Surfin’ India, on the East Coast
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Surfing in India, it’s possible!
Since last year and our annual trip to Mamallapuram (during the monsoon on the West cost of the country), we discovered that it’s possible to surf in India. At the beginning of this year, it’s in Varkala that we envied British guys who had launched a surf and yoga camp. This year, we came back to the south east coast, near Chennai to witness the growing surf culture in Mammallapuram but also in the rest of the region where surf club are popping up from nowhere.
Thanks to the good tips from a French expat in Chennai (thanks Gaël!), we’ve also tested the Covelong spot (also known as Kovalam but not to be confused with the one in Kerala) where guest-house cum restaurant cum surf club just opened a few months back. And unlike the usual guest-houses in this region, this one stands out with a nice architecture mixing raw concrete, wood and bamboo and even more importantly, it’s just in front of an almost private beach (which they’re maintaining clean) as there’s nothing else in this village. The spot is also good for surfing : a “right-hander” as professionals are calling it thanks to the curve of the beach. Waves aren’t very strong or big which is good if you’re a beguinner like us (they were like 1.5m high when we surfed).
What’s quite impressive though, in Covelong or Mamallapuram, is how surf is becoming part of the local culture with more and more youngs, even Indian kids now practicing it with a quite impressive level (8 years back when we first visited Mamallapuram, no one was surfing there). Offers dedicated to tourists are also now available (surf lessons, renting boards…).
Other spots are still to be tested for us, specially Rameshwarama, next to its famous temple, just opposite Sri Lanka where the sea seems to be really nice. And many more waiting to be discovered for sure!
For once we can even envy Chennai people who can go surfing every weekend!