Oct 28, 2014
5 Best Surfing Spots in India
Surf photographer Rammohan Paranjape combed through almost every beach in the country to list out the best places to ride waves.
The Outdoor Journal
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For decades, India went unnoticed as a surf destination. In the Asian context, the surfing world never looked beyond destinations like Indonesia in the 70’s and later Sri Lanka, Maldives in the 90’s (not counting Australia, of course, which has been a surf centre for a long time).
Come early 2000, and there was a surfing renaissance across India’s vast coastline of 7200 km. There was a new found love towards the ocean and a handful of pioneers had taken upon them to spread the stoke of surfing across cities, towns and villages.
Today in India, there are over dozen surf schools and clubs with ISA (International Surfing Association) certified surf instructors, international safety standards with a wide range of surfboards and surf spots across the vast coastline of India. Over the past few years, many top professional surfers, international magazines and film makers have extensively showcased India as a premier new surf destination with “No crowds”.
5 best surfing spots in India:
Andamans & Lakshadweep Island
The outer islands of India’s Andamans & Lakshadweep Islands consists some of the world’s best reef breaks. The waters are clear blue with pumping barrels and lots of scope for power surfing. Just make sure you have plenty of zinc oxide, rash guards and an extra surfboard.
Best time to visit: The Andamans have a small time frame for ideal surf conditions starting from mid-Feb to mid-May before the wind switches directions and onset of monsoons.
Lakshadweep receives some consistent swell from May until beginning of October. One just needs to watch out for the direction of swell and wind.
Covelong Point, South Chennai
This village on Tamil Nadu’s coastal belt in southern India has probably one of the best and most consistent right hander break points in mainland India. Covelong Point has some of the country’s best surfing talent and is also the first surfing village in India with a big social surfing movement. It hosted its second surf and music festival earlier this year.
Best time to visit: From June to September. There are always chances of getting cyclone swells in the months of Oct, Nov & Dec.
Just 20 kms down south of Covelong Point and on the same stretch as Covelong Point, Mahabs is another iconic surf break with Shore temple as it’s backdrop. Mahabs offers some spit bowls with great potential for power surfing.
Best time to visit: Like Covelong Point, the best time to visit is from June to September.
One of the most tourist-friendly beaches after Goa, Kovalam draws a sizeable number of visitors from around the world during the season which also consists of surfers from time to time. It is also one of the few beaches where you can rent a surfboard and a body board easily. Since Kovalam lies deep down tucked close to the tip of southern India, it gets some big swells pumping some mushy slabs and occasional perfect barrels. Locals have kept a few more spots in & around Kovalam for themselves which are truly not for the faint-hearted.
Best time to visit: Kovalam gets good surf from March to May, and from October to November.
Mulki is where Indian surfing began a decade ago when India’s first surf school, retreat and club was started by “Surfing Swamis”. Located in south India in Mangalore, it is the ideal place for beginners to come & learn surfing with the pioneers of surfing in India. If you are an intermediate or an advanced surfer looking for challenging waves, then you will have to be there around pre-monsoon and monsoon season when only a few dare devils charge the swell.
Best time to visit: Mulki works well in pre-monsoon and post monsoon season with big surf or else conditions are ideal for learners throughout the year except during peak monsoon season.
Best surfboards to buy in India
Soft Tops (Rs 30,000 – Rs 40,000) : A must-have beginner level surf board across all surf schools which are made up of soft foam for less impact and injury-free surf lessons. These boards have negligible impact on collision. Even the fins are spongy and soft.
Longboards (Rs 30,000 – 60,000) : Once you get your surfing basics right, you will most probably start surfing on longboards ranging from 8.0’ ft – 12.0’ ft long. As one progresses with their surfing skills their surf board sizes starts decreasing considerably. But one may also just stick to classic Hawaiian longboarding style.
Funboards (Rs 35,000 – 55,000): Fun boards are a cross between performance short boards & long boards ranging in the size of 7.0’ft – 8.0’ ft long with single fins, twin fins or more ! Fun boards are very versatile and caters to all levels of surfers and variety of surf conditions.
Short Boards ( Rs 35,000 – Rs 60,000) : Short boards are mostly used by intermediate to advanced surfers for progressive performance surfing. These boards range from 4.8’ ft to 6.8’ ft long made up of very light material with a lot of technical specifications to suit each surfer’s individual style and skill.
Note: www.surfing-india.com is a online surf shop with the largest selection of surfboards with almost 30 top global surf brands available.
Text and Images by Rammohan Paranjape