Vaayu is more of a social, philosophical, and only partially tangible experiment, than it is an ideal destination for water sport enthusiasts across the country. Existing somewhere between the neon-coloured, night-bound hippies, answering their karmic call to some party on hill top and the freckled, lobster-red old British couples who just want a bit of hot sand to rest their weary bones, Vaayu’s become a haven for all those who don’t fit in either extreme. A place to discover, explore, and redefine yourself within the context of their community.
Some of you may recall a little bit about the surfer’s paradise, an adventure sports-cum-accomodation centre in Mandrem, Goa from our (not so) little interview with one of its co-founders late last year but for those of you who don’t, it’s probably best you get to view their season two avatar first. We just returned from their beachside sanctuary a few weeks ago, and it’s apparent that the place has grown from far more than just an adventure sports destination into a deliberately conscious lifestyle. And having known both its founders, Rahul Malaney and Jill Ferguson, for a while now, it’s apparent that this same persistence in evolution will never let up. Ultimately, Vaayu is a template for integration that will have anyone who visits questioning the ‘kind of impact they want to have on this planet.’ One we hope is imbibed by more creators of such unique spaces in the country.
Here’s a video which encapsulates their philosophies rather beautifully, and concisely, created by Krish Makhija of Mosambi Juice Productions:
As one of their initial collaborators and founder of Tattva Boards, Spandan Banerjee, puts it, “Everyone here has different passions that really drive them,” and it’s this cohesiveness that allows Vaayu to exist in such an anomalous state of balance. There are 5 major pillars the Vaayu Experience rests firmly upon so here’s a brief insight into each. We will be elaborating more on each of these strongholds in the coming weeks however, so watch this space for more in-depth coverage.
I. The Vaayu Adventure Centre
In many ways, it was co-founder Rahul Malaney’s inescapable passion for water sports (surfing, kite-surfing, SUPs and more) that really initiated this project so it’s also one of the best outfitted aspects of their world. As Rahul puts it, their adventure centre is equipped with “all the latest toys for people who love playing in the ocean,” including kitesurfing equipment, Stand Up Paddle Boards, Kayaks, and Surfboards. They have a small team of great instructors for all, and if you already know what you’re doing, you could just rent out the equipment at lowered prices this season, because they really just wanted to foster a community of people who love getting into the water.
New additions this year?
“We’re super excited to start a floating Yoga studio in the lagoon in front of the Vaayu Waterman’s Village through SUP Yoga classes while personally, I can’t wait to wakeboard around the Chapora river this season. It was a nightmare to import it from the US but it was worth every minute in the customs house,” says Rahul. He adds that they’ll also be “doing River Paddle & paradise Beach excursions, for which we head up the Tirakol River and expire dense mangrove forests on an SUP board. You’ll get to see some amazing species of birds, including kingfishers.”
Click on the gallery below to see view more images from their Adventure centre:
II. The Vision Collective
Of all the pillars they rest on, The Vision Collective seems to have resolved itself most cleanly, attracting some seriously talented, pioneering artists from across the globe to their humble abode. We caught up with Miles Toland (you can read our indepth interview with him here) the first and only artist there last season, who has returned for his second residency to Vaayu this year. At the end of two months, he created his own solo exhibition called ‘Driftwood’ with 13 abstract portraits infused with geometries on interesting pieces of polished scrap wood.
“The Vision Collective is about cultivating a symbiotic art community where every Artist wins and is enriched by the presence of the other beings in their vicinity. The program is set in the idyllic environment of Goa where bananas and creativity are abundant. Each Artist digests Goa through their unique filter, reflects, and responds to this multifaceted environment through their medium of choice,” says Miles when we ask him to give us a little insight into the thought behind this aspect of Vaayu.
When asked about his return he alludes to a feeling that he wasn’t quite done here. “I was called back to Vaayu this season with a feeling that I had just barely tapped into the potential energy of this playground. Before I was here to create a solo exhibition, and now I’ve returned as a creative catalyst and support system for the village and art collective,” he admits.
This year, their artist posse includes a lot more indigenous talent including Sachin Shetty from Mumbai who will be having his solo exhibition ‘Drift’ in late December plus Harshvardhan Kadam (Inkbrushnme)who will be arriving in December and plans on creating murals, digital paintings, and other works for his show mid January. Then there’s Krilly Moon Snail from Australia who is creating a colourful collection of paintings for her show in early February while New York-based artist/ world traveler, Alexander Lyle, will be arriving after the turn of the year and plans on creating a unique show based around movement and sculptures in the estuary outside of Vaayu leading into the ocean.
Click on the gallery below to view more images from their art escapades this season:
All in all, it’s shaping up to be an incredibly promising season.
III. The Prakti Tribe
A huge part of Vaayu’s philosophy is driven by co-founder Jill Ferguson’s commitment to the environment, which is why she created ‘The Prakti Tribe.’ Derived from the Sanskrit word, Prakriti, meaning nature, it was designed to be a platform and community of a self-identified group of individuals who love nature.
Last year this meant 5 Prakti Tribe sponsored beach clean-ups and one major community roadside clean up in Mandrem while they also struck a deal with the local village kids that they could take Kayaks out whenever they wanted, as long as they helped to collect the trash floating around in the river, which brings us to the problem of trash, something Jill takes extremely seriously.
“We segregate all of our trash and do onsite composting so we can send as little trash as possible to the dump. Metal, Paper, Plastic, Glass, Trash, Compost…people don’t realize but actually 90% of all things sent to the land fill can actually be recycled or reused if segregation is done properly,” says Jill, her passion for the cause evident.
As far as any new additions/ amendments to their plans for Prakti Tribe go this season, Jill says they’ll be planning “Community Action Service Learning programs for the IB schools and environmentally conscious watersports themed summer camps for the local schools. This year we are hoping to partner with Reef Watch and put these plans into action. While we will continue with the community clean ups we are also planning to take the next step and ask the permission of the Panchayat to sponsor permanent beach trashcans. The hope is that this will give tourists in the area a proper way of disposing of their waste while their at the beach.”
IV. The Vaayu Waterman’s Village, As Accommodation
As Jill puts it, “The Vaayu Waterman’s Village has a full range of rooms so no matter your budget or goddess needs, we have have you covered.” They have 2 AC ocean=facing rooms, with attached loos and a sweet little balcony that’s perfect for your morning culpa. Additionally, their non AC cottages are a little bit lighter on your wallet, and 2 more sea view huts located next to their tea lounge and art gallery, which just happens to be the most beautifully decorated relaxing spot on the whole of Mandrem beach in our opinion. And then of course, there’s our personal favourite, two traditional Native American style Luxury Tipus for the budget traveller, gully outfitted with a fan, mosquito net, lights, and a lockable trunk.
We found that the design, both aesthetically and architecturally had undergone a world of evolution this year and were intrigued to find that Jill had brought her quest for sustainability into this aspect of Vaayu as well. While most places in Goa survive by deconstructing and rebuilding themselves each year, they opted for the Tamil Nadu style of construction, which is both stunning and environmentally sustainable according to Jill. “We didn’t even have to use any nails or plastic in the construction!”
Click on the gallery below to view more images of their accommodation options:
V. The Cafe
And finally, they have an all new addition to the Vaayu experience this year, one that is bound to get rumbling tummies even more excited to work up an appetite in the ocean. Realizing the need to re-energize the active community of people who tend to show up at their doorstep, not to mention cater to their health needs, this year Vaayu has opened a tiny cafe at its entrance. Just a few table and chairs, with a small kitchen where they’ll be serving up a limited fresh and organic menu, with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, but more importantly be serving power-packed smoothies. A future addition will definitely be a fantastic coffee bar because both Rahul and Jill feel that there’s a lack of availability of good quality coffee in their area and they’d like to change that. Then again, Ferguson’s self-proclaimed caffeine addiction might have something to do with it.
Know Vaayu Better: