While India is bubbling with a passion for marathons, there is a revolution of another kind of sport taking place along her coasts. Along the eastern shore of India, in the state of Orissa I arrived at a coast of wild white surfs – welcoming me to the Indian Surf Festival 2015.
In its 4th edition, the Indian surf festival is a showcase of simple fishermen turned hot bodied surfers; skillfully matching their moves with every wave on Ramchandi beach. Oh but wait; it was so much more than that. Read on for a low down about the surf championship and the festival.
Asia Surfing Tour
This was the first Asian Surfing Championship sanctioned surf competition in India; with young surfers competing from Vishakhapatnam, Mahabalipuram and Covelong. Amongst all the participants, the boys participating from Covelong Point Surf School, Tamil Nadu were the star performers taking home a host medals and awards. A chat with the winners and the founder Murthy Meghavan, showcased their humble beginnings and the height of their achievements revealing so much about the spirit and passion for surfing they have.
Murthy Meghavan, the son of a local fisherman started surfing when he was a child using a broken wooden window as his surf board.
His story is both humbling and inspiring; and it calls for an independent story altogether. It is people like him and their talent that the festival encouraged and showcased through workshops and events through the three days.
Just like in the movies, I woke up to a crisp sunrise as I stepped out from my tent in a camp under Neem trees and chilli gardens. With notes from Beethoven and Bach; mornings at the festival were brought alive by the DJ from the watch tower; his choice of music intriguing and refreshing. As the composition reached a crescendo the DJ chimed in with a “Good morning and welcome to the 4th Edition of the India Surf Festival.”
This was followed by yoga sessions by Mehak Puri and Prabhat from Yellow Butterfly, traditional yoga teachers based in Delhi, stand up paddling workshops, surf lessons and heroic displays by the Longboarding India Crew.
If you were overwhelmed by the day’s activities (like I was on day 2) you could head back for some siesta snooze or a book cradled in a hammock through the noon. And as the evening approached, the sun drew silhouettes of people walking on water.
Organisers included people passionate about boardsports, surfs, a collective of adventure enthusiasts working towards showcasing young talent from the remotest parts of the country; changing their lives for the better and taking them to international heights; companies travelled from across the world to teach and educate people about the sport.
In the evenings while the perfectly timed soft notes of a Hindustani raga lingered in the air; we watched the sky bid a due to the sun. And then, after a long day of hard work, the party was just beginning.
There was more for water babies; Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) and SUP Yoga practitioners where out all day with paddles and boards and if you were new to the sport, Louise, Mohammed and Paul, beautiful people from Active 360, a company for Stand Up Paddleboarding based in UK were out all day initiating people into the relaxing sport.
The Longboarding scene in India is being brought to life by the Longboard Crew India, based in Navi Mumbai.
Nikhil Bhosal and his team, is still India’s only longboarding crew
Their story is an inspiring one too of young entrepreneurs in the outdoor sports industry, I will share a story on them soon. At the festival they showcased films of their stunts on longboards and conducted workshops too to initiate people into the sport.
Carolina Pereira and her team from My Destiny; a company from Portugal that dreams to change the world through surfing, conducted a detailed workshop for budding surfing enthusiasts as well.
What was fascinating to watch and would have been more so to try out was the display of kite surfing from the team at Kitesurfing Lanka.
I truly respect the attempt towards building a community passionate about the outdoors sans a strong commercial message. It was all about the love for the outdoors; surfing of course being the star attraction. The array of workshops in stand up paddleboarding, long boarding, yoga; the openness of the founders and organisers to accommodate one and all; the general vibe sent out was that of a constructive, healthy, open minded environment – just how I feel events about the outdoors ought to be.
Photo courtesy: Michael Eijansantos from My Life on Board
Sujit from Chobi Photography
Venue: Lotus Resort, Konark
It is a resort located right on the beach, miles away from the city. They have impressive wooden cottages with attached bathrooms and all the luxuries a city hotel would give you. A great place to disconnect and read, surf, swim.. or simply be. During the festival we stayed in two man tents that were laid out for guests in a camp site around the property. I lived in the room for 1 night and the tent for 2 nights – did get to experience the best of both worlds; I can’t complain.