Rute & Joana - Founders of Wake with Girls and Zab Living
Hanging Out With Rute & Joana,
The founders of Wake with Girls and Zab Living.
Despite being from totally different backgrounds the lake and the passion for wakeboard brought Rute and Joana together. From this bond two projects were created to offer unique experiences by the lake of the Zaboeira village, deep in the heart of Portugal. In 2021 they both quit their jobs to fully dedicate themselves to these two projects and now they get to live out their dream of being fully enveloped by nature and sports while simultaneously giving life to this village, contributing to the region's sustainable development, and creating a strong community of women and girls in wakeboard.
Get to know them.
Can you tell us your story so far?
My name is Luísa, I was born and raised in Lisbon, and I love this city. I took a Design degree and I am extremely passionate about color and graphics. Music has always been a big part of my life, it helps me to focus on work and to never stand still. Ever since I was little I have experienced a lot of different genres of music. My mother was always listening to Fado at home, so it’s a genre that I keep very present.
Four years ago I received my first vinyl record, an album and ever since then I haven’t stopped buying music. After that I took some beginner lessons in Djing with a good friend of mine and have become more and more interested in this craft. New opportunities to play started coming up so I began to focus more on Djing, playing mostly in events and clubs. Nowadays I have a monthly program at an online radio - Collect Radio - where I play lounge and dance music.
I fell in love with Surfing couple of years before and had the idea of designing my own home in shipping containers, send them to Portugal and start my new life together with my girlfriend and daughter close to the sea.
Why Pt? Because I was travelling Portugal in my Van for more than 12 years and every time I was spending a couple of weeks at the coastline, first Zambujeira do mar, later I went South where I started to surf. The amazing nature, the Portuguese lifestyle and surfing, it was a dream for me to come there. So at the end I got things done and moved close to Budens / Vila do Bispo, where I enjoy my time, improve surfing day by day and working on my creative projects.
Can you tell us your story so far?
The Castelo de Bode lake is the perfect spot for Wakeboard and Wakesurf. It was the place where we first met, and where we spent some of our best times together. This was the place where we were able to disconnect from the city chaos, and embrace a more slow-paced, wellbeing-focused way of living.
Originally from Viseu, Joana graduated and practiced Radiology in Lisbon. Here was where she spent almost all of her life living and working, with some getaways to the lake. Rute was born in Lisbon, and took a Management degree. Her job allowed her to work and live in many different places like Barcelona, Lima and Milan, working for 20 years in FMCG and retail for companies like Henkel and Nike. Despite being from totally different backgrounds, the lake and the passion for wakeboard brought us together, and a lot has been envisioned since then!
Our first project, Wake with Girls started in 2015. As some of the few female wakeboard riders in the country, we felt the need to create a strong and united community of women and girls in the sport. Back then, female participation in sports (not just wakeboard, but specially in wakeboard) was very limited and we felt the need to create a positive and empowering community of girls. This project aimed to bring together more and more females, professionals or first-timers, and rapidly we had a large fast-growing community of women wakeboarders. We started planing events and initiatives to get more women involved with the world of wakeboarding, and in 2016, together with three other friends we started to manage a wakeboard cable in the lake. That allowed us to ignite the brand and boost the wakeboard community, growing massively. Nowadays, we have our own boat in Zaboeira and provide classes and experiences, from wakeboard to wakesurf, still staying true to our original beliefs: that wakeboard is a sport for everyone and having fun is guaranteed!
We have both always shared the passion for the sport, but also the dream of living a more meaningful life at the lake. Joana really aim to change her professional life for a long and we started to build the foundations to make it happen. Our journey has been one of resilience and hard work because "dreams don't work unless you take action". So we rebuilt a ruin into the place we would love to stay in when we would relax into nature. That is how Zab Living was born. Zab, from Zaboeira, the village name, and Living because we envision much more than just place and a guesthouse. We want to provide our guests with an experience, a feeling, a different way of living.
Zab living was created with the purpose of giving life and soul to the village of Zaboeira, while contributing to the development of the region. It is born from the desire to share our little corner of the world and give wings to our dreams, while always respecting what is around us. In 2021 we both quit our jobs and fully dedicated to these two projects, living our dream of a life emerging in Nature and sports, our biggest passions.
Zab Living and Wake with Girls are two independent brands that reinforce each other. We aspire to create and offer unique experiences, hoping "that everything you see tells you to stay".
Next steps for you?
We would like to keep contributing for the sustainable development of the region and having a positive impact in the community.
The next steps we have in mind for Zab Living are:
- Rehabilitation of another traditional building, creating more rooms and spaces for living such as a wine cellar for wine tasting programs, and a wood oven space for cooking workshops. This would expand our opportunities to enable guests to experience what we would call the simple things that make life special.
- Create and build offsite programs for companies or groups as well as offer personal development and coaching retreats in partnership with Beyonders foundation.
- Build on our partnership with Circle and Circle Journey, by doing regular projects together mixing exercise, mindfulness, nature and nutrition.
For Wake with Girls:
- Create and develop wakeboard camps and sport weekend projects
- Expand the range of sports and activities through partnerships.
And, most of all, we want to keep doing what we love and enjoy the ride.
Best spot in Portugal?
Zaboeira and the lake, of course! It's like a small paradise, in a hidden corner of the world. The countryside of Portugal has an huge and unexplored potential, where everything we see tells us to stay. Let's keep it secret ;)
What does style mean to you?
It's about attitude, a way of living, and how we share our personal story with the world. It's an expression of ourselves.
What motivated you to get started with Wake with Girls?
In a male-dominated field, sports can feel very intimidating for a girl or woman. Wake with Girls was about creating a strong, united, and supportive community of female riders. Our main goal was to help diversify, and bring more and more girls to the sport, while strengthening the bonds between them. This project is about sharing our passion for the sport with each and every one of them. Either professional or for fun, we want to show that wakeboard can be for everyone.
What's the Band / Music Style / Music Artist that inspires you?
Music is part of our day-to-day, and each and every moment in Zab Living is always filled with it. It's difficult to pick a specific song or artist, because there are so many that inspire us and each of them giving us the right inspiration for every moment. Like style music is an expression of ourselves and our feelings.
So far, we have created two playlists on Spotify, and not only the feedback has been truly amazing, but it also represents what music means to us: a means to share life and emotions!
We also keep a beautiful guitar in our living room at Zab Living, gifted by a great friend and guest, who also loves music. He thought the guitar would make up an essential piece for our guests' experience at Zab living, and we agree! We have been gifted with amazing music moments since then!!! Thank you!
We can't wait to share some of these moments with you!
Any guilty pleasure worth mentioning?
A sunset with a "mini" after a wakeboard session!
Photography by João Hasselberg.