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Experience the thrill of riding the waves in Chennai, Tamil Nadu

A fairly new sport in India, surfing is fast gaining popularity with adventure seekers and it’s on its way to become a mainstream activity. With 7,500km of coastline, it’s a wonder that an amazing sport like surfing has not always been a part of Indian life-style, and has only been recently introduced. Thankfully, many surfing schools have popped up along the coast in the last three years, and Indians are slowly roughing it out on the blue waters.

Surfing is highly addictive and a passion-driven sport. The techniques aren’t very hard to pick up – it will take you just about five days of practice to get up to speed. However, if you’re planning on becoming a pro, it’s your dedication to the sport and the hard work you’re willing to put in that will count more than the precision of your technique. It’s fairly simple – the more time you spend in the water, understanding and loving the ocean, the better you will become at surfing.

It was in 2019 that I visited Kovalam in Tamil Nadu, a sleepy fishing community located about 40km south of Chennai, where the famous Covelong Point Surf Festival is held every year. The festival is affiliated with the Surfing Federation of India and hosts surfing competitions, which witness participation from surfers around India and the globe. The festival also has music, yoga, kayak races, volleyball, amongst other beach-side activities.

I stayed at the beautiful Sea La Vie Beach Resort, which is located right at the beach. I had the fortune of meeting Murthy Meghavan, from Covelong Point Surf School, and the reason surfers flock to this small hamlet today.

Surfing isn’t easy, but if you want to learn the sport, there are a few things that you need to have in your arsenal. The first amongst these is a love for the ocean, because if you fear water, you obviously will not be able to learn the sport. You can’t wear a life jacket even while learning, so remember to not panic when you wipeout (and this is going to happen a lot initially). You also need to be an excellent swimmer, and need to be able to hold your breath underwater really well. You need to be in great physical shape and have good stamina – surfing is not just about balancing on the board, but you need a lot of upper body strength to paddle out to sea, catch a wave, prop yourself up on the surfboard in one smooth motion and then, finally, ride the wave. But once, with practice, you learn to surf, I promise that you will be hooked for life!

Luckily, the waves of Covelong are great for practicing surfing. The beach here is an excellent destination for beginners as well as professionals. The Bay of Bengal provides gentle and a calm wave, which helps the adventure sport thrive here. Although I had surfed before, surfing in Covelong gave me a new perspective on the sport and made me more determined to become a better surfer. The thrill of riding the waves and conquering them will make anyone smile

Unlike regular sports, adventure sports require you to connect with nature, and try to negotiate natural forces that are far beyond your control. You perform feats under highly unpredictable circumstances, and that is what gets the adrenaline pumping. Performing these sports makes you a more dedicated and driven person. I used to be a woman with a hundred fears and, today, I am stronger than I was two years ago. Surfing helped me work on myself by strengthening my body and building my endurance. But more than that, it has helped me become stronger both emotionally and mentally. Surfing has also helped me develop a deeper love for nature and the ocean, and that is definitely the need of the hour. If you have the chance to learn surfing, I urge you to jump at it. I promise that it’s going to change your life!

If you are a beginner trying to surf in Covelong, avoid the period between June and August.

Where to Stay & Eat

In Covelong

Stay at Sea La Vie Beach Resort (Tariff: Rs.3500–7500) when you visit Covelong Point for surfing. On offer are clean and spacious ocean-facing independent villas and studio rooms. Independent villa is very much suitable if you are staying with your family or a group of friends. Studio apartments are best for couples or small families. Sea La Vie offers a host of activities including Swimming Pool, Beach Volleyball, Cycling, Basketball and Indoor games. Sea La Vie has a beautiful beach facing restaurant offering the freshest of sea food which you will fall in love with.

When to go: The best time to visit Covelong is between November and February.

Getting There

  • Air Nearest airport: Chennai’s Kamraj domestic airport (40km/ 1hr) is served by flights from major cities. Taxi with a state permit costs ?11–14 (min) per km
  • Rail: Chennai’s three railway stations Chennia Central, Chennai Egmore and Tambaran Station are well connected to the rest of the country
  • Road: The scenic East Coast Road of­fers good connectivity by bus and taxi to Kovalam, 40km away from Chennai

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