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

Yeah, you should be able to surf

Crystal Pier, courtesy Surfline

I know I’m not the only Ashtangi who comes back from morning practice and heads to the beach for a surf session. (Example: Today, although there isn’t much surf here in LA.)

So it didn’t take me long to look at where the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence is being held and think, “Umm… maybe I can just walk a few blocks and do a little surfing, too.”

Turns out, I — we — can. There are a few different types of breaks to choose from. And given it isn’t going to be summer yet, it might not be totally crowded. (I’m eying Friday as the best day to paddle out.)

Pacific Beach and Mission Beach includes longboard heaven at Tourmaline Surfing Park, which is a little trek from the Catamaran Resort, maybe 1/2 mile. Much closer, but a bit more aggro, is Crystal Pier. North past Tourmaline is Pacific Point.

Or, really, you will be able to walk across Mission Boulevard, a whole beach block — we’re talking 400 feet — and be on the beach, and walk from there until you find a little peak. That’s probably my plan.

Given it will be March, the water temperature will be in the upper 50s; San Diego has a fairly deep water shelf, so although it is south from LA, Orange County, etc, it doesn’t necessarily reflect it in the water. (Much like northern Baja Mexico.) Full suit, in other words.

What board to bring will depend on where you think you’ll go, and maybe any last minute checks of the surf.

At the worst, we can hope that the rumor about San Diego turns out to be true: That’s it’s always 70 degrees and sunny. At least we can go lay on the beach post-two Ashtanga classes and before the afternoon talks.