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.

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“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).

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.”

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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.”

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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).

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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

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India Reinartz – Duck Dive Diva

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As a surfer and yoga instructor, India Rineartz is passionate about health and wellness. She’s going to be joining us on Ola Niña to share her tips on how we can live, eat and surf better.

I met India in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua where she lives and works as a yoga instructor. As we discuss her home, she smiles:

“Playa Gigante is a gorgeous little fishing village, surrounded by jungle and close to lots of waves. It’s a third world country and there are always issues that come with that, but I love it here.”

It is here, in this beautiful setting, that India and her friend Carly started their wellness center, Papaya Wellness, 2 years ago.  As well as running regular yoga classes and yoga/surf retreats, the girls spend time working with the local community.

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“We educate the local women on health and exercise. We run fitness and yoga classes weekly, which are free of cost. We run health workshops a few times a year to educate the village women about balanced diets using healthy local produce”.

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India believes that education is the best way for local women and their children to maintain good health in years to come.

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“What we learn mentally and physically manifests in our lives and our health. We use this to help improve their lives and the lives of their families.”

After living in Nicaragua for 5 years, India has seen a lot of change.

“We’re living here. It’s a mutual thing, we are friends with the locals, we give to each other it’s the only way to make growth sustainable here and give local women more opportunities.”

When she isn’t teaching yoga or motivating the local ladies in a cross fit class, India is surfing.

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“My favorite break here is Colorado’s (a chunky beach break) because it’s constantly challenging me. It’s always pitching me over the falls no matter how confident I am. It’s very humbling”.

Despite being known as one of Playa Gigante’s best female surfers, India didn’t grow up surfing. She was born in Jamaica and later moved with her parents to Canada, where she grew up and went to school. She caught her first wave at the age of 15.

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“It was at Chesterman’s beach out in Tofino, on the West Coast of British Colombia. I was wearing a 5ml wetsuit. My uncle lent me his old school 10ft bomby board (it was 80’s splash retro colored). It was built for Waikiki outer surf breaks. I would haul that board around with me on local buses, in taxis, anywhere I could get them to let me.”

“The first time I paddled out it felt natural, it was exciting and challenging and I was hooked straight away. I stood up and I was hooked.”

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“At first I surfed by myself, my parents would take me down and wait on the beach for me. Then I was taught by this total babe, who was 10 years older than me, his name was Adam and I had a crazy crush on him.”

“After that, I would surf the south island, close to Victoria every weekend, with some for my best girl friends. We had little surfer girl posse, we called ourselves the Blue Crushing It Team. [Laughs]”.

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Part of the reason India now teaches yoga is because she feels that surfing and yoga create a similar peace of mind.

“I got into yoga, not necessarily to teach, but to get away and learn about myself, my body and my journey. I found it helps me reflect, it’s a different experience to surfing but ultimately it’s same energy. It’s really positive and after I finish my practice I feel strong, focused and grounded. “

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It’s also the reason she now runs her own wellness center.

“Because I love what I do, I put my energy into teaching people. The focus yoga and surfing give me, helps me move forward with my goal of bringing people a transformative experience at Papaya Wellness.”

When it comes to how she feels right now, India is a bundle of positivity. Her love of surfing, yoga and health have given her focus to keep creating positive change in rural Nicaragua through the things she loves.

“I feel charged, able, empowered and motivated as a single woman creating a sustainable business here. I want local women to be a part of the process. It feels right and it feels real. I feel alive because I know I’m creating change for the better.”

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Apart from being a ripping surfer and a yoga goddess, India is just generally an enjoyable person to be around. We hope you enjoy her input into Ola Niña and that you can one day make it to Nicaragua to surf with her and the other women at Playa Gigante!