Nov 18, 2015

Covelong Point surfers help rescue flood victims near Chennai

Surfers of Covelong Point's surf school helped rescue approx 200 girls from a flooded college hostel in Medavakkam village near Chennai.


Supriya Vohra

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The southern Indian city and nearby areas witnessed a high intensity of unseasonal rain last week leading to heavy floods.

Call it coming of age or taking up new responsibilities, surfing clubs in India are doing more than just teaching the water sport. Last week, surfers of the Covelong Point surf club took to the flooded areas of Chennai on kayaks and canoes to rescue flood victims stranded at several places after heavy unseasonal rain wrecked havoc in parts of Southern India.

Covelong Point’s surfers rescued approximately 200 women from a flooded college and hostel in a village near Chennai. This effort was voluntary, effective and a supportive measure to the rescue mechanism of the Indian Air Force, Tamil Nadu’s Fire and Rescue department, and most recently Ola cab service.

Covelong Point, India’s first surfing village is about 40km south of Chennai and hosted the country’s first Asian Surfing Championship tour at the Covelong Point Surf and Music Festival earlier this year. The village experienced a minor setback with the floods, and one of the outer walls of the surfing school was washed away.

But a suburban area near Covelong on the Old Mahabalipuram Road witnessed floods where water reached waist level, trapping people in buildings. Covelong Point’s surfers were called to help the state’s police department in rescuing the trapped people. Murthy Megavan, founder of the school along with his team members took their kayaks and helped evacuate women from Fomara college (an all-women college) and a women’s hostel (housed employees of Wipro).

The Covelong team with the rescued flood victims © Surfing Covelong Point

“Me and my team, comprising surfers like Dharani, Sekar, Kutty and Parni are all trained in rescue. We managed to evacuate about 200 girls from these two places,” Mr. Megavan told The Outdoor Journal over telephone Tuesday.

“We rescued almost 200 women yesterday and today,” he said.

India’s southern coastal areas on the east coast along with Sri Lanka have been witnessing a high intensity of rain since the past week, triggered by a depression in the Bay of Bengal, resulting in floods.

BBC reported several people died as a result, even though approx 10,000 people have been rescued so far. It further reports that Tamil Nadu’s state government has a $75m fund for the flood-affected areas.