Come June and a team of surfers will descend on the Vizag coast carrying oblong boards for their ritualistic search of the ‘perfect’ wave. Bobbing along the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, a whole new surfing culture is expected to greet Vizagites as the city gears up to host its first national-level surfing championship – India Surf Pro.
After a lull due to the elections, Vizag is once again heating up to events. The three-day surfing event slated to be held from June 13 to June 15 will also see a host of other activities such as photography contest and sports competitions like Longboarding.
The three-day surfing competition will be held under four categories – Under 16 (groms), 16-22 age group (juniors), 22-18 age group (seniors) and 28 years and above (masters). More than 50 surfers from across the country are expected to take part in the event, says Anudeep Andy of Lonely Surfers Surf School. In Vizag alone, there are about 20 surfers. The competition is being held in collaboration with Surfing Yogis from Odisha and Mumbai’s Longboard Crew India. GoPro, the US-based camera manufacturing company, will be supporting the event.
“Here, in Vizag we have the longest waves and the safest beach, making it an ideal place for surfing. The waves break from quite far and you can ride on it for minutes,” says Andy. He adds that the longest wave he has ever experienced here while surfing was for a duration of two minutes and 40 seconds. “This is very rare in any surfing spot in the country,” says Andy, who has been spending most of his time on the surf board since his childhood.
His surfing group, the Rushikonda-based Lonely Surfers Surf School, is also planning to reach out to Surfing Federation of India based in Mangalore.
Among the leading international surfing groups are the Association of Surfing Professionals and the International Surfing Association. But India, though blessed with a vast coastline of 7,500 km, the surfing culture is yet to evolve to the level of other international surfing groups.
Apart from Vizag and Puri, Kovalam, Varkala, Mahabalipuram, Covalong, Mangalore, Manipal, Goa and Gokarna are considered to be hubs of surfing activities in India. While Puri has been hosting the Surf Festival from the past three years, surfers in Vizag feel that the city’s coastline is best suited for surfing, whether for beginners or professionals. “The beach opposite to Novotel Hotel is a perfect surfing spot, especially in the months of May and June after the dredging is done. But Rushikonda has the perfect wave and swell for beginners,” Andy explains.
Even as the city boasts of several factors for Vizag to emerge as the surfing capital of India, a conducive eco-system is needed. Right from affordable places of stay, manufacturing units of surf boards to a collaboration with the tourism department and hosting national level competitions, sustained effort to build all these can create a vibrant surfing culture in Vizag, feel surfers.
The three-day event will also host a photography event titled ‘Hungry Lens’ during which three best shots will be selected. The skateboarding and longboarding competition, which was scheduled to be held this weekend, will now be hosted parallel with the surfing competition. Those interested to participate in the competition may register by sending a mail at email@example.com.
Vizag has the longest waves and the safest beach, ideal for surfing.