Earlier this season, we hosted our good friend, the pro-longboarder Sam Bleakley here at Soul & Surf in Varkala for a special month-long residency. Sam joined to share his knowledge and love for the ocean through special one-to-one long boarding workshops plus screenings from his Brilliant Corners series of surf travel documentaries.
Words by Lola Bleakley | Photography by Katie Rae & Saurabh Narang | 4th March '18
Best of all, he brought his wonderful family along, too! Sam's daughter, Lola - aged ten - wrote a diary during her time here. And she's been kind enough to share an extract with us....
My name is Lola Bleakley. I am ten years old and live at Gwenver beach in Cornwall, UK. I go to Sennen Primary School. I spent the Christmas holidays at Soul & Surf in India with my mum, dad and little brother Ruben. Dad was showing his travel films and teaching one to one surf lessons. Mum was working as a massage therapist. Ruben was doing a lot of dancing. And I was surfing, swimming and helping out in the café. I love India, I love all the people at Soul & Surf. And I had an amazing time. Here is an extract from my dairy and a poem I wrote. I hope you enjoy reading it.
Extracts from my diary in India
Today I arrived in Kerala, India. The weather is hot, humid and the air is filled with the smell of spices.
In the future I want to live in a place like this where it is hot and exciting.
Yesterday was a day when everything felt amazing. It was Christmas. At 7 o’clock in the morning all the staff and guests at the surf and yoga retreat where we are working (Soul & Surf) met wearing fancy dress and paddled out to surf together. I dressed as Moana.
In the blink of an eye dolphins appeared riding the waves. It seemed like they knew it was Christmas and were showing off. They burst out from the glassy surface of the turquoise sea and then glided back out to the limitless horizon, leaving only ripples of water lingering.
Whilst at Soul & Surf I helped in the café. One of my favourite members of staff was a beautiful young woman called Janaki, who is half Indian and half Filipino. Every time I saw her she made my heart spark and glitter with happiness. It felt like she was my soul sister.
Before sunset I surfed with Janaki, alongside my gorgeous mum, dad and brother Ruben. The orange sun melted into the deep blue ocean, leaving just wisps of cloud floating in the pink sky.
After dusk I walked back to Soul & Surf with Janaki, from the beach, up the cliff path. Janaki has taught me to have more confidence and courage. Our hearts connected so quickly that our friendship will never fade.
Today it is my mum’s birthday. We are going on a boat to the back waters of Kerala to visit a Hindu temple and get a blessing for good luck for our family.
I am very excited about the coming New Year. It will be 2018 and hopefully India will continue to teach and inspire me.
This is a poem I wrote called ‘Backwaters’
I am sitting, gliding across the water in a beautiful handmade wooden boat
The palm trees creeping over us like a cobra ready to strike.
Suddenly a slither of light cracks through the trees
Burning the islands with joy.
I see the birds skimming across the wind
Cutting the silent surface of the water
Leaving only the calmness to flatten out
The never-ending ripples.
Then I spot a small group of houses.
My eyes feast in the colours.
And the sweet smells of incense hits me.
I feel alive.
After being at Soul & Surf I was very inspired by the lack of plastics used in the kitchen, and the way they have metal straws and a good recycling system. My cousin (Izzy Henshall, aged 14) and I noticed a lot of problems at our schools, Sennen and Cape Cornwall, so we wrote this petition.
My cousin and I are very passionate about the ocean. We are aware about the increasing amount of plastic in our sea. As the future generation, we are extremely concerned about the amount of non-biodegradable plastic that our school is using. We feel that, as Cape Cornwall school and Sennen school combined we must bring it to your attention that our use of single use plastic is un-acceptable to us.
Those who have signed this petition agree with our point of view. Please can our schools do their best to help fight against our consumption of single use and non-biodegradable plastics. Our schools have the opportunity to be at the forefront to make a difference for future generations.