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


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.


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

India Reinartz – Wellness Tips

Our resident Yogi, India Reinartz, has some awesome tips to help keep you healthy, happy and wise. IMG_1077fx-1024x682
India’s Top 5 Tips for Overall Wellness:

1) drink lots of water – drink as much as you can!

2) Keep your attitude positive – don’t let negative energy bring you down.

3) Live on the edge and get a little crazy – we all need to let our hair down and keeping your lifestyle balanced is key!

4) Eat a balanced diet, don’t skip meals. Learn to understand what your body needs to eat for nourishment.

photo 4
5) Take rest and use your creative energy in whatever way you can. Feed your mind with wonderful stimulation and your positivity will flow!

We hope you’ve enjoyed these 5 fabulous tips by India! You can read more of India’s surfing and lifestyle tips by staying tuned to Ola and keeping an eye on India’s website: www.papayawellness.com

Getting to know: Tarnea O’Meara

Sunshine Coast shredder Tarnea O’Meara may only be 19 years old but she is already turning heads out in the line up with her mature and impressive style.

The young, blonde bombshell has a passion for the outdoors, but her favourtie things to do are hiking  mountains and surfing solid waves in Australia and exotic destinations overseas. Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 9.14.29 PM

She’s got a happy-go-lucky attitude and loves nothing more than the coastline she calls home.

Tarnea recently spoke with Ola Nina to explain what it is about surfing she just can’t get enough of….

Q & A with Tarnea

How long have you been surfing for?
Three years

What age did you start?
I started surfing when I was 16. Before that, my dad tried to put me on a board when I was young but I didn’t like it. Now I can’t get enough of it!

What do you love about it?
I love the feeling it gives you, whether you get the best barrel, or make the best turn, you are always stoked for the people you are with or the wave you just got. It’s a sport that changes every day you can never surf the same wave so it keeps you on your toes ready for the next one. It’s also my form of exercise instead of paying for the gym, I’ll go surfing!

Do you have any sponsors at the moment or have you been approached by any?
Right now I am with a small clothing company called Rue Stiic and a health food and information company called Changing Habits. But I am always seeking out sponsors to help me and for me to help them. It’s always nice to have that extra support from them, every little bit counts.

225841_206945842671809_100000691852103_632126_569903_nWhere are your favourite places to surf?
Anywhere where there’s not a crowd but if I had to choose, Durranbah, Canggu, Ulluwatu and home. There is nothing like surfing at home along the coast line like the Noosa Points all the way to Wurtulla.

What board are you riding?
I’m riding Hammo (Dane Hamilton) surfboards right now and I love them. Dane really helps me with my boards and what’s right for me. They range from a 5’5 to 5’7.

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 9.15.04 PM

Do you have any other hobbies other than surfing?
Food if that counts, scuba diving, music, dancing (not the class or choreographed type), being weird and snowboarding. If I’m not near a beach, I’m up in the mountains.

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 6.02.01 PM

By Lauren White

Surf profile….Alison Bailey

Originally from Victoria, Alison is someone who was very new to the world of surfing until her discovery of the sport two years ago.

A Geelong girl through and through, her love of surfing came to her when she moved further north to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

The move into a warmer climate and a popular surf culture inspired Alison to give surfing a go.

“I start surfing two years ago,” she said.

“The first time I surfed was at Noosa Heads while on a lesson with three close friends.

“I was immediately hooked. The adrenaline of paddling to catch a wave and the even bigger high of standing on my fifth attempt was sensational.”

Following on from her first lesson, Alison was so ‘surf hooked’ that she decided to dedicate practicing her surfing skills just about every weekend.

“I eventually purchased my own board (mini mal 7 foot 4),” she said.

“I would then take trips up to Noosa or surf at Alex Headland with friends.”

Looking back on her transition, Alison says her move to the Sunshine Coast has opened her up to new things especially her new found love of surfing.

“I think my favourite time of year to surf would have to be spring, the waters clear and it starts to get warmer,” she said.

“Surfing is a great hobby that I wish I found earlier in my life.”

Some of Alison’s other hobbies include dancing, exercising, eating out, travelling and reading.
Cheers for the interview with Ola Nina Alison and happy surfing 🙂