by Stefanie Spring co-founder of Taíba Surf & Yoga
As our Brazilian adventure continues, I would like to share some of the exciting progress that we have been making in the construction of the Taíba Surf & Yoga Camp.
Watching the building work take shape in front of our eyes, and seeing the fruits of our labour is one of the most satisfying experiences I have ever been fortunate enough to have.
I finally made the move from Switzerland to Taíba in July and when I arrived, construction was in full swing, and I was required to jump straight in to being the boss. Here’s a rundown of some of my experiences:
Yoga deck and thatched roof (telhado de palha)
The Yoga Deck is going to be the centrepiece of the camp – nestled in the heart of nature, with yoga classes performed in the open air. There is a natural backdrop of local plants and tropical gardens, this oasis will be an area of complete calm in which to practice yoga.
We wanted to use natural/organic materials wherever possible in our construction, so we decided upon a thatched roof or telhado de palha for our yoga deck. We noticed that much of Brazil’s indigenous housing uses fibres from the Piassava Palm in order to create a shield against the tropical heat and rain. It is also used to make ropes, mats and brushes.
With this in mind, we used Piassava material for our roof, inspired by the fact that it is a local product, tough, resistant and eco friendly.
We are thrilled with the result!
Here at Taíba Surf & Yoga, we truly believe that yoga is the perfect combination with surfing, stretching out aching muscles after a day on the waves. Watch this space for more yoga and retreat news coming soon!
Warm water solar thermal collectors for bathing
From the beginning, it was clear to me that in a place with as much sun as Brazil, we should be using renewable solar energy wherever possible.
Almost no one in Taíba possesses a solar panel system, due to the expense. This meant that I could not find anyone local with the experience to install it. I ended up hiring a company from Fortaleza.
When I arrived in Brazil, I was a bit surprised that they still hadn’t finished the concrete floor. But as I watched them work, I soon realised that it is a very labour intensive process.
Because concrete floors have a tendency to crack under pressure, we had to find a solution to avoid that. So we divided the surface into 1m squares with wood to relieve the pressure and I am really happy with the result!
As the construction comes to an end…
We are now on to the final stages of construction, so the next plan is to paint the exterior of the house and put in the windows and glass.
Wooden frames have gone in and now for the fun part… choosing the colour of the walls!
Travelling through Brazil, I fell in love with all the colourful houses. This was my inspiration for choosing the colour Goiaba or Guava – a vivid and rich pink colour to represent one of my favourite tropical fruits.
The biggest challenges
Everything in the house is handmade i.e. the sink, the wardrobe, the kitchen… This has required a lot of measuring, drawing and negotiating. It’s not like in Switzerland where you can just go to a shop and buy things. Everything has got to be able to withstand the sea air and be rust resistant and weatherproof. This means sourcing the right products for wood treatment etc.
Sense of achievement
Being a boss is a tough yet enriching experience. Even when I was still working in Switzerland, I was managing the construction remotely, but luckily, everything worked out!
The language barrier has been very testing, and without my boyfriend Michel (also our Head Surf Instructor), it would have been impossible. He was constantly on site sending me videos and talking to the workers.
It has been invaluable to be able to exchange ideas with both Michel and my parents, and this has been key to the ongoing success of the project. A BIG THANK YOU TO THEM!
I have been working with a team of brilliant workers, who are always in good spirits despite the long hours and crazy heat.
I must admit, I am particularly pleased with the garden which looks beautiful with all the tropical flowers, plants and fruit trees. We are growing our own bananas, karambole, papayas, fresh coconuts so you can drink coco water straight from the trees, and, of course, limes for caipirinhas!
Follow our blog for more progress reports coming soon!