Surfing in India

At the beginning of our Yatra, back last year, a few of us first arrivers braved the ocean waters that lapped against our nice, get-yourself-situated resort outside of Chennai.

We had to sign waivers that we realized we were likely to die. It was quite funny.

Kovalam website screen shot.

I also suspect that inhaling some of that water is what got me a little sick. Especially when I heard some descriptions of what other people saw in the water.

I won’t be making that mistake on my next trip.

Realizing the far-from-clean state of the water (no Heal the Bay to be found there), I can’t help but pause when I come across what looks like a terrific organization in Kovalum: the Kovalum Surf Club. Here’s how it describes its members:

Over the years, the Kovalam Surfclub has taught hundreds of children to surf. Unfortunately not all of them keep on coming back, due to personal reasons, mostly caused by their difficult life situation, or because they couldn’t live up to our rule: ‘no school-no surfing’. Nevertheless we have given each and every one of our little students some moments of pure and unconditional joy and attention, which should be a right for  every child…
The members listed are surfers who do good at school and have been coming to the Kovalam Surfclub on a regular basis for minimum two years.’

Based on the website, it sounds like this organization is all about benefiting the local community and that those running it are respectful of the culture. If anyone is ever in the area, maybe look it up and add a little surfing to your Indian adventure. I will, once I check the water.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

8 thoughts on “Surfing in India”

  1. the water in kovalam beach it’s very safe (indian standard) and this riders (around 15 years old some of them) are great up on the waves!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing this! As a surfer, I am always interested in hearing about the positive applications of surfing. I will have to add Kovalam Beach to my surfing itinerary! =D

  3. HI Steve,
    I wanted to let you know that the Kovalam Surf Club is on the same beach that both Lino and David Garrigues teach during the winter months. That means you have to come study!!

  4. Having spent the last two winters in Kovalam, I can attest for all this club does for the youth in the surrounding areas.

    However, I would caution anyone suffering under the illusion that the break at Kovalam is a “destination surf spot.” At least during the yoga season, i.e., when Lino and David are there, nothing in fact could be further from the truth. On the majority of the days, to borrow a ski analogy, the ocean resembles a bunny slope somewhere in Michigan. On the other days, the shore break will pound the hell of out you and in all likelihood close out on you before you realized you’ve dropped in.

    Admittedly, I’m not much of a surfer savant, but I did spend a small number of years riding at Ocean City, MD and subsequently during a brief stint in Chile, and am always sure to at the very least catch a few body waves wherever and whenever I’m near the water, but I have never encountered a more unforgiving and simultaneously unrewarding stretch of beach in my life. This aside, Kovalam is a great place to deepen your practice with either David, or Lino, or even both since they typically overlap a couple of weeks together and eat some amazing torin and puttu.

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