CHENNAI: Every year, people visit water parks in hordes to combat the summer. And with mercury soaring to unprecedented levels this year as well, plenty of plans must already be in the pipeline regarding such ‘pilgrimages’.
And if one is looking for a different experience, Holy Island Water Sports is a good start. Not enticing enough? Consider that it is located in Rameswaram. Perhaps one could plan an actual pilgrimage to the temple town, with a sprinkling of water sports on the side? That should get interests suitably piqued.
The centre provides windsurfing, kayaking, standard board, beach volleyball and swimming, as well as a skating rink. Founder Roger Fernando says his inspiration was Australia.
“I studied there for three years, while my sister and brother also live there. Water sports is big in Australia and that’s what gave me the idea of opening a park here. India is a huge market and it’s not like we have too many such parks,” he noted. “I’m from Rameswaram, so I thought why not open one here since the location is popular among tourists.”
And such has been the response to his park that he came to Chennai last week to receive a Ministry of Tourism award for the best water sports centre. What has led to such recognition? An international-level water sports tournament.
“We first had a domestic-level event in 2015, while last September we made it international. Such was the response that we had around six international, 25 national and 100 state-based participants, including those from Goa, Odisha and Mangaluru. Perhaps the prize money was a good motivation. A lot of sponsors — both private and government — came forward to support us. This year, we plan to hold the event post-July, when summer has passed,” Fernando revealed.
The noble idea has seen great success and one can only hope that this spawns more such places. If not for the competition, then at least to beat the heat!