Soul People – Siona

Next in our Soul People series is our Head of Vibes Siona who has been with us in Varkala for the last year and a half. Today is her last day working for Soul & Surf so we caught up with her to see how the last 16 months have been…

What’s your name?

Siona Rose

 

What do you do?

I’m Head of Vibes at Soul & Surf, India. Yes that is a legit job title.

 

Where’s Home?

Wherever I lay my hat? It’s been Varkala for the last 16 months but I’m from Cambridge originally

 

Age: 28

 

How did you come to be at Soul & Surf?

Perseverance. I was doing a job in London that I really didn’t enjoy. Everything was fine, ya know, but it didn’t make my heart sing. I don’t want to live a life that can be described as “fine”. I decided I wanted to work here and called Raff once per week for about 7 weeks until he agreed to give me an interview which must have annoyed the hell out of him! I then went down to Brighton to have dinner with Ed and Sofie (Ed’s a mean cook don’t you know) and a couple of months later I was here and I’ve just refused to leave!

What does Soul mean to you?

I believe that you are a part of everything and everything is a part of you, we all come from the same star, we’re all made from the same matter. To me your soul is what connects you to every other thing that exists and the more you connect with your environment and what’s around you the better an understanding you have of your soul.

 

What inspires you about your work?

My absolute favourite thing is that I get to meet so many amazing people from all over the world who come to stay with us. Everyone brings their own energy and has their own story to tell. And I am endlessly proud of my team, my India family. They are the most hardworking, generous, inspiring, hilarious people and I count myself lucky to have been a part of the best team in the world. It’s 100% the people who put the soul into Soul & Surf.

 

What’s next for you?

I’m going spend the summer in Cornwall this year. It’ll be the first time I’ve been in the UK for any amount of time in two years and I’m so excited for bacon sandwiches, jumpers and pub gardens! I am sad to be leaving though, being here has been such an incredible part of my life and I’ll carry the people and the place forward with me to my next adventure.

 

 

 

Soul & Surf Sri Lanka Beach Cleans

In February, the United Nations announced its new program, Clean Seas (http://www.cleanseas.org), with the goal of eliminating major sources of pollution that are choking our oceans and waterways across the globe.  We are starting to see the significant impacts our trash problem has on the environment and human health.  We are realizing that this is a worldwide problem, which isn’t constraint to political boundaries and will take the efforts of our global community to implement solutions.
The main concern is micro plastics that are the result of our single use consumer culture.  Sand and seashells are being replaced by small plastic pieces – litter from local sources as well as trash that is carried many miles across the sea.  The picture of a trash wave in Bali that went viral a few years ago (http://www.surfer.com/features/bali-garbage/) was a needed call to the surfing community to take some action.  Fortunately, here in Sri Lanka, at the beaches were we surf, the trash problem is not as bad as Bali and we are not surfing in trash waves or paddling out from trash filled beaches.  However, illegal dumping, inadequate collection and disposal facilities, and the lack of education and resources for proper waste management are huge issues in Sri Lanka and as tourism continues to grow, the problem will surely get worse.
Soul and Surf are long time supporters of Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) (https://www.sas.org.uk), the Cornish organisation that has grown from a few local activists into an nation wide environmental charity protecting the UKs oceans, waves and beaches for all to enjoy safely and sustainably.
SAS are leading by example with campaigns such as Message in a Bottle, The Autumn & Spring Beach Clean series and Break the Bag Habit; and are constantly addressing issues through community action, campaigning, volunteering, conservation, education and scientific research.
By connecting with SAS, we remain rooted in simple strategies to see a reduction in marine litter and hope by setting up local beach cleans and educating our guests, we are providing an avenue for them to become marine activists themselves, making a positive impact for the waves and beaches they surf at home, and abroad.
Therefore, at Soul & Surf Sri Lanka, we realize we can be part of the solution for addressing trash and plastic pollution.  Although we cannot change the system, we can do our small part to help out.  Each week, before one of our afternoon surf sessions, our guests and staff do a short beach clean up, rotating through our local surf spots around the southwest coast.  We spend 15-20 minutes cleaning the beach and its always incredible to see how much rubbish we are able to collect within such a short period of time.  We generally reuse rice sacks to collecting the rubbish and we provide reusable gloves to everyone.  We find all kinds of rubbish on the beach – most of it is plastic.  We separate out the plastic bottles and glass bottles which get sent to be recycled and the rest of the rubbish goes to the municipal dump.  This means that the rubbish is disposed of properly, rather than having the chance to wash into the ocean and kill marine life or end up joining us on our surf in the “green room”.  Although we are only making a small dent in the overall global trash problem, each week, we are happy to be helping in our small way to keep our beaches and oceans clean, and set a good example for the local community.
Words by Annie Lovell & Nat Fox, Photos by DtlPhotography

Soul People – Serena

It’s that time again, say hello to Serena, the next member of the Soul&Surf family in our Soul People series. Serena first came to Soul&Surf as a guest and is currently our Head of Service in India managing our cafe SoulFood however she will be joining us for our Portugal PopUp this May as our resident chef!

What’s your name?

Serena Holliday

 

What do you do?

Head of Service in our café SoulFood

 

Where’s Home?

Varkala. London. Yorkshire.

 

Age:

26

 

How did you come to be at Soul & Surf?

I came here on holiday in 2015 and loved it so much and made so many friends that I extended my trip. I then got an email from Raff in October this year asking me if I was free and I just couldn’t say no. Before this I was working in London as the Junior Sous Chef at a plant based restaurant. Food has always been the centre of what I do but over the last few years I’ve developed a passion for plant based food. Although I loved what I was doing my work life balance was off kilter so when Raff got in touch I decided to take things in a new direction.

 

What does Soul mean to you?

It means atmosphere, it means relationships, it means friendships. It’s what makes you tick.

What inspires you about your work?

First and foremost it’s my team. I love getting to work with so many amazing people from around the world who all bring their own energy and story to the mix. I love getting to meet all of our guests, improving someone’s day in even just a small way by delivering good service and high standards means a lot to me, food is such an important part of travelling, it’s something people take away from their holiday.

 

What’s next for you?

I’m going to Portugal with Adam and Rachel for our PopUp in May which is going to be so much fun! I’m really excited to get back in the kitchen and start cooking again and I feel like this could be a really great next step in my Soul & Surf journey.

 

What will you be rustling up in the kitchen?

I want to take a bit of Kerala – fish curry, thoran, raita etc. and mix that with authentic Portugese cuisine. I’m going to be using a lot of locally sourced ingredients, lots of delicious fresh fish, fruit & veg and making sure all the meals are healthy and sustainable whilst being as authentic to our surroundings and the SoulFod ethos as possible. I’m looking forward to bringing all the things that I love about here to a new environment.

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Soul People – Raff

For the next interview in our Soul People series we caught up with Raff, General Manager, Doer and Thinker of Soul & Surf India. Raff joined the company when it was still in it’s infancy and has seen it blossom and grow over the years. Here’s his story:

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What’s your name?

Raffael Kably aka Raff aka Uncle Raff

 

What do you do?

I run Soul & Surf India

 

Where’s Home?

Well, I was born and raised in Bombay city but I’d much rather call Varkala in Kerala my home.

 

Age: 27

 

How did you come to be at Soul & Surf?

I was working in Bombay for a film production house and living the city life. I was desperate for a change in lifestyle so I hooked up with Ed and asked if he needed any help in Soul & Surf in Kerala. I joined first as a manager and then just refused to leave so looks like E&S got fed up and decided they should make me partner and for that I’m ever grateful.

 

What does Soul mean to you?

To me Soul is an energy or a certain intensity that is a part all things around us. It can be seen in art, in music, in design, in spaces. It comes from everywhere and is something that lives on long after we’re gone. It’s a part of everyone you just need to be able to tap into it and bring it out in anything you do.

Oh, it’s also what I sold for Rock ‘n’ Roll.

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What inspires you about your work?

The chance to live a healthy fulfilling life, travel, surf and most of all meet and work with interesting and beautiful people from all around the world.

 

What’s next for you do you think?

I don’t tend to think too far ahead but whatever it is I know it will be soaked in Soul 🙂

 

Life Lately

A little snippet of life lately according to our wonderful new photographer in India Katie Rae. Dreamy hot days, sky blue seas, rooftop yoga and lovely little nuggets to surf on. This really might be paradise!

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SoulFood – Arroz Doce

We are currently lucky enough to have Grant Lloyd staying with us in Kerala as our Guest Chef. Having trained and worked closely with Jamie Oliver he has a wealth of knowledge and skill and has been getting in the kitchen every day coming up with new, delicious dishes for us. Inspired by our forthcoming Portugal pop up Grant came up with this Portugese sweet rice dessert known as Arroz Doce but has added a Keralan twist. It’s an easy tasty treat with ingredients straight out of the store cupboard!

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Arroz Doce – Serves 3 – 4 people

INGREDIENTS

•150g Pudding Rice
•750ml Milk
•125ml Cream
•125ml Coconut Milk
•1 Vanilla Pod
•2 Cardamon Pods
•Small Stick Of Cinnamon
•Zest Of 1 Lemon
•3Tablespoons of Sugar

METHOD

1. Place the rice, liquids, sugar, cinnamon stick, lemon zest and cardamon pods in a pot. Score the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape the seeds out, adding both to the pot.

2. Stir well and gently bring to the boil, then simmer on a low heat for 25-35 minutes until the rice is cooked and creamy in texture.

3. Serve with a sprinkling of Cinnamon.

Easy as that! We can’t wait to serve this up in Portugal this May 🙂

 

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Soul People – Jack Wells

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What is your name:

Jack Wells

 

Where is home?

Currently home is South London

 

What do you do for a living:

Half of my time is spent working as a cinematographer for music videos and commercials. Then the other half of my time is spent painting pictures, a lot majority of my work is typography based.

 

What inspires you about your work?

My inspirations are pretty varied, I’m obsessed with hand painted type. This initially came from Graffiti but I now have a growing collection of traditional sign writing books. My current favourite is one I just picked up on English canal & long boat lettering, so cool!

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How did you first get into art and videography?

I’m not sure how I first got into art, as I guess I have always pottered about and made stuff. The videography side of things definitely came about by me wanting to explore my drawing and art based projects more. For example I would plan really time consuming timelapses or try and make a font from long exposure photos of ignited spray cans, that then naturally developed into working commercially in that field.

 

How did you become connected to Soul & Surf?

My first brush with S&S was in India, Kerela. I was there making a film for Ed & Sofie with Joe who now works with them in Sri Lanka. Since then I have been fortunate enough to collaborate again on a project, this time in the beautiful Sri Lanka.

 

Can tell us a little bit about the process of doing your art in Sri Lanka.

The process was a really collaborative one. After sitting down with Sofie & Ed I was very excited to hear that one of their inspirations for the artwork was from a beautiful hand painted Sri Lankan truck that they had seen. It was pastel pink with these amazing large bold graphical lines that cut right through. After we had decided on designs for artwork it was time to actually make them… I was painting on large wooden boards so the first job was to brief the carpenter. If you needed some thing doing it was far more productive to jump on a bike or in a tuc tuc and just go do it in person face to face. No email back and forth, perfect.

 

Did you find any inspiration for your art while you were in Sri Lanka?

Very much so, I love the hand painted trucks and buses that you see daily. I would often try and get pictures as they rush past you whilst you’re on the way to the surf.

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What were some of your favourite moments during your time in Sri Lanka?

Starting the day with an early morning surf is certainly up there for sure. But from a personal work point of view getting the chance to really develop the artwork further was great. A favourite example of this is the two large abstract symbols that were created for the yoga shala in the new villa. They are developments from my literal typography work that I then created abstract symmetrical symbols from, I’m very excited to explore this idea more.

 

What does soul mean to you?

Aretha Franklin & Barry White

 

What sort of projects are you working on next?

I’m always painting individual letters both on glass and now wood but my next project is going to gold leaf onto glass different historic and contemporary camouflage patterns, using a variety of gold leaf. I had the idea to do it for a while but after seeing all the hand painted camouflage bus stops in Sri Lanka it made me kick start the project as soon as i got home.

 

When will you be coming back to Soul & Surf in Sri Lanka?

Asap!

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Soul People – Freddie

Next in our Soul People series is Freddie who has been with us for the last few months working in our reception. Her happy smiley face is the first to welcome guests to Soul & Surf and her yoga lessons get you bending and stretching in all the right ways! We caught up with her for a little chat:

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What’s your name? Frederica Fernandes Valente Perfeito (Freddie)

What do you do? I’m receptionists and replacement yoga teacher.

Where’s Home? Home is where I feel good. I can’t say it’s where I grew up because I haven’t lived there for 12 years, nor Lisbon where I spent 13 years always moving from house to house. I adapt very easily, so every place I live, I feel I’m home.

Age: 32

How did you come to be at Soul & Surf? I heard about S&S when I was working in Sri Lanka for Lapoint. While I was in Costa Rica working for Lapoint, I decided to search more about S&S because I knew they had a hotel in India, place that I wanted to go back to. So I asked a friend of mine, Linnea, for their email adress and think she gave me Ed’s email and I applied for yoga teacher job. I got a reply from Joe and then things happened.

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What does Soul mean to you? Soul is what we are, what we are made of, truly inner self, that we are not completely aware of and that we can spend a lifetime searching for.

What inspires you about your work? I love yoga, I love surf, I love India and Sri Lanka, good food, good music, getting to know amazing people, being in chilled and beautiful place. That’s what I love about working for S&S.

What’s next for you? I still don’t know but for sure, more yoga, more beach, more Soul & Surf!

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Soul People – Jamie Johnstone

We love hearing our guests stories about what they’re doing in life and consider ourselves super lucky that we get to meet so many amazing people from all over the world! Jamie Johnstone, owner of Dick Pearce & Friends bellyboards and his family stayed with us in Kerala over Christmas and New Year so we took the opportunity to sit down with him and find out about the revival of this legendary brand.

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Name: Jamie

Age: 29

Where’s home? Newquay, Cornwall

What brought you to S&S India?

We came for a big family Christmas all together. We like surfing and we like belly boarding and some of us like yoga. We go away most years for Christmas, always somewhere new. We’ve been to Sri Lanka and Indonesia but we’d never been to India and as all of us love curry this seemed like the perfect fit.

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What do you do when you’re not surfing and stretching?

I own a company called Dick Pearce and Friends who make bellyboards and I work for Wavehunters who are the biggest surf school in the UK. We do sea safari ribs to see dolphins, run surf schools etc. and that’s all year round. My real passion though is bellyboarding and surfing. Dick Pearce & Friends has been making bellyboards since the 50’s. When he died in 2010 my friend Andy and I took over the company and are now helping people to fall in love with the sport again. The production techniques are the same but we’ve revamped the branding and the finishing. It’s going really well and is all really exciting!

Bellyboarding is still so underground so we want to bring it into the mainstream, get people off the rubbish polystyrene boards and using proper sports equipment that’s good for the environment. When we were kids we started on bellyboards, it was how we learnt to read the waves. It takes skill but it’s still so much fun and we just really want people to fall in love with it as much as we have because it’s a way of being in the water that’s accessible to everyone. It’ll be the World Bellyboard Championships down in Cornwall this summer so we’re hoping to be involved with that.

 

What does Soul mean to you?

Soul means having fun with those that you love who love you back.

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Jamie was kind enough to donate not one but three Dick Pearce & Friends bellyboards to us when he left India which are available for all of our guests to use. For more information see www.dickpearce.com

Guest Reviews

I had a great time surfing in the Andaman Islands. This was all due to the perfect combination of the idyliic location of these remote and beautiful islands, empty breaks, a fun group of fellow surfers and the untiring crew from Soul & Surf.

Calin Duke