Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga!

By Rachel Laulu 18 July 2016, 12:00AM

I was sitting at Aggies Resort a few weeks back, minding my own business and sipping a latte before my yoga class, when a striking young man (who was looking a little lost) walked past with his breakfast, he was looking for a place to sit outside and not in the direct sun. I was alone at an umbrella’d table and I asked if he’d like to join me.

Handsome young men, good conversation and coffee just happen to be three of my favourite things, you see.

His name is Rob and for a tourist, looked right in place, jandals, a nice pink tan and a shirt with something “Samoa” on it. We got to chatting about the T-shirt he was wearing – Pure Ocean Samoa. Now Samoa is a small place and it took us less than 2 minutes to figure out who each other are, he’d been staying with friends of mine out at Ifielele plantation and has recently taken over the old dive business down at Aggies Resort, and is now a resident.

He’d also seen my wall flood marketing of yoga on facebook and we got to chatting about SUP yoga, I had never done SUP yoga before and he asked me if I thought I’d like to teach it from their new location... So, if you’ve not heard, it’s all the rage – SUP yoga is yoga done on a Stand Up Paddle Board, in the water, it’s fun because you’re isolating so many different muscles to what you would in your normal yoga practice, and you get to swim when you start to crack beads (sweat).

So since that meeting with Rob I’ve been regularly taking the long drive down to Mulifanua from Saleufi to practice my yoga teaching sequences on a SUP, it’s so much fun to be out on the water with turtles swimming around, and it’s a great challenge for me learning how to teach on a board, I’ll be offering classes down there soon!.

So PURE OCEAN are in the process of making the dive centre amazing, they plan to open their doors very soon and the excitement is growing as the Head Quarters takes shape. The guys are absolutely wonderful and have fast become friends of mine. They very much rely on the ocean to be at its most healthy and natural so are big environmental activists and what they’re doing down in Mulifanua is awesome for the island from an eco-tourism point of view, they are very much into keeping everything clean green and beautiful by offering beach cleanup parties and the removal of the crown of thorns starfish which eats the slow growing hard coral.

The three managing guys, Rob, Ian and Bruno decided after 15 years of ‘living the dream’ as scuba instructors, teaching people from all over the world to dive in destinations as diverse as the Maldives and Zanzibar, the Cook Islands and Thailand, Bruno Kinross and Rob Small knew exactly what a modern, progressive dive centre should be. An idea conceived in a London restaurant in 2012, Pure Ocean is now here in Samoa! And they’re set to be the best on the island.

By maintaining high standards of instruction, continuing education and safety for all divers along with environmentally sustainable ideas and projects, Pure Ocean doesn’t want to maintain the status quo, but push it forward. These guys are young, funky and super cool.

They’ve taken on the very awesome Taleni Aiolupotea to man the watersports and activities fale at Aggies, while they manage the dive shop and take the scuba and snorkelling tours.

Taleni originally trained as a mechanic here in Samoa, he’s enjoyed sailing since he was a boy so jumped at the opportunity to work with the Samoan Voyaging Society on board the famous traditional sailing yacht, Gaualofa. Taleni spent four years on the Gaualofa sailing around the world and visiting places such as Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands, Easter Island and Australia, California, Costa Rica and the Galapagos.

Ian hails from Sydney, Australia and began scuba diving in 1999 while working for a British holiday company in the Maldives. Since certifying as a PADI Instructor in 2001 he has gained wide-ranging experience working for dive operations as far afield as the Maldives, Spain, Egypt, Thailand and Australia.

Bruno is from London, England and has been an instructor since 2009.  Trained as an Engineer he found his passion in scuba diving and has worked in such places as Kenya, Thailand and Zanzibar. He is also a keen underwater videographer and photographer.

These guys know their stuff and are offering the best diving tours on island. 

We’re very lucky to have them here. I was looking to go to Bali soon to learn to dive but I’ve decided to learn with them!, I’m looking forward to visiting the newly scouted spots they’ll be taking divers to, apparently we have some pretty amazing  magic waiting to be discovered in our lush turquoise waters.

So whether you’ve never tried scuba diving before or have a whole log book full of diving adventures, at Pure Ocean you can gain a qualification whist furthering your knowledge and skills. Complete beginners can learn the basics and have a go or complete an internationally recognised course.

Fine tuning your buoyancy, diving at night to see the reef in a totally different light or learning more about conservation and identification of species on the reef are just some of the opportunities available for certified divers. If you’re totally hooked, you might decide you can’t live without diving – if that’s the case you can take the first step on the professional ladder with the PADI Divemaster course. They really do have something for everyone and all experience levels.

So anyway, back to the very handsome Rob, Rob is from Aberdeen, Scotland and has been working in the dive industry for 15 years. Completing his Instructor course in 2004, Rob has taught people to dive in Scotland, Maldives, Belize, Cook Islands and Zanzibar... whilst in Zanzibar Rob was in a house fire and was left with pretty sever burns to about 40% of his body, I didn’t notice these at first because he looks like James Bond’s 007 Daniel Craig hehehe. He told me about the fire and how he nearly died, what he didn’t tell me though is that scientists think they have found a gene in his DNA that helped him to survive the burns (he’s should have died 10 times over). 

He was in a coma for a month after staying awake and coherent for 10 days in Zanzibar before being flown back to the UK. Rob is soon to travel to Antarctica where he will trek with scientists who will monitor him and hope to find out more about this gene, which they’ve named geneX, this will be filmed and released as a documentary, which you can find out more about by looking up “from Fire to Ice”. – So there we have it, a new dive school on island manned by some pretty awesome dudes, an xman and me offering SUP yoga. 

Samoa just got a whole lot cooler.


Rachel Laulu is a local yoga teacher who offers fermenting workshops, private meditation and yoga classes to corporate groups, schools, retreats and individuals. If you have any inquiries please feel free to contact Rachel via email at [email protected] or add her on facebook through her Yoga Juice Samoa group page.

By Rachel Laulu 18 July 2016, 12:00AM

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