physio

Why Alaia? – The story behind our name, values and community.


It’s our one-year anniversary and what better time to answer the question we get so often: Why Alaia?

As one physician recently said to me: “It’s so hard to spell and say! I can never remember it.” (We had some referral pads made just for him). And yes, if there were visions of growing the clinic to 20 treatment rooms and 5 or more locations, being “hard to Google” would be an issue.

However, the intention so far has been to stay small and offer high-quality manual therapy in a calm, beautiful and private setting. So, in that respect, the originality of our name is something that I feel is in alignment with what we stand for and value, especially in a world that is becoming faster and more focused on social media, and less on real human relationship and connection.

The Alaia surfboard is a wooden, finless surfboard that was ridden in pre-20th century Hawaii. The surfer had to use the sharp edges of the board to steer it through the waves, therefore they required great skill to ride. The boards were re-introduced to the professional surf community by surfboard shaper Tom Wegener in 2005.

“One thing about the ancient boards is they are difficult to ride, but I realized that maybe its okay that it is difficult, all the modern boards are about making surfing easier. These boards bring the skill back into surfing.” –Tom Wegener.

I fell in love with the sport of surfing over 10 years ago during a long trip to Costa Rica. The acceptance that the ocean had to teach, the resilience it took to keep failing and trying again, and the exhilaration of that smooth, beautiful ride that makes all the effort worthwhile: I was hooked.  It was like magic and it made me feel joyful and alive.  I continue to turn to the sport of surfing to connect me with nature and myself, and it never fails me.

In essence, that is what we do as physiotherapists: help our clients get back to being able to access this feeling of connection in their lives again. They walk in our doors with some limitation that they need help with and we give them access to tools to work with it: our hands, our reasoning, our experience, our needles, our equipment, our ears and most importantly, their own wisdom about their body…we care about them and walk beside them on the road to being able to get back to living fully again.

Life isn’t always an upward journey. There are times when the challenges we meet require a skillset we don’t yet have, like the process of learning to ride an Alaia. It’s our commitment as physiotherapists to assist with the process of developing roadmaps to work with those challenges.

So when you walk into the clinic and see our Alaia Surfboard, custom-made by Jon Wegener (Tom’s brother in San Diego), you can be reminded that just because the road may be difficult, there are more than likely some amazing lessons and skills to be learned along the way….and hopefully a sweet ride to enjoy that makes it worth it in the end.

We look forward to many more years of supporting our growing community of clients in reaching their goals and living their lives with joy and passion.

Much gratitude for your support and trust in us over this past year and for giving us the privilege to be part of your team,

Kat & The Alaia Physio Team.

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Interested in learning more about Alaia surfboards? Check out Tom Wegener’s website and watch the video where he explains his inspiration.  http://www.tomwegenersurfboards.com/about-tom-0

About the author:

Katrina Sovio is the owner of Alaia Physiotherapy Sports + Wellness in Vancouver, B.C. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelors of Physical Therapy and went on to complete a Masters in Advanced Manual Therapy at Western University in 2013. She has been working in private practice for the past 14 years, is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapists(FCAMPT) and a Certified Chan Gunn IMS practitioner(CGIMS).

Her passions in life include running, surfing, cross-country skiing, meditation, and her work with her physiotherapy clients.