MANGALORE: Surfing is slowly catching on.
With Karnataka becoming the epicentre for surf training and the government taking a serious look at improving beach tourism, surfing is expected to get a boost along with other water sports.
The Surfing Federation of India (SFI), recognised by the International Surfing Association, is in talks with the governments of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to make some of the country’s beaches world surfing destinations.
“Surfing enthusiasts from developed countries are willing to come to India for the pleasure of surfing. And they bring in foreign exchange. This is the point we want to drive home with the governments. We must understand that surfing is not a sport but a lifestyle activity,” said Kishore Kumar, president of SFI.
The federation has roped in international cricketer Jonty Rhodes as the surfing ambassador for India.
Mantra Surfing club at Mulky near Mangalore, which is the headquarters of SFI, has trained 25 young people from Mangalore.
And four surfers from Karnataka, all from this club, made it to the top at the recently-held national-level surfing contest at Chennai’s Covelong Point.
Kiran Kumar, instructor, won third place in the senior category, Deekshith Suvarna, instructor, won second place in the junior category, while Sinchana Gowda and Aneesha Nayak secured the second and third places in the women’s category, respectively.
“We are in talks with colleges and schools in Manipal, Mangalore, Bangalore and Mysore. The Delhi Public School of Mangalore has sent some students to learn surfing,” said Kumar, student of Jack Hebner, who started the Mantra Surf Club.
About Mantra, SFI
Mantra Surf Club was started in 2004 by Hebner (Surfing Swami) and Rick Perry. The duo started surfing in 1963 at Jacksonville Beach, Florida, USA, when they were children.
SFI was established in 2011 by a group of Indian surfers from Mantra Surf Club. These surfers were the pioneers of the surfing movement in India.
Today, SFI acts as the national governing body for surfing.