CHENNAI: Ten years ago, if you’d told Kovalam fisherman Murthy that he would be riding a surfboard on the waves off the Indonesian coast, he would have laughed at you. Today, he’ll probably give you an embarassed smile and ask you to give him an ‘all the best’, just for luck. Having traded in his catamaran for a sawn-off surfboard after the tsunami of 2004, Murthy began exploring what surfing was all about on the waves that he knew like the lines on his palm.
Next week, Murthy and two of his fisherman buddies V Vignesh and P Venkatesh will be representing India in the Quiksilver Padma Challenge Surfing Competition in Bali, Indonesia which is part of the Asian Surfing Championships — making them the first Indians to ever represent the country in a surfing contest abroad, “It is like a dream for us. We always knew that surfing would be our answer to a better life without drinking and drugs, but we never dreamt that we would ever represent the country,” he says happily.
From that surf board to mastering the art took years, and Murthy has become the symbol of surfing success here, “All those years when I was learning how to surf and then slowly started taking classes, I always wondered if someday I would also be able to go and surf in the competitions that our Australian and South African surfer friends would keep talking about,” he says. That dream is well on its way to coming true as they board the flight to Indonesia on Tuesday night, “The waves in Indonesia are going to be huge and we’re only going in the open category. For us it’s not about winning cups or awards, but surfing has given us a life and we’re giving everything back to it,” he adds. Supported by Arun Vasu’s TT Logistics, Murthy set up the Covelong Point Surfing School a couple of years ago — which will now only make more waves, with his reputation as an international surfer!