At this camp, learn the ABCs of surfing

Bay of Life’s camps for children are not only about the skills of the board. They’re also about loving the ocean

Published - March 26, 2019 06:14 pm IST

Still waters run deep.

It’s not just a philosophical quote for Showkath Jamal, founder of Bay of Life; it is crucial advice for staying afloat out at sea. “People at beaches normally go towards calm waters, and avoid areas where waves break, but that’s where the water is shallower,” he says.

It’s tips like these that the Bay of Life Foundation will be teaching children at Surf Camp this summer season. “We have 5-day and 10-day camps, at which we will be teaching them how to surf, stay on board, be comfortable at sea, float for hours without getting tired…” but more importantly, “how to read the ocean like a book,” he says.

They key to being comfortable in the ocean is knowing how to navigate the waters without wasting your energy, according to him. “The waves come in sets of small-big-small, and then break. You have to read the waves, look at how the whitewash is forming, judge how deep the water is, at what distance, and then enter the water,” he says.

Recognising wind direction will help work with the ocean currents. “Right now, the Northeastern winds have ended, and winds have started coming from the South. Which means the currents will be northwards. If you’re at Besant Nagar beach, that means the pull will be parallel to the shore. So you have to navigate yourself accordingly, in order to expend the least amount of energy,” he explains.

Children at the Surf Camp will learn to assuage their fears of being pulled in, by learning the science behind the nature of the sea. He explains with an example, “The horizon seems so far off to the naked eye… But it is actually only 4.6 kilometres away. Once you know that, the fear of being lost at sea, with nobody able to find you, goes away,” he says, adding that even if waves pull you in, they only do so for five feet.

Young scientists

Climate change and the domino effects of polluting our waters do not transcend the pages of textbooks until we witness them with our own eyes. For this, Bay of Life is holding marine science camps for children.

At Bay of Life’s school programmes, children have learnt how much plastic floats and drowns in the ocean, by speaking to fishermen who tell them that how their bycatch over the years has changed. “Earlier for a catch of 10 kilograms, they would have eight kilograms of fish, and the rest would be crabs and mollusks. But now, they catch three kilograms of fish, and seven kilograms of plastic,” he says.

The marine science camps — three hours (half day) and six hours (full day) long — will help children study the different types of creatures caught in the bycatch — hermit crabs, conch shells, octopus, mollusks, corals, starfish -- and alternative fishing practises such as angling that harm fewer beings. “Moreover, by speaking to marine biologists and researchers, they will see that they can have a successful career in natural sciences,” he says.

Surf camp and marine camps are ongoing at Bay of Life Foundation on ECR, until June 7. To register, contact 9940488880.

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