Beach lover and travelling enthusiast, Candy Tomkins and her amazing new venture.
I met Candy whilst being involved with a charity called The Wave Project which provides free surf lessons to individuals with disabilities. The moment I met Candy I could tell she was full of life and ambition…
When did you first start practising yoga?
I started yoga a couple of years ago, my sister introduced me but I didn’t really connect with it that well. I started classes and then moved on to my own practice where I found I could be more creative and more energetic with my yoga. Then I really started to practice every day.
How has yoga changed your life?
Yoga has changed everything about my life, it’s changed my mindset, my body and the way I live everyday. It has taught me so much; to embrace life at it’s fullest, to go with the flow and to trust in the world. I don’t worry or stress as much. I am a much happier person (if that was possible) and yoga has taken me on a path that feels completely right. It’s also made me stronger and healthier but that’s just a bonus.
Do you surf and do you recommend yoga to help surfers progress? if so, why?
I do surf a little, I love being in the sea. And YES yoga is probably the best thing for surfing, or for any sport at all. You learn all about the muscles your using, the ones your not, your weak areas, your strong areas and you become so much more flexible meaning a better range of movement for whatever sport.
In surfing, opening the shoulders and hips can improve movement when in the water. And you need all the movement you can get. It also engages your core, meaning faster pop ups and generally stronger movements all round. A lot of yoga poses also use the exact same muscles we use in surfing, so it’s perfect to strengthen the right areas. Oh and your balance improves crazy amounts!
Which yoga poses do you recommend for surfers?
All of them! But if I was to specify, any hip openers so lizard pose, pigeon pose and lotus. Eagle pose is great for balance and the shoulders. Downward dog is the pose of all poses.
Philly’s Surf & Yoga Retreat is called ‘Wild and Free Retreats’ featuring professional surfer Alan Stokes as surf instructor and Philly as yoga teacher. Retreats are in tropical locations like Morocco and Costa Rica! Lush.
Visit their website for more information: http://www.wildandfreeretreats.com/
Thanks Philly, we love you!
[Philly tells us…]
‘The physical side to yoga expels toxins, re-energizes the body, increases mobility, posture, brings relief to many chronic conditions, creates stronger bones and helps matain a healthy weight and lifestyle…
Mentally, the breathing relaxes the mind, helps to release any blockage of energy flow throughout the body, lowers stress level, promotes a feeling of peace, improves focus and concentration, and helps to stay centred throughout life.’
Phillly Lewis is a yoga teacher, freelance photographer, surfer, wanderer and just an absolutely beautiful person inside and out.
We met through being involved with The Wave Project, a charity who teach individuals to surf who suffer from anxiety and mental health, using surfing as a therapy.
Philly is based in Cornwall sponsored by Animal UK. Philly is constantly travelling for her love of work and sharing her passions whilst working with many established brands.
[Morocco and Costa Rica…]
Philly and her partner Alan Stokes (sponsored surfer) are running Surf & Yoga Retreats in Morocco and Costa Rica. Take a peek here.
Surf Coach, Gemma Harris tells us how she made a career from surfing which is of course every surfers dream…
Hi Gemma! Where did you grow up and who introduced you to surfing?
‘I was brought up in South Wales in a surfing family, my dad made surfboards, my brother a champion shortboarder and longboarder and my mum was my lift to the beach and beach babe.
I therefore grew up loving the ocean and the beach. I’d go on lots of surf trips up and down Europe with my parents.’
Have you always been a surfer?
‘No actually. I competed at international and national level as a competitive bodyboarder, my highest rankings being 10th in the world and 2nd in Europe.
I travelled all over the world to compete; Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Morocco, and central America to name just a few.’
What was it that gave you the motivation to keep getting into the water?
‘Having a twin brother who surfed gave me my competitive drive and at the age of 19 (relatively late), I started surfing more than bodyboarding. I felt I’d got to the peak of bodyboarding and wanted a new challenge in the water.’
So you’ve converted from a sponger to a surfer forever?
‘I love surfing, I feel like I’m constantly learning and I have a completely different view of the wave from bodyboarding. However, if the waves get huge and it’s a 6ft hollow dredging peak on a slab, I’d take out my body board, but I’m a total convert to surfing these days.’
Has surfing continued to take you all over the world like bodyboarding did?
‘Travelling comes hand in hand with surfing and I’m forever grateful for the opportunities surfing has given me.
Of course travel is not cheap so to help fund my travels, I began lifeguarding the beaches of Cornwall, it gave me the chance to train and surf all summer. This is the closet thing to being paid to surf :-).’
How has surfing changed your life?
‘I felt I wanted to give back to surfing and show others what surfing has shown me; opportunity, lifestyle and most of all fun.
I trained and coached the Jr Welsh team and got involved with developing a local surf lifesaving club.
I also started my own surf school in Cornwall. The Surf School and I got involved with the Wave Project UK, which was in the very beginning stages of starting up one of the most rewarding surf schemes I’ve been involved with. The Wave Project supports children from difficult backgrounds to experience surfing and escape the everyday. It was a great success.’
After a few years the travel bug bit again, so I left the surf school and headed for tropical shores; Hawaii, Sri Lanka, Australia and Indonesia.
What are you doing at the moment?
‘I have been travelling and working for Outer Reef, my fiancée’s company all over Europe. I have been training new ISA coaches and SLSGB lifesaving to become surf coaches at the best surf camps in Europe.
As well as this, I have been doing some private coaching in the Channel Islands. I also coach all levels at the Outer Reef Surf and SUP school in Pembrokeshire Wales.’
As a Female surfer, do you have any female specific retreats?
‘Yes. Outer Reef runs a women’s only surf & sup weekend that is aimed at all abilities. These weekends are run in a friendly, safe and laid back environment with top quality equipment supplied by Billabong.
…I love working with the ladies, it sometimes feels like I don’t have a job!’
What other hobbies do you have?
‘I enjoy Yoga and Stand up Paddle boarding around the coast of west Wales as part of my amazing job, and generally being active outside.
I love the Ocean and love to surf so I guess I’m living the dream. :)’
All dates for the women’s weekends and ISA coaching / beach lifeguard awards can be found on the Web site www.outerreefsurfschool.com