Kitesurfing Lanka: PARADISE INSIDE!
Sri Lanka: A trip to our second home place. Nuffin is more beautiful.
Nuffinz goes Sri Lanka: Wind, waves and water as a perfect scenery. Adventure, community and food, tea plantations and sunsets. What else? Nuffinz and we at one of the best kite spots in the world, already for the third time. Come along!
Yes, we are back at our second home place, we are finally here: We have arrived at Kitesurfing Lanka in Sri Lanka.
What a wonderful feeling!
After such a long time (ok, actually, only one year ;-) we are finally back again to stick our feet in the sand and our head in the wind. And today, the wind is blowing quite strong, as we can tell by our frizzy hairdos.
But our involuntary totally-wasted-look could also be a result from our trip: After all, we flew a total ten hours from our Nuffinz brand headquarters in Austria (we took a direct flight via Zurich to Colombo) and drove another three – here, to the other end of the world, right into paradise: to Kitesurfing Lanka, a kitesurfing camp in Kalpitiya, in the north of Sri Lanka.
The blue gate: Where the magic starts.
As its ocean blue gate closes behind us at our arrival, we read the promise "Paradise Inside!" on it. We drive through the gate with a jumping heart and are crossing our fingers. Cause that's usually the moment when the Kitesurfing Lanka magic starts – and only stops again when we leave the camp. But will this also be the case for our third visit? Will Kitesurfing Lanka give us the same luck again? Letting us meet special people from all over the planet again? Who will not only become Nuffinz models but end up as good friends, buddies or even Nuffinz ambassadors?
We are curious.
But first of all, we have to unpack our things, relax a little and go to say hello to our Kitesurfing Lanka family!
A welcome smile & happy faces.
Back to the essential: relaxing. And this is what we do right now!
With a glass of cold Sinhalese beer in our hands, the feet in the sand and the head in the wind we are waiting. It doesn't take long and we meet the kite camp crowd, who are flying in from their kitesurfing session at the Kalpitiya Lagoon.
Their bright eyes and happy faces tells it all: They had the most perfect kitesurfing day :)
Straight away we head for the most important point of the camp: the bar. Here we meet a very special person when it comes to good vibes only and making the best drinks: Rajitha "Raji" Lasantha! This is not only the man with the most honest and inspiring permanent smile. But also the one who runs the bar (with his colleague, the great Sebastian) and beautifies the kite camp with his art.
First morning: Waking up in paradise!
Wakeup, wakeup! The first morning for us in paradise, and we are happy and thankful that we have another fourteen more nights (and days) to come.
Cause waking up at Kitesurfing Lanka means many wonderful things, for example,
- a soft, warm wind blowing early through the palm trees above our garden bungalow
- Chipmunks, who flit through the beams with their super sweet bushy tails
- The crowing of the jet-black birds outside
- The sun, which makes the deep blue sky shine
And all this already starting at half-past six a.m. For early risers like Nuffinz founder Andreas, this means: Getting out of bed, do some yoga, then grab yourself a tasty breakfast (tip: Try their homemade omelets “tutti completti” Sri Lanka style. Super tasty!) … and then?
Do whatever you like!
- take a walk on the beach
- turn on the laptop
- have good conversations
- try slack lining
- meet new Kite-Buddies
- hang out in the hammock
- breed over the wind forecast for today
- get a massage at the Kitesurfing Lanka Spa
- have a cappuccino at the bar from and with Raji
- watch dolphins (Tip: Take a boat tour! The staff of Kitesurfing Lanka will be very helpful to organize)
- or simply go back to your bungalow, have a seat at your little terrace and have a good read
- No matter what you wanna do with your mornings: At Kitesurfing Lanka you have plenty of possibilities. And even if this special time feels kind of the “same” every day, it is definitely not! You will appreciate this time for just hanging around, doing anything or even nothing. These hours are super chilled, filled with a lot of laughter and a lot of beautiful encounters, we can guarantee you that :-)
Take a shop at "Unhooked".
Speaking of the word beautiful: Here we come to the clothes that Jos and John carry in their little Kitesurfing Lanka shop named “Unhooked”.
And NO, we don't say that because our Nuffinz shorts are available there ;-)
But their shop with the sea-turquoise doors gathers even more than board shorts, surf shirts, selected accessories, and wonderful beach clothes. Besides, there's also a lot of good humor there, furthermore the shop is a meeting point, a contact point and a place to hang out. That's how it is, and that's good.
If you know Jos and John, you know what we are talking about ;-)
But most important: That's the place where you can buy new and used kites, get excellent advice, too, and find everything you need. All you have to do is ask Jos and John - they will be very happy to help you. And along the way you will meet two people who truly live their dream and have an super interesting story, too.
Say hello to the founders of Kitesurfing Lanka.
Two very special guys, who also live their dream, are Leo Morét and Dilsiri Welikala. They are not only the founders of Kitesurfing Lanka but also friends. Or soulmates. Or simply kite crazy people with a purpose in common :-)
When we meet Leo and Dil by chance at the "Unhooked" surf shop, they immediately start talking to us. And one thing is clear: These two do what they do (running the Kitesurfing Lanka) with full commitment, with all the consequences, with all the ups and downs such a venture brings.
But, how does that work, we ask ourselves?
Because Leo and Dil are actually two completely different people – at least as far as their story is concerned.
When a Sinhalese and a French guy meet ...
One of them, Dilsiri Welikala, is a Sinhalese and worked in the textile business before the foundation of Kitesurfing Lanka. The other, Leo Morét, is a french guy and is the man with the dreads and the numbers man at Kitesurfing Lanka.
But what unites the two of them, in a double sense, is their greatest ever since love for kitesurfing!
When the two kitesurfers of the first hour got to know each other ten years ago via Dil's kiteboarding blog, it quickly became clear: these two guys want to get something going – in the truest sense of the word. Their dream of combining their passion for kitesurfing with running their own kite camp in the north of Sri Lanka was not only born but decided.
You have to know: At that time Sri Lanka was almost unknown for kitesurfing, so it was only for insiders.
“Natural beaches directly at the sea, wind speeds up to 7 Bft, as well as two kite seasons from September to February and May to June – simply perfect”, Sri Lanka's first certified IKO Kite Instructor Dil remembers these early days.
The two quit their jobs, found their dream property, looked for investors, rolled up their sleeves and got going. “There was nothing there but hundreds of coconut trees. That's it. But we knew that our dream had to come true just right here and nowhere else. The kite spot was and is still perfect”, says Dil.
What developed out of the almost literal “nothing” (Leo's comment: “Not quite, because the numerous coconut trees are golden shadows, which pile up everywhere in Kitesurfing Lanka”), is today a kitesurfing camp, which on Tripadvisor not for nothing has the title “No. One Kitesurfing Camp Sri Lanka”.
Why this is more than true to us?
Well, we are a little bit biased, because we are a little bit in love, we have to admit. But, for us, Kitesurfing Lanka has everything you need for a good kitesurfing holiday: lots of sun, lots of wind, lots of special people and special encounters.
Even if you are a non-kiting person or just your other half is a kiter: this place is for everyone who searches for a good time.
A team like nowhere else.
In addition to that, Kitesurfing Lanka has the most wonderful staff, which you can only find here.
For example, we have Raji, the happiest bar man in the world. Or Tikiri, the one with the long mane, the funny flap and with a distinct doer mentality. Then we have Tilak, the hard-working whirler, the fisherman and since day one at Leo's and Dil's side.
And above all, we have Kite School Manager Mischi - Sri Lanka's first and most experienced kitesurfing instructor. He is a Swiss with a precise watch, the kite always at the hard end and is rarely seen without his dogs. Also get to meet Ruwantha, the music lover and DJ, the organizer, and man in the background.
But no matter which one of these great guys you meet at Kitesurfing Lanka: they are part of the family - just like us. And if you don't recognize them right away: just look at the shorts they're wearing.
If they are wearing a striped Nuffinz short, you are definitely at the right man ;-)
Material battle and 18 knots.
Where we are just right: here and now. Because the wind is getting stronger! That means at the same time: It must be around 12.30 o'clock at noon – so it's time for a super delicious lunch!
The buffet at Kitesurfing Lanka offers everything that makes kiters (as well as non-kiters!) hearts beat faster: colorful salads, typical Sinhalese delicacies like Rice and Curry, hoppers and Kottu, mixed with European food, fresh fish caught by local fishermen every morning, delicious desserts and much more.
Now the bustle starts!
At the big wooden tables we eat, cackle, brood over the "Windfinder" or other wind forecast apps and discuss with kite instructor Michi how strong the wind will blow today.
A good 18 knots are announced for this afternoon. So, let's go - the trucks are already packed with boards, bars and gliders. Material battle at its best!
Time for a kitesurfing session in paradise.
It's 13.30 o'clock – time for all the kiters to meet at the kite storage in the camp. From there we drive together with two trucks to the Kalpitiya Lagoon.
The relaxed drive over bumpy roads takes only about 15 minutes. Through the village, past the sea, along the beach, between donkeys and cows and locals waving us friendly, our troop rumbles to an amazing flat water spot that is second to none.
Wind safety? Check! Here, on the Puttalam Peninsula, with an average wind speed of 18 to 20 knots, it is even equal to Brazil - with two long kite seasons, from September to February (where there is often good wind in the morning) and from May to June.
And there it is again: We see the Indian Ocean to our left, the Kalpitiya Lagoon to our right and in front of us a lot of kites in the beautiful blue sky, carrying both beginners and advanced kitesurfers through the air.
Wow, what a dream day today! We unpack our size 9 kite, layout the lines and launch it.
Others do the same with their foil board and others give some well instructed kite lessons. One of them is Zac Andrews, one of the coolest kite surfers on the spot and a permanent member of the kitesurfing community. He is a Kitesurfing Lanka kite instructor, photographer and team rider for Core Kites. With his better half Franzi, who is also a kite instructor in the camp and a power pack with beaming laughter, they will show you:
Kitesurfing can be passion – and love – combined :-)
One of our first Nuffinz bro's.
Who you absolutely have to meet when you are at Kitesurfing Lanka: Hamid Belkhiri. Hamid is a very gifted kitesurfer and a kite instructor at Kitesurfing Lanka. But beside that, Hamid is a Nuffinz fan, he is one of our ambassadors and a Nuffinz model of the very first hour!
This guy is pure joyness and he is also a crazy, life-loving dude with an absolute faible for fashion :) But behind our good-looking “Beau” from Morocco with the well trained body there is a lot more. For example, a great heartiness, great professionalism, crazy good kitesurfing skills (and he even shows you very cool tricks and gives you good jokes, too).
To make a long story short: Hamid, Bro, keep up the spirit of the Nuffinz family :-)
A downwinder & many happy faces.
Later in the day: Happy, happy, happy!
Our body is still full of adrenalin, but at the same time, we are exhausted. Even if we don't feel our arms anymore, we have the best of all kite feelings after a fantastic session!
From the Kalpitiya Lagoon, we kited out to the open sea today - with a meeeeega downwinder to the shore of Kitesurfing Lanka. And from there we went even to the small lagoon, the kitesurf camps own "Donkey Point", with a rich sunset and a warm evening breeze.
Just before the blue hour spreads its magic at the Kitesurfing Lanka, the sun slowly sets and little by little they all arrive:
Dil and Leo, the founders of Kitesurfing Lanka. Then, crazy Karen, who at 72 years old is still kitesurfing like a young girl. We see Frederic, the German doctor, a wandering kitesurfing encyclopedia and a Nuffinz Ambassador. We meet Richard from New Zealand - better said the "Kiwi Wave Rider", and also a Nuffinz ambassador. And of course, all the others who complete this crazy Kitesurfing Lanka bunch.
Reward of the day: A dreamlike sunset.
After such an amazing kitesurfing day the question is:
What’s left to do now?
And the answer is: Thanks god, nuffin'!
Except taking all of our kite stuff to the kite storage in the camp, then take a shower in our open air bathroom at our garden bungalow, chill out a little bit on the terrace, put on a pair of Nuffinz shorts and take off to the bar to our friend Raji!
There we grab a cool beer and walk barefoot in the sand to our magic place: The famous little bridge of Kitesurfing Lanka. No narrower path leads from paradise to it and back again, that much is clear.
Our reward: A dreamlike sunset and the secure feeling to have done everything right today.
Kitesurfing Lanka: "Plastic is not fantastic".
Two, who also did everything right, are Leo and Dil (the owner of Kitesurfing Lanka). In a double sense. They are real people who also recognize real problems and who not only appreciate nature but also protect it where they can.
That is why an essential factor of the Kitesurfing Lanka camp philosophy is: "Plastic is not fantastic". But whoever knows them knows: there is more to it than that. That's why the whole kite camp is not only eco-friendly but also pioneering in the field of "ecologically aware tourism".
In plain language, this means: building a more environmentally conscious travel industry in Sri Lanka.
"Our goal is to reduce the CO2 footprint and become a zero-waste camp", Dilsiri explains to us. That's why at Kitesurfing Lanka there are no plastic bottles but only glass bottles for reuse, that's why the food comes exclusively from the locals and the fields around the camp, that's why mangroves are planted, animal projects are supported, the beaches are cleaned from pollution and much more.
Therefore, Dilsiri travels a lot through the island of Sri Lanka, but also to environmental summits in Europe (for example to the World Cleanup Day 2020 in Berlin) or Australia to speak about this topic.
"The green Initiative": Sustainable in any way.
But it is not enough for him to just talk about sustainability. He likes to do things - and he does a lot. Under the umbrella of the "Kite Green Initiative", the Kitesurfing Lanka bundles all environmental and community activities.
Because for Dilsiri the connection between both worlds is important - sport, i.e. kitesurfing, on the one side and his beloved home country Sri Lanka with its natural treasures and beauties on the other.
But also the appreciation and the relationship to the local community, i.e. the villagers or the neighbors, are very important to him. Therefore, for example, all the foods like fish, meat or vegetables for the Kitesurfing Lanka are coming from local farmers and fishermen.
"Also we have never owned our own truck, van or boat. Almost everyone who works for us or supplies us comes from our local community", Leo tells us.
The #1 equipment: Mother nature.
It is the heart and focus that drives the 37-year-old. It is his passion and energy that he brings not only to Kitesurfing Lanka but to life itself. What counts for him is the big picture - and above all, the many small steps that are necessary to achieve a goal.
"Kitesurfing is just the greatest thing for a kiter - you know what I mean?”, Dil asks us.
Sure we do ;-).
“But even bigger is mother nature because without her there would be no kitesurfing. Therefore it is only logical for us to deeply take care of our most important 'equipment', nature, and take responsibility", Dil explains.
Bang, that's it! He got it right, we think.
By the way, also "The Guardian", who listed Kitesurfing Lanka as one of the most sustainable kitesurfing camps in Sri Lanka. For sure, a very nice compliment for the sustainability expert Dilsiri Welikala and his business partner Leo Morét.
But for us personally, it is the clarity that we are in the right place. With ourselves, with our Kitesurfing Lanka family, with our decision to come here for the third time and - with our label Nuffinz.
Today is Nuffinz day: It's shooting time!
Today is the day! We wake up early. We are slightly nervous, a little bit insane inside (like the chipmunks on our bungalow roof), but even so full-on. The reason: The shooting for our new 100% organic cotton Nuffinz shorts is coming up!
And we wonder if we'll have the same luck the second time?
If we will be able to produce cool shots – again without professional models
Whether the people we didn't even know a few days ago will show up on time?
One thing is clear: If a label has to ask itself such questions, it certainly didn't plan a big-budget production. That's right, we simply didn't (or better couldn't yet).
But hey, nuffin' is more powerful than a good purpose!
And our purpose is to provide you with the most comfortable After-Board-Shorts in the world. It's that simple. So we have to step on the gas and shit on all these mega extra marketing spendings and a million-dollar campaign.
Nuffinz ambassadors: Strangers who become friends.
But even if we had the money, we couldn't buy what we're getting out of that anyway: Strangers who become friends and even a part of our Nuffinz family!
And the fact that there is “only” Nuffinz shorts as a model fee is thankfully exactly the right currency (we wouldn't have another one anyway ;-).
And bang, there it is again - the Nuffinz spirit that has accompanied us since the beginning of our idea. Yes, it works again! And God thanks, the Photographer even made it from Colombo on time.
Let's go for it! And as a result we are high.
The colorful group around our Nuffinz models Hamid (Marocco), Raji (Sri Lanka), Roberto (Italy) and Richard (New Zealand) is ready to rumble! The Nuffinz fashion shoot can start.
We are equipped with everything that our narrow gauge budget allows: With our Gopro Hero 8, our little storyboard, photographer Kassun, many liters of water and a bunch of cool and crazy guys who love the Nuffinz shorts and live by the motto:
'Do one thing every day that scares you' ;-)
When the shooting under the hot sun is over, we are content. More than that, we are almost high! Because even the raw material of the Nuffinz shooting shows us what a great time we had – again!
It also showed us what can happen when it clicks. And all the great things that happen when we are on the road with Nuffinz – exactly where we belong: to the coolest fun-, surf-, sports-, adventure- or city-locations in the world. And to people who may well be our Nuffinz ambassadors tomorrow.
Time to do nuffin' at THE BNKR!
Now that the shooting pictures are in the can and we are completely finished, we are ready to enjoy some super delicious food at THE BNKR. The "Bunker" is an open gym with sea breeze and view, a café with delicious food from the morning till the evening (tip: taste the homemade lime cheesecake!) as well as a coworking place.
Vicky Pester is the woman behind the concept "mix of cool people, fast Wifi, chilled vibes, and healthy food". Furthermore, The BNKR is Sri Lanka's first Beachside-Gym ever! And the best thing: it is just a two minutes walk away from the Kitesurfing Lanka on the other side of its bridge.
We won't be busting our asses today, but hey, maybe that will come.
If so, we would have the choice of CrossFit, Calisthenics, Mobility, Primal Fitness, Barbell or Kettlebell Club. Or different body-, relax- or yoga themed classes.
But now we prefer to concentrate on homemade pizza, colorful tacos, smoothies and juices and the ingenious and best-spiced latte in the world. At the BNKR you can find a lot of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free food. Prepared right in front of us in the open kitchen - and forbidden tasty.
Now it's time to hang out, chill, chillax - call it as you want.
We call it: Just nuffin' to do. Awesome ;-)
The BNKR lady who sticks to her dreams.
Who, on the other hand, really has to do a lot is Vicky. The bright young lady from good old Britain with the cheeky blue eyes and the charming smile not only cooks herself, but she also does nearly everything by herself. And that’s a lot! From developing the BNKR concept from scratch to daily things like shopping, marketing, staffing and much more.
We are flabbergasted, we admit because we are pretty tough.
We realize that here, too, someone has realized his dream. Did someone do what he had to do, although it's his first time with many things concerning running such a project.
And, most important: she has prevailed with her vision – no matter what.
And as a young label with a wild past, we know what this means!
The BNKR: Chill, work and work out.
"In my former job life, I was traveling the world a lot. I was at home in the area of marketing for tourism destinations and airlines. On none of my travels, which were always connected with my job, I found what I needed to connect everything: a nice place to chill out, which is directed by the sea, with good and healthy food, where you can work, co-work or do your business. And combine all those things with sports to stay fit. That's when the doorbell rang, so to say, and the idea, my vision, was there. And that's when I knew that I have immediately three things to do:
find the right place for my vision,
quit my current job
and get an investor on board," Vicky laughs.
"It wasn't easy to start, to be honest, so I didn't always feel like laughing like I do today. But it was worth fighting and staying on. In the end, the plan worked: We are here and we are open!", a happy Vicky tells us.
And that's more than good news, because THE BNKR is the perfect addition to Kitesurfing Lanka, or the extension, as you might see it.
In any case, we make our daily round from the camp over the bridge to the beach to THE BNKR - and back over the bridge to the bar and back to our bungalow at Kitesurfing Lanka.
Meeting the Italian Steve McQueen.
Where we also go regularly: to our friend, Nuffinz-Ambassador and Italy-Connection Roberto. And guys, let us tell you one thing: there is nobody (!) in Sri Lanka who idolizes making pasta like he does. In the cozy garden of his Ceylon Kite Ranch, there are ten medium-sized, very nice cabanas with their own bathroom and front garden - the rest belongs to the sweetest cat on the planet (the undisputed boss there ;-)
Staying at Ceylon Kite Ranch is a very lovely experience and with Roberto, you have kind of a private but very experienced kite instructor in the house. He teaches you kitesurfing, takes you on kite safaris and is friendly linked with the Kitesurfing Lanka.
And yes, you see right: The man from Lake Como is our Italian Steve McQueen!
The resemblance is astonishing. Wanna see? :-)
A Nuffinz Ambassador right away.
Back to dinner: Tonight we have lasagna, pizza and gnocchi. Feels good, a little change to Rice & Curry ;)
Roberto, kitesurfer and pioneer in the sport for over 20 years, we only met recently and by chance. But never mind, he became a soulmate and Nuffinz fan within a few hours :-) He is one of our models who spontaneously agreed to join the Nuffinz shoot. Simply for the reason, he liked the Nuffinz shorts from the very first moment and also loved the story of our brand.
The last night. But we don't say goodbye.
Tonight, the time has come and, with a heavy heart, we have to say goodbye to Kitesurfing Lanka.
But, thanks god, nuffin' is forever!
But we aren't just lucky, we are full. Full of endorphins, full of exciting encounters, carrying a luggage full of new friends and new Nuffinz ambassadors. On the way to the airport, we track them via Instagram. And, surprise: all of them are still wearing the Nuffinz shorts, even though we are already gone (thank God, good for us!).
One thing is for sure: we will come back.
Dear Sri Lanka, dear Kitesurfing Lanka: Nuffin' is more beautiful!
See you soon in paradise.
Important message to our friends and ambassadors, to you out there and your friends here on:
The next stop for Nuffinz is Tarifa, Spain (End of May 2020).
If you are there, contact us!