From the east coast to the w est, India is surfing like never before. Here are some of the best surfing destinations in India for water-sport enthusiasts.
Living in the Indianpeninsula has its advantages, especially if you are an avid surfer. India is a dream destination for surfing because of it’s unending coastline on both the east side of the country and west. However, it is only in recent times that this country has become a surfing hotspot. Until the 70s and 80s, surfing in south-east Asia was confined to Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Maldives. It was only post 90s when the world realised the potential of Indian seas. With the advent of technology, tourist influx, infrastructure and a new generation keen for adventure, the last decade has seen many young Indians take to the sport. For beginners, the west coast states such as Goa, Karnataka and Kerala offer picturesque spots to surf. The waves are not as lethal or challenging in these areas and the best time to visit them is between the months of November and March. Meanwhile, if you are a pro at surfing, then don’t hold back and head to the same destinations during pre and post-monsoon periods, when the swells pick up substantially. Meanwhile, the east coast is an amazing destination for surfing between June and August.
It is not an easy sport to master, so make sure you are all prepped. Most of these surfing hotspots have schools that provide training for novice, intermediate and advance level of surfing. Here are a few destinations for you to go surf this season.
Mahabs Beach, Mahabalipuram
The Tamil Nadu coast gets most of its rain from the receding or northeast monsoon, from October to January, making this part of the country ideal for advanced level surfers to explore while it’s pouring buckets elsewhere. Mahabalipuram, with its atmospheric ruins and seaward activities is a good place to drop anchor. This quaint little fishing village has a clean stretch of coast that offers the perfect waves for surfing. From January to March, the waves at Mahabs Beach are gentle and ideal for beginner level surfers. It is approximately 50 kms south of Chennai (an hour’s drive). Located less than a km from the beach is India’s first surfboard factory called ‘Temple Surfboards’. The place makes custom surfboards for the avid surfer.
Agonda Beach, Goa
Located approximately 60 km from the airport, this beach is so isolated that it drops off the radar of mobile networks and is fully cut off from the mainland. Plainly for this solace, it is known as the ‘Silent Beach’.
There are local surf schools present on all these beaches with instructors who can communicate in a myriad of Indian and foreign languages. In addition to lessons, you can also hire surfing equipment from these schools. The beach also has a turtle centre at the northern end that protects the precious Olive Ridley turtle eggs. Only intermediate and professional surfers are recommended to surf here as the beach has a steep shelf at the high tide mark and the surf can be rough.
There is one more beach on other side of Agonda cliff called Cola beach which has an adjoining lagoon. For a sunset walk or a long lazy day, however, Agonda encapsulates romantic Goa at its very best.
Ashvem Beach, Goa
One of the best destinations to surf in India is in North Goa, especially for beginners and those looking for a little solitude. The beaches here are relatively less crowded and the wind is favourable around the year. The vast coastline and the gentle waves not only help you fulfill your dream to surf but also ensure that your experience is more relaxing than exhausting. Among some of the exceptionally good spots to surf, according to professional surfers, the Ashvem beach is probably the best. It is a small flat sandy beach located to the north of Morjim and is 52 km from Panaji airport. The northern end has a small lagoon with a rivulet flowing across the beach and into the sea. The morning waves are rarely longer than 50mt and their height is usually between one and two mts. Professional surfers, however, should travel 6km further north towards the Arambol beach. Waves here are a bit harsh and challenging to balance your surfboard. Hence, it is more suitable for intermediate and professional surfers.
Blessed with waves that have quite an attitude, Rushikonda is famous among the surfers, especially with a consistent swell throughout the year which attracts both local and foreign surfers in equal measure.
Moreover, during the off-season, when the waves are not ideal for surfing, visitors can turn to deep water diving up to five mts depth to discover a new world beneath the water. The coast is teeming with rich marine life.
During the IPL season, many South African and Australian cricketers visit this beach to go surfing and escape from the blistering humidity. Vizag does face the wrath of occasional cyclones and storms from the Bay of Bengal which brings plenty of good sizeable surf to the shores.
Covelong Beach, Kovalam
Covelong Beach is amongst the first surfing destinations to come up in India. About 40 km from the Chennai Airport, this destination has quickly become a hub of surf culture. It also offers a number of watersport opportunities for adventure enthusiasts. The best way to learn surfing at this place is with Murthy Megavan, a former fisherman-turned surfer who now runs the Covelong Point Social Surf School located on the beach.The school also hosts an annual competition called Covelong Point Classic Surf Competition, an international level surf competition that attracts surfers from world over. Ideally, June-September is the best time to visit this place.
Words: SHIBAJI ROYCHOUDHURY