yourself. I read her book in one sitting and when I finally put it down, I felt a rush of inspiration. When we reconnected, I had to ask Astrid if she’d share more about her story.

Here’s what Astrid has to say about self-publishing her incredible surf memoir!

What inspired you to write Surf’s Up?

I have always wanted to publish a book ever since i was a teen, but i never really knew what to write about. Back in high school, I wrote a few short stories about love, inspired by romance novels I read, and it was passed on to my schoolmates to read. I also wrote poems, some of which were published in our school magazine. In college, I wrote/composed songs with my band as well, and eventually people started singing to our songs as we played live or got featured on local radio stations.

Writing is just my way of expressing my thoughts and feelings, so when I was in Siargao, it was just my passion for surfing and my love of the island that really pushed me to write about my experiences. From time to time, I would just jot some thoughts down and by the time i was back in the city, I had to divide them into chapters and suddenly it was a book

whY DID YOU move from Manila to Siargao? What was your biggest takeaway?

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t only that I needed a break from work. I also needed a breather from rugby and my recent breakup. I was very frustrated about not making the rugby national team, and then my boyfriend was relocated for work and didn’t want the long distance. I kept telling myself and my friends that I really wanted and NEEDED to live by the beach. Then out of nowhere, one of my friends called me up telling me there was an open position at a surf resort in Siargao. I immediately resigned from my jobs and applied.

I thought I was moving to Siargao to be reckless and forget about responsibility. In the end, not only did I get a taste of freedom, but I fell in love with surfing, I learned how to value the simple things in life, and I made so many friends who are now a big part of my life. I’d say i found my second home.

What advice would you give to beginner surfers, or those curious but hesitant to try?

Nowadays, you meet people who surf and they take it as a competition. Some people get intimidated or even discouraged because others make them feel like it's a long way to learn. All I can tell you is be safe, relax, and have fun. That's what surfing is really about.


What was the biggest hurdle in writing a book? How did you overcome it?

I guess it was just trying to understand how to self publish a book haha. I had to do a lot of research, ask some help or advice from friends who work in publishing companies. But writing the story just came out naturally. It was just pure honesty.

What ADVICE would you give to ASPIRING WRITERS?

I read this randomly somewhere long time ago… “write what you know”. So from me, write what you believe in. Write what sets you free.

What resources would you SHARE?

Well i did LOTS of researching and fell upon some useful links. This one from Writers Digest helped me compare and understand different ways of publishing. 

I also had to save this really good article from Self-Publishing School as it was my main guide through the process. 

Other than that, I didn't need to get a graphic and layout designer since I had experience working at a publishing company, and learned a lot about the Adobe tools there. I hired my editors from Upwork, which was a long process trying to decide the right ones. Eventually it worked out perfectly! 


What message do you want people to discover in I Call Surf’s Up?

In the book, I talked about my immaturity of wasting away with booze, but also mentioned the risks I took while learning to surf, and moments when I felt really happy riding waves. I want to show people my transition as a person and my learnings from surfing. I want people to understand that no matter what troubles you face, what matters is the success that comes with it.

Did you learn anything unexpected while writing?

I thought writing a book would be stressful because it's long and you have to follow certain standards, unlike my short stories and poems in high school and college. But I always had fun while writing this book. I guess I learned that it’s the confidence in the truth that makes you really want to write.

Will you write another book?

Writing a book was just a part of my bucket list. But after this first one, I realized it's like an addiction. So most probably yes, I would write another book.


I Call Surf’s Up!

now available on Amazon

Paperback copies will soon be available in local surf resorts and restaurants in the Philippines.

Follow Astrid on Instagram for news and updates!