Vesakha – Sri Lanka
14th May 2017

On the full moon of May, Buddhists commemorate the birth, enlightenment and the passing away of Gautama Buddha. Simple offerings of flowers, candles and joss-sticks are brought to illuminated and decorated temples, where the celebration is an opportunity to reiterate their determination to lead noble lives, to develop their minds, to practise loving-kindness and to bring peace and harmony to humanity.

The Soul & Surf family took a trip down to Uthpalawanna Sri Vishnu Devalaya to celebrate Vesakha and take in the magic of this special day.

All images: Mati Quinzio

Soul People – Siona
27th April 2017

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
16th April 2017

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
8th April 2017

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
16th March 2017

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 🙂

 

Guest Reviews

One of the last locations in a world of quickly dwindling uncrowded tropical surf destinations. The Andaman Islands  – remote, wild, pristine. 10ft, grinding, Indo style barrels for 10 days straight? Probably not. Great waves with a great crew at exotic, unspoiled, empty breaks? Definitely!

Tom Fekete