Karma Surf Retreat, Portugal


If you’re looking for a surf and yoga retreat in Europe with a difference then look no further.

Ola Nina recently chatted with one of the co-owners of Karma Surf Retreat in Portugal – Jens Kielmann.

Set in the beautiful mountain village of Malveira da Serra, owners and friends Jens and Timo first met at elementary school in Germany. Timo arrived in Portugal about 10 years ago and took his first job after university in the Algarve selling solar heating projects. Jens followed about five years ago when he decided he needed a change.

Jens started his own business as an online marketing consultant. But it was three years ago that Timo and Jens decided to create a business together so they could combined their hobby – surfing.

With good business knowledge behind them, the duo thought of Algarve-Surfcreating a holiday for people wanting to relax and surf yet find decent, affordable accommodation away from the crazy party scenes.
Jens said he remembers looking at surf holidays for himself but not really finding any appealing offers.
“I felt “too old” and exhausted for sleeping in a six bed dorm or tent amongst 20 to 40 drinking, smoking and partying 16 to 23 year old youngsters,” Jens said.
“When we finally came across the location it felt like all the pieces came together and the Karma Surf Retreat was born.”
The result? a retreat that offers luxury villas with double room accommodation, a big paradisiac garden and pool with sea views, high quality yoga and surfing lessons and delicious, homemade food.


“With everything we do, we are really detail-driven and always add our personal touch and individual service for our deserving guests,” Jens said.

“The villa is situated close to Lisbon in Malveira da Serra near Praia do Guincho – one of the most beautiful beaches of the area – right next to the natural reserve Serra de Sintra.

“Its right at the westernmost point of continental Europe Cabo da Roca. Being close to Sintra and Lisbon complements our sportive components perfectly as it offers many interesting venues for sightseeing, which is highly appreciated by our clients.”

A typical day at Karma Surf Retreat:
Wake up at 7.30am. Stay in bed until 7.55am. Do yoga from 8am until 9am, join other guests at breakfast until 10am, get picked up by the surf teachers and driven to the beach, have a surf lesson and some time to chill while having a vegetarian lunch package.
Get brought back to the villa or stay at the beach. Have an hour to relax or yoga in the afternoon. Relax. Go out for dinner or prepare a nice meal with the other guests back in the fully equipped spacious kitchen of the villa and enjoy it on the terrace watching the sky turn purple. Have some stimulating conversation, a good night wine and go to bed for a resting nap.
On Saturday (changeover day) the retreat offers a brazilian welcome barbecue for guests serving Picanha as well as vegetarian options. On Wednesdays the retreat offers a five course Portuguese seafood lunch and for relaxation – massages right after.


The retreat is now offering new packages in combination with yoga, such as SUP (stand up paddle boarding), climbing, hiking and mountain biking.

The retreat is also offering special weeks such as a functional fitness or mindfulness (MBSR) week with special guests. Also special yoga teachers are visiting the retreat once in a while to share their knowledge, such as Brittany Trubridge, wife of the world record holder in freediving Wiliam.



It’s truly is hard to find something comparable like Karma Surf Retreat in Europe. There is Yoga Retreats or Surf Camps where you can each book the other activity as an add-on. You can sleep in tents, low budget accommodation, but also expensive luxury resorts (hotels). Each one with its own disadvantages. It truly seems like these guys have put a lot of thought into this retreat and created great accommodation and packages to make the whole experience memorable.

“Although its much more work than we have expected, we are super happy with what we have created and love to see how we make people happy and relaxed. Our luxury and quality of life is determined by the fact that we are able to go for a sunrise/sundown-surf-session or whenever we want between our daily work. If we really need a break we pack our VW vans for a weekender and head to secret beaches north or south of us and do what we like the most: surf – eat – sleep – again!.” 

For more information visit their website: www.karmasurfretreat.com 

Wow what a life guys thanks for sharing your story with us! – Ola Nina


Introducing..Alejandra Altuve

Read our latest profile piece on down to earth bodyboarding goddess 30-year-old Alejandra Altuve ‘Ale’ from Caracas, Venezuela.

by YourTrueLook

Years bodyboarding:12

How did you get into it? 
I ‘ve spent most of my childhood days at my grandpa’s beach house, fortunately just a few blocks from the sea. I could go to the beach barefoot or just ride the bike with my brother and our lil’ gang and we could stay for hours in the beach, swimming in the shorebreak, watching the surfers, having fun in the little “sandbar” of La Punta,Ocumare-Aragua (where everything started).
We’ve spent and enjoyed every single vacation,weekend and all my “free days” playing in the Ocean,surrounded by people who loved and respected the Ocean and teached me and inspired me to do the same thing,such as my grandpa, my beautiful mom and my uncle Angel,they took me to sooo many amazing little adventures when I was a kid,that maybe I started to be connected with nature since I was very young because of that, even before I have started Bodyboarding. It was something natural. I always wanted to practice bodyboarding or surfing, since I was a child, I knew that I wanted to be in the water all the time,but we lived in the city,so in the beggining it was kind of hard to get support for it.

Why do you love it?
Bodyboarding in Hawaii_Matt Catalano photo frame This is a tough one! Bodyboarding has given me so much,  I know that it could sound like a cliché but it’s true! I’ve been blessed with such an amazing lifestyle as an athlete and representing my country, traveling to exotic and challenging places all over the World, getting to know their culture and maners, their people and some friends that then have became my “family of the World”. It’s such a blessing to get to surf so many of the spots that I’ve dreamed about when everything started. I love the fact of being an “ocean – soul” that can inspire, support and help others to follow their dreams thru bodyboarding and the social work that I am involved with in different communities of my country or even when I travel around the world and I can get along with other people that will support the project.

Are you chasing the pro tour or? what is your situation with it?
Yes , I am! And it has been an amazing experience for growing up myself as an athlete and for representing Venezuela.
Last year I’ve got placed 23rd. on the I.B.A. Women’s World Tour, not the result that I am working for but definitely very motivated and focus to improve those numbers! 
This year I just started another tour, which is the ALAS Latin Tour, and where I got positioned on the 4th. Spot of the Latinamerican Ranking! Which is pretty motivating for a new year and a new tour.

What is it about the ocean that you love?
I  just love the way it makes me feel,  I become part of it. Oneness. Must be the freedom of flowing  with the water. Those kind of things that you just can feel , not describe or tell. I love the glow and the joy I feel after surfing. 
I love the way I challenge myself when I surf in a new spot,  or when the waves are firing, the adventure that comes with it and the fact that it’s unknown makes me feel more focus and into it.
Every wave is different,  every spot has it own enchantment and I love that. I never could get bored of it! Lots of challenges that has made me the woman that I am right now. 
I love the connection with the Ocean and all the possibilities that it represents to me, “we are in love with each other” haha!

Describe yourself.
This is a harder one!  haha! O.K. ! Of course I do love the ocean and the way that my life has been shaped and surrounded by it. I feel gratitude for all the blessings that comes into ” the package”, I truly love that.
I am a dreamer but I am a warrior of my own dreams and many times I go on battles by helping others on theirs, that melts my heart. I love to give.  Sometimes fooled (by fools) but many others BLESSED (by beautiful souls), it’s all good ’cause everything it’s part of my growth and strength. 
I am very creative and active. I love being an enterpreneur , an athlete.  I am a “day person”. ISunset time by YourTrueLook enjoy my family, my house,  real friends. I love the joy of simple things that bring huge power in my life.

What or who inspires you?
Everything during “the journey” inspires me,from the little things to the bigger ones: waking up every morning in front of the ocean, driving all the way from the beach to the city, by the ocean side gives me some “extra-energy” to carry on with me during the day
I have been inspired and influenced by many womens from family. Outstanding ladies that teached values and inspired me to believe in myself and to follow my dreams no matter what,  as long as you act honestly and with God in your heart in every step you take, that’s the best inspiration I could have for life.

Favourite places to surf?
Hawaii,  Puerto Rico,  Canary Islands,  Brasil, Nicaragua, Ecuador and of course home: Cuyagua  (fav break in Venezuela) and Los Roques.

Best place you’ve travelled so far?
Impossible to pick just one. Top 5 so far soooo good: Hawaii (O’ahu and Kaua’i) , Azores Islands, Canary Islands, Chile and Australia.

What do you like to do other than bodyboarding?
Mainly I love to create in many ways: writing, painting, cooking and designing. I like to create and develop concepts for events, campaigns, brands or projects.
Also I am about to launch KEi ♥ Swim | Surf & Sport WEar,  my line of swimsuits, surfwear and sportwear, which also will be promoted by a cool and smart movement of lifestyle that involves fitness, nutrition,sports, fashion, design and others.  We want to educate thru our work, we want to inspire thru our triumphs and we want to motivate and support through KEi!

in California by YourTrueLook

What global issues are you interested in?
wow there is a list that breaks my heart, but there’s another one that makes stand for something, so I am developing #sirenasproject,  a small project of high impact that looks to educate girls thru sports and motivational speaks so we can prevent women’s abuse and their lack of security and courage to prepare theirself for better opportunities. We care about the environment so every activitie gets involved along with ecological actions. 
I also stand AGAINST GMO & MONSANTO ! and all the damage that they’re causing not only in hawaiian lands but also in human beings bodies!  Manipulating food, fruits from the earth and its genetic! 
REMEMBER: We are what we eat! 
and don’t forget overall, to RESPECT what we come from: the land.

Thanks for chatting Ale.

Berry good kale smoothie

I know kale is one of the latest ‘trend’ foods around at the moment but to be honest I had only tried it once and  decided to grab a bunch of it at the fruit and veg shop recently.

Kale has a bitter taste similar to rocket but is actually quite delicious. It is also seriously good for you. In fact, it is one of the healthiest vegetables around at the moment.

Kale is high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. So with all of that aside, I decided to whip together a few kale-inspired recipes. One I recently came up with is what I like to call the berry good kale smoothie.

This recipe will serve two people.

You will need:
1/2 cup of kale leaves (stems removed) wash the kale and pat dry
1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
1 frozen banana
2 heaped teaspoons of natural yogurt
1 cup of milk of your choice
1 teaspoon of honey
A dash of cinnamon
Note – you could also add a teaspoon of chia seeds or two tablespoons of LSA

Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Make sure that the smoothie isn’t too chunky and the kale is pureed well.

YUM YUM enjoy!


Think Positive – Learn to achieve your goals

I often speak to people who say “I can’t run to save my life”.

Well I’ve got news for you sweetheart, if you were being chased by a wilder-beast and running was actually going to save you, you’d be sprinting for the hills!


Does negative thinking limit our ability to achieve new goals? Barbara Fredrickson certainly thinks so.

Fredrickson is a a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, who recently published a landmark paper on the impact of positive thinking on achieving your goals. She studies how positive thinking affects your work, your health, and your life and if her paper is anything to go by, thinking positive can make all the difference.

Thinking Negative is Limiting

Have you ever thought that maybe you are afraid to fail? Negative emotions and thoughts are based around fear. When you feel afraid of trying something new, it’s generally because you are scared about the outcome. Not knowing what can happen makes us uncertain and because of our fear of failing (and what that might mean long term), we limit our opportunities. When you say “I can’t do that” you cement the negative thinking in your mind.

Positive Thinking Gives You Opportunities

Happy thoughts don’t vanish as soon as you might think. Actively thinking positive opens you up to try more things. When you think positive you physically relax and you become less concerned about the outcome of a situation. In fact thinking positive is a great way to stay ‘in the now’. No one knows what the future will be bring, so instead of being afraid, focus on enjoying right now. Thinking positive about a new goal can give you confidence and help you relax.

See Your Glass Half Full

See Your Glass Half Full

How Can You Turn Negative Into Positive?

It can be hard to stop the negative thoughts and focus on the positive, especially if you’ve made a habit of negative thinking! The easiest way to turn your thoughts around is by doing the following things.

1) Be aware of your thoughts – it’s your brain, you get to decide how much energy you spend thinking positively or negatively. It might seem hard at first, but actively addressing negative thoughts and reshaping them into a more positive attitude can help change those bad habits. It takes time to get rid of a habit, but just like quitting smoking, you’ll be healthier in the long run!

2) Surround yourself with people who enjoy life – they say we are a sum of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Make sure those people inspire you to live a happier life and achieve the things that make you feel positive. Hanging around with negative Nancy’s all the time is draining and long term their negative thinking will hold you back.

3) Meditate – Fredrickson‘s research shows a clear correlation between people who meditate and positive thinking. Meditation also has the added bonus of relaxing you, decreasing stress and helping you be more mindful.

4) Play and Create –  Spend some time each week in an activity that brings you joy, whether it’s painting, drawing, running, surfing or playing on a swing set. Setting time apart to have fun will keep you feeling happier and keep those positive thoughts flowing.

5) Be kind to yourself – we are often our own worst enemy. It’s hard enough to deal with negativity from the outside world when we are filling our own minds with it every day. Remember, you are the first person to hear your thoughts, thoughts become words and words become actions. So think as you wish to be. 🙂

6) Embrace the bad days – everyone has bad days when it gets pretty tough to deal with negative thoughts. Give yourself the time you need to wallow, but remember, negative thinking is self indulgent thinking. Give yourself a time limit to get all your grumbling out and then wake up the next day ready to start afresh.

Whatever your goal, learning to run, draw or play the guitar, positive thinking will help you get there. Thanks to people like Fredrickson we now know that it does make a difference, so smile and give, whatever you’ve been afraid of, a go!

Keeping our oceans plastic free

BINNING a couple of pieces of rubbish every time you visit a waterway or are outside may seem like a minor act but to a group of ocean advocates it can help make a world of difference.



Environmentalist and Take 3 co-founder Tim Silverwood and his friend, Adrian Midwood of Ocean Ambassadors took part in a mammoth east coast sailing journey of coastal communities from Brisbane to Sydney between January 7 to February 3 to raise awareness about the affects of plastic pollution.

The ocean-minded pair stopped into Forster NSW on Friday (January 24) along with Newcastle yachtsmen Ivan MacFadyen.

Mr MacFadyen’s story attracted international attention when he told The Newcastle Herald of his horrific discovery of a severe absence of marine life and large islands of floating rubbish out to sea during his yacht race between Melbourne and Osaka last year.


After learning about the project, Mr McFadyen and his wife Kari joined Tim and Adrian on their vessel, the S.V Moana in Coffs Harbour on Friday January 17.

When I read Mr McFadyen’s story I personally couldn’t help but be affected by the words on the page. His haunting description of a desolate ocean with no marine life painted a grim reality of what is sadly mankind’s destructiveness.

When Adrian told me Ivan was on the journey with them I couldn’t believe I had the opportunity to speak with him. There were so many questions running through my head.

Despite his article attracting millions of page views, Ivan remains a humble person and is still evidently passionate about the state of the oceans.

There was a lot I wanted to pick his brain about but the real things I wanted to ask him was: so you’ve done this trip and witnessed this, but what now? what are you going to do?

Ivan simply said that if we remain idle about the situation it will only get worse. He plans to help two Australian organisations out who he believes are doing a great job.

“It’s (project) a great start. It might seem insignificant to some but we can only hope that it grows,” Mr Macfadyen said.

“I truly believe I’ve seen into the future and I’ll tell you, it’s bloody grim.

“I don’t want to be negative but I can foretell that if we don’t make change our whole planet will end up that way.

“Because of the article, I got contacted by every environmental organisation in the world who wanted me to get on board with them and the help.

“I couldn’t physically support all of them so I decided to join a few ocean groups because the ocean is a big part of my life.

“I believe what Take 3 are all about so i joined them as well as the NSW Conservation Council because they protect marine sanctuaries.”


I also had the opportunity to speak with Ivan’s wife Kari who explained that she wasn’t always an environmentally engaged person but had become so inclined because of her husband’s influence and his recent trip.

“I was just every joe blow who would throw a ciggarette butt out but now I think ‘Oh my god I’m contributing to all of this’,” Kari explains of the rubbish she picked up during the stopover in Forster.

“I must admit I’ve become a lot more conscious now especially after Ivan’s trip. We helped out a lot with the guys when we stopped in Port Macquarie. I couldn’t believe the amount of rubbish there. It was disappointing.

“Now, when I see little bits of plastic around I am quick to pick them up because it’s the little bits that are obviously inviting for fish and birds.

“That’s where we really need to see the big picture.”

Mr Midwood said the tour was about making people aware of the negative effects of plastic pollution towards our oceans and wildlife and what can happen if we don’t reduce it.

“It is one of the largest problems around at the moment,” he said.

“Our focus is not to make people think the sky is falling were not trying to be negative about it but we can make a conscious choice to fix it.

“If people support products that work with organisations to clean our beaches up it can change the way things are.

“The labels on products a lot of the time are confusing but people need to realise what they are buying and should look to see what organisations are doing the hard work.”

Mr Silverwood believes that if the South Australia container deposit scheme was rolled out across the country it would dramatically change people’s actions.

“I’m very supportive of changes to legislation. We need to introduce a bottle and can refund system like South Australia, everywhere,” he said.

“We need to recognise that if we incentivize people to do the right thing it can work.”

A large group of locals and visitors took part in an hour long clean-up around Tuncurry beach on Friday January 24. People scoured around the rock wall, beach and dunes.DSC_0669

The clean-up resulted in the collection of more than 400 cigarette butts, 45 plastic bottles, more than 100 glass bottles, 50 aluminium cans and over 60 plastic bags.

Groups also collected several amounts of fishing line, bait bags and 45 pieces of disposable cutlery and plastic straws that were mainly found strewn across the rock wall and on the beach. Mr Silverwood said the rubbish collected weighed in at approximately 70kg.

As part of the tour, Mr Midwood also promoted an innovative Japanese technology which converts plastics into oil and was used to fuel their sailing vessel for the trip.

What you can do to help

Three things we shouldn’t be using in order to help the environment:

1. Single-use plastic bags – take reusable bags to the shops instead.

2. Single-use PET plastic bottles – stainless-steel and corn-plastic water bottles are available.

3. Products packaged with polystyrene and styrofoam – there is no viable way to deal with these plastics once they are thrown away.

If you have never read this it will quite possibly change the way you think about oceans and pollution: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/1848433/the-ocean-is-broken

The next time you’re at the beach why not take three pieces of rubbish with you. You may think it is a minor act but it all helps in the long run.


It’s 2014 – watch this space…

Well..it’s been a while in between surfs and travel and as the first post for 2014 we would like to wish all our lovely Ola Nina followers a brilliant New Year IMG_1105


We thought we would start off with some photos we’ve taken and some we’ve seen this year that we love. Expect bigger and better things from the Ola Nina team this year we are hoping to bring you more profile pieces, yummy recipes and of course travel stories and unique things to see and do.



Stay tuned Ola Nina lovers..watch this space! and here’s to a top year full of waves, sunny days and good times..lots of love L&C xxx



Chicks Sticks – boards by Lola Jade

Lola Jade with her Quiver LargeSouthern Californian woman, Lola Jade is making a difference to the surf industry one board shape at a time.
Lola is the founder of Chick Sticks, a board company which shapes and designs surfboards for women.
From long boards to short, quivers to fishes, Chick Sticks are more than just catchy names and pretty designs.
They offer girl friendly modifications such as the right amount of width and foam to help with paddling, catching waves and duck diving.
Lola has a passion for the water as she does surfboards and stumbled on the concept after realising a strong male dominance in the board industry.

Lola Hoochie Mod XTR Large“ I started buying used ‘guys’ boards and then spray painting them and stickering them up and they looked really cool but they were too hard to surf on,” she said.
“So then I started having custom boards made for me and asking the shapers to experiment with the shape and dimensions.
“I began having an easier time and my friends loved my boards and wanted the same thing I had.
“Girls on the beach that I had never met before wanted to buy my boards that I had made for me and I started selling them.
“Chick Sticks came about out of necessity. I just thought I’m going to take this in to my own hands and make something that’s beautiful and works better for girls.
“Now I offer 20 different shapes and my paint designs are everything from super girly and flowery to very tomboy.”
As Lola hasn’t mastered the art of shaping boards yet, she has employed some of the best guys in the industry who do the hard work for her.
“I just started shaping so this winter when things slow down I can’t wait to get back in the shaping bay,” she said.
“I employ the top shapers locally to shape for me.
“They’ve shaped or still shape for Channel Islands, …Lost, Super, Rusty and other stand out brands so I’m very fortunate.”

Lola Hoochie Mod Beach LargeDespite being an American brand, Lola says Chick Sticks has begun shipping worldwide.
“I’ve been getting orders from France, Japan, Europe, Australia, South America and Canada,” she said.
“I have a great relationship with an International shipping company so I am all set up.
“I just got my first bona fide dealer in Australia so I hope to really grow there like I have here in the States.”

Lola Jade Lifestyle Skate Chick Sticks Zombie Rocket FramedLola has been surfing for the past five years and says her other hobbies include skateboarding, running, yoga, jet skiing and just being active.
Some of her favourite places to surf include Trestles and breaks throughout Southern California.
For more information visit: www.chicksticksbylola.com
Chick Sticks Australia on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChickSticksAustralia

The humble mermaid – Elaine Abonal

Ocean-loving beauty, Elaine Abonal is living proof that great things can happen if you set your mind to it.
The inspiring yet humble 29-year-old was born and bred in the Philippines and has been surfing for about 10 years. Elaine was first introduced to the sport when she was 18 and studying in the US.siargao - august 2013
“I pretty much just got obsessed with it and wanted to do it as often as I could,” she said.
“I love everything about the ocean. I love that I feel at home when I’m in it.
“I love that it teaches me things like courage, perseverance, appreciation of the simple things, beauty and how everything in life is connected.”
Elaine has been lucky enough to turn her love of it into one the best jobs around.
With the support from two pioneer surfers from the Philippines, Elaine launched her own surf company early last year.

IMG_3299From years of surfing and staying at the San Juan Surf Resort in La Union, Philippines, Elaine got to know the owner Brian Landrigan and professional surfer Luke Landrigan.
When Elaine told Brian and Luke about her dream to own and operate a surf tour company in the Philippines, they gave their full support and encouraged her to turn it into a reality.
“They’ve seen me spread the word about surfing and bring my friends and friends of friends on surf trips,” Elaine said.
“On one international trip with them, they told me that I could always do surfing for fun but that it’s also something I can do as my own business.
“ They know that I have the resources, support, and talent so I thought about it and realised that they were right.
“They helped me and I told my friends and family about it.
“I feel very lucky and blessed to of had their encouragement.”

?????????????Elaine now operates Surfista Travels Philippines – a surf tour company that helps surfers and travellers from around the world, men and women, arrange trips such as accommodation, transport, surf lessons and more.
Surfistas September 2012 LUFor most people heading to the country to surf, Manila is the starting point to get to surfing destinations like La Union and Baler.
Elaine said despite Manila being a big city with no beach close by,  a lot of Filipino’s have taken up surfing.
“Manila’s not next to a beach with waves so it’s definitely the concrete jungle,” she said.
“But ALOT of people from Manila, especially the younger crowd, are getting into surfing because many have the resources and money to travel to the surf areas.

“We’re still a long way compared to other countries when it comes to surf culture, but it’s getting more popular every year.
“Many of my Surfista trips are mostly made up of girls, which is pretty cool to see.
“Surfing here used to be an underground culture but now it’s the “cool” thing to do. I’d say it’s much mellow and friendlier in the water compared to other countries.
“It’s so much better to surf here – the locals are friendly, the water is warm, the location is beautiful and it’s fun.”
Elaine says she doesn’t want to label herself as anything she just hopes to promote the Philippines as a beautiful destination to the rest of the world and inspire other like-minded women.
“I don’t really want to name myself as anything, but I do want to be an ambassador for surfing in the Philippines and show the rest of the world that we live in a beautiful country with beautiful people,” she said.

“I also want to be an ambassador for women to show that we chicks CAN surf, we CAN travel and that we CAN do whatever we dream to do.”


101 Best Australian Beaches book

Ola Nina recently chatted with co-author and pioneer surf conservationalist Brad Farmer about his and professor Andy Short’s latest book, 101 Best Australian Beaches.


The two men travelled to every one of Australia’s 11,761 beaches over a 14 year period  to decipher what beaches would make the cut.

To develop a final list, the authors had to step away from their surfing souls and incorporate a list of beaches that everyone could relate to.
After years of research, Brad and Andy accumulated a collection of intellectual and social engagement with Australian communities which allowed them to look at and judge each beach in an entirely different way.
Brad describes the research as a long process but one that has been a worthwhile exercise.
“At the end of the day you can’t please everyone,” Mr Farmer said.
“We had to separate ourselves from our surfing souls and look at them through everyone’s point of view. “For example, we even looked at beaches and swimming holes in the Northern Territory and how Aboriginal communities engaged with beaches up there and in other parts of the country. 
“We looked at beaches as not just a surf zone but a place where people like to walk the dog, have a swim, meditate, find solace, bird watch or engage with marine activities.”
Brad describes the book as a “smorgasbord of beaches” for Australians and visitors, which encompasses 101 alphabetically listed beaches, with detailed information and beautiful photos.
One interesting aspect of the book is that Crescent Head’s beach was the only beach named as a personal favourite by both authors in their top 10 lists.
“Does it make it Australia’s best beach? Well based on the fact that two authors who went into separate rooms and came out agreeing on only one, I’ll leave it up to you,” Brad said.
“To me, Crescent is like an artist has painted a canvas of the perfect visual.
“It just embodies everything an Australian beach should be and it retains its magic because the locals continue to look after it.”
Professor Short has dedicated his life to the study of coastal geomorphology and is considered a beach expert, while Mr Farmer’s life has been shaped by the surfing industry, as the co-writer of the first Surfing Guide to Australia (1985) and the founder of the Australian Surfrider Foundation as well as National Ocean Care Day. 
Mr Farmer said the idea for the book came about after both authors realised they had come up with a gimmick. 
“There was nothing like it out there and we thought it was time in the development of this nation that we have a national conversation of what beaches mean to us,” he said.“We felt that we were the two most authoritative people to come up with a list, we’ve travelled the Australian coastline since the 1960s.”For more information and to purchase the book visit: www.101bestbeaches.com
Or you can like the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/101BestBeaches

Carly Chivers – Soul Surfer

Carly Chivers is a 26-year-old surfer and yoga instructor living in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua. Although she was born in landlocked Winnipeg, Carly has been living and surfing in Nicaragua for two years.

733985_10152721566030293_1748052942_nShe currently works as a yoga teacher and a surf guide for the local surf lodge and runs yoga retreats with Papaya Wellness. I caught up with her at the local internet-café to have a smoothie and talk about living the dream in this little costal town.

“I came here on a surf trip. I was planning on living in Costa Rica and teaching yoga for a few months but I started my surfing trip here. Playa Gigante was that place that I’ve always been looking for, it’s still really raw and untouched. Since I got here, I just haven’t been able to leave.”

Carly loves to surf and although she’s softly spoken, she speaks with heartfelt enthusiasm when she talks about her home break. One of her favorite things about her new home is the waves along the stretch of beach known to locals as Playa Amarillo (which means Yellow Beach in Spanish).


“Surfing at Amarillio, is just so beautiful. When I think about all the incredible sunset surfs I’ve had there and paddling around the point in the evening when the water is all lit up with phosphorous. It’s like, ‘where am I’?’ This place is magical.”

Carly learned to surf 6 years ago. Whilst in-between semesters at college. She traveled to Europe where she learnt how to surf on the Algarve coastline in Portugal.


“As soon as I started I fell in love with it. After that I kept traveling south. I stayed on the coast and surfed everyday. I spent a month in Morocco just surfing and experiencing this new passion.”

Growing up in Winnipeg, her college was in a small town 2 hours away.

“It was completely landlocked and in the middle of the prairies. My parents used to take us to the ocean on holiday and I always had this love affair. I would cry when we left.”

Her love affair with the ocean was what inspired her to paddle out for the first time in Portugal.

“I stood up the first wave I ever caught and it was the most incredible thing in the world, I didn’t even stand up for the rest of the day. But I kept trying. There’s nothing else like it.”

These days Carly surfs everyday. Whether she is taking clients on surf trips to the beautiful breaks surrounding Playa Gigante, or just paddling out on her day off she is living her dream of being one with the ocean.

“Ever since I started surfing I’ve felt that it’s a lot like meditation. You’re on the wave and you are literally being moved by nature. You are connected and present. Surfing is a blissful form of meditation – there’s no time for inner struggle during surfing. It’s a totally unique feeling.”


Carly likes to meditate and use her yoga practice to learn more about herself and her place in the world. Surfing  also helps her get in touch with her focus.

“It’s finding those things that offer you that sense of peace and connectedness that is really important.”


It’s no wonder that after attending her first yoga class with her mum at 13, Carly is now a qualified yoga instructor. Together she and her friend India run Papaya Wellness, a yoga, health and wellness retreat in Playa Gigante (you can find out more about it here).


Carly laughs about what her parents think of her living in rural Nicaragua.

“They love it, they are really proud of me because I’ve always had this dream of starting a wellness business and now we are actually doing it. I’m feeling happy and fulfilled and they are happy for me, but they are also like, “Nicaragua?”

After talking with Carly, you get a sense of her huge heart and her passion for health and wellness. She has a beautiful energy and when you take one of her yoga classes you leave feeling refreshed and empowered. She’s not only a positive influence on the town of Gigante, but spreads a great vibe to everyone she meets.

It is with great pleasure that I can announce – Carly is going to be contributing to Ola Niña, giving us health, wellness and surfing tips when she can! Welcome Carly and we can’t wait to spend more time with you. 🙂

If you’d like to find out more about Carly and Papaya Wellness, you can check out their website: www.papayawellness.com

By Carmen Angerer