Hi let me start by introducing myself, My name is Binson k Babu and I am from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. I was born and brought up in these islands, probably why I am so passionate about all water sports activities. I learned swimming at an early age and then went on to learn Snorkelling and Open Water Swimming. Surfing, for me, was a distant sport at that time as the market wasn't very developed, but slowly the scenario is changing. Some Surf Spots have been identified and people are taking up surfing.
In those days when I was younger, I only had a basic beach training for surfing. Thanks to Decathlon I am able to complete my surfing lessons now. Recently I got an opportunity to learn surfing at Covelong point surf school, Chennai, India. I was too excited to go there and complete my lessons so this write-up contains all the minute details of my surfing experience.
1. Covelong Point
Kovalam (Covelong) is a fishing village in Chennai, India, 40 kilometers south of Chennai, on the East Coast Road en route to Mahabalipuram. It took me two days to complete my surfing lessons. I went to Covelong point surf school on 6 April evening and returned to Bangalore on 8th April evening. The overall experience was pretty awesome, I met great people who were very enthusiastic about Surfing. The next morning, I went surfing school, met many youngsters who are already advanced surfers at a very early age. Some had even participated in international competitions. Some of these youngsters are also trainers in the surfing school. I was amazed to see how down to earth they were while coaching. The local children there have already determined where they want to be in the future, which competitions to participate in and how to achieve all of that. Not to mention their craze for bodyboards. I was able to see a niche market of bodyboards being created right there. The one thing that inspired me was to see kids 5-6 yrs old gathering at 6 am in the morning for their daily yoga classes at Murthy Anna’s house. This is something I feel is missing in modern day life today.
2. Pre-Surf Shopping
Before jumping into my first surf lesson, it was important for me to pick up the right gear. Below is a list of the Surf gear that I required and a brief description on why I needed it.
V T-SHIRT/ RASH VEST: All of you are probably aware of the weather conditions in Chennai during summer and to top that, we were in the sea. The chances of getting a sunburn are quite high. At times like these, the UV T-shirt comes to the rescue. These T-shirts have excellent UV resistance. Another added advantage is that they are body-hugging even when you're wet reducing the chances of it coming out during surfing.
BOARDSHORTS: A lot of things have to be considered while selecting boardshorts like freedom of movement, the length and the type of waistband. Personally, I prefer long Boardshorts with a flat waistband as it provides good coverage and there's no itching around the waist while surfing for longer periods.
SUNSCREEN: Even if your body is protected with UV resistant clothing, here is a need to protect your face from sunburns. This is when a sunscreen comes in handy.
SURFBOARD AND LEASH: Most surf schools provide the surfboards and the leash but it's important to have a basic knowledge of surfboards before you hit the sea. For me, I needed the biggest surfboard available there because of my height and weight. The leash comes along with your surfboard.
3. Pre Surf Warm Up
Before entering into the sea with your surfboard, it is necessary to do a little warm up to make your body ready for the sport. This is common in almost every sport that you undertake. This warm-up includes training on your surfboards at the beach. While doing the warm-up at the beach, it seemed pretty easy. Little did I know about what awaited me at the sea. This warm-up was essential as it helped to tone up the muscles which are quite necessary during surfing.
The first session was quite difficult. When you're in the water, you know the real difficulty. I fell down a number of times but still maintained the energy to get up and try again.
Every time I fell, I got more energy to get up, go back and try to ride another wave irrespective of how or where I got hurt. It was like experiencing a sudden adrenaline rush that was more than enough to keep me going. It took me nearly 2 complete sessions of training to finally stand or rather balance on the board. When you balance on the board for the first time, the joy you experience get is not at all expressible in words. I got hurt a lot of times but I didn’t feel the pain until I was back in Bangalore. I was lucky enough to ride the next wave as well; it was the last session for me to surf in this trip. After the session was over, I went for a swim in the ocean to wind it up. A swim in the open sea just after surfing was like an icing on the cake. Your body cools down, fatigue disappears and you achieve a sense of complete peace. I saw a lot of people going for Stand Up Paddling after their surfing lessons. It's probably their way of relaxing.
After the surfing session and the swimming, I came back to the beach and saw the instructors giving training to groups of kids aged 9-14 years. Anybody would be able to see the eagerness in the kids to learn surfing. After seeing this, I understood why people call surfing a budding sport in India.
It was definitely hard to say goodbye to the wonderful people there but I knew that I would definitely be back in a couple of days with more enthusiasm and energy than ever and get to ride the best waves that were yet to come.
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