Soul People: Rachelle Lincoln, surf photographer

I’m Rachelle Lincoln. I am an American Australian born in San Diego, California, later moving to Hawaii and then migrating to Australia where I now live in Noosa, Queensland permanently.

I wish I could say that I loved photography right from when I was a child, but that would be lying. I bought my first camera when I was 18 years old and gave it a go for about two months and then the camera never saw the light of day again. I hated breaking up special moments trying to capture them, so I gave it up. It wasn’t until I moved to the Great Barrier Reef for six years and saw the most beautiful sights in the world that I ever thought about picking up a camera again. The GBR inspired me like nothing ever had.

It took me fifteen minutes by boat to reach a part of the reef where there was no one else besides us. The reef was so alive and spontaneous that I wanted to share it with the world especially because of the reputation of the dying reef. It took me about a year to choose a camera and underwater housing because I wanted it to be perfect. By that time,  my partner and I had bought a house in Noosa and I started taking photos of the long boarding culture there. I was hooked. Longboarding is like dancing on water to me and is my absolute favourite thing to shoot (besides animals of course).

Longboarder Sam Bleakley shows the fishermen how it’s done

When I scored the job here in Varkala, India I was so nervous about coming for four months and to be quite frank I thought I could “tolerate” India, but I never once expected to be in love with India like I am.

I love this place every day I wake up. What really makes it special to me are two main things.

My surf team is number one. They are the most enthusiastic surfers I have ever met and they really are passionate about their jobs. When they see a beginner surfer standing they are just as happy as the surfer.


The second thing that makes Varkala special are the waves. I love the waves here. People say that it can be inconsistent but that’s what makes a really good day epic. The waves here also have a beautiful shapes which makes my job as a photographer so much easier. Plus the background is absolutely luscious and just gorgeous.

A typical day at Soul and Surf, for me, starts at 6AM. I make a coffee and analyse my equipment looking for any sign of leaking or errors. That may sounds monotonous but one thing I have learned is technology and water do not mix and you have to do everything you can to make sure the two are never introduced, even slightly.

I then head down to beach where the guests and the surf team are having a coffee and checking the surf. I really enjoy this part of the day because morning is my favourite. It’s so good to see how excited everyone is to get in the water. I spend about three hours taking photos and by the end of the lesson I am happy to rest my camera and do a bit of bodysurfing. I then spend a few hours organising my photos and editing. On some nights we do a slideshow so it takes me a couple hours to get that ready. Before I know it, its time for the evening yoga class and that the best way to wrap up the day. After yoga we eat and then hit the bed!

Paddle out

In such a short space of time, Soul & Surf has become like a second home to me, and it’s very apparent that this place has a lot of soul to it. Soul to me is the inner spiritual guts to something or someone. Anyone can buy a hotel or a resort and sell beds, but it’s the vibes and the heart that makes something alive.


I wake up happy every day I’m here and for me that’s the ultimate goal in life.

To see more of Rachelle’s work, and to follow her travels, find Rachelle on Instagram at @thereefgirl

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Guest Reviews

This has to be one of my favourite places i have ever stayed. From breakfast on the first day i felt completely at home here and never wanted to leave. This place has the perfect set up, a huge satisfying breakfast after the early morning surf , a stunning cliff top location looking out over […]

Rosie, UK