Is it just me or does the mention of surfing take you back to Baywatch? Oh, come on, don’t roll your eyes. Those lifeguards with a surf board in one hand, running in slow motion left a deep imprint on our minds, one that have since then always seen surfers as uber cool folks, right? 😉 Hah, okay jokes aside, the fact is that surfing as a sport not only requires strength and stamina but also a lot of body and self-awareness as well as that of your surroundings, from the ability to do quick thinking on one’s feet to using it all to one’s benefit; just the fact that the sport demands so much leads us to believe that those excelling in it must be some super humans! What do you think gets them into it in the first place? Is it the sense od adventure? The exhilaration? Or the sense of freedom they find while riding on waves?
I guess the answers to those questions will only get answered by one of those sportspersons themselves. In the meanwhile, here’s a look at some of the coolest surfers from India!
If you are wondering why surfer number one in our list is appearing so tiny, then let me introduce you, ladies and gentlemen, to this little boy wonder! Born to labourer parents, little Anil would observe kids from the local surf school on the beach. The instructor noticed the keenness in the boy’s eyes and asked him if would give it a shot. On day 2 itself, the boy rode his first wave and amazingly, he first picked up on surfing, even before swimming! The 7 years old child prodigy is expected to become a legend thanks to his natural talent and ease with which he has taken onto the sport.
From one stellar surfer to the other, my dear curious ones, meet Ishita Malaviya who holds the title for being India’s first female professional surfer. She represents India at a international level competitively in the sport. Through her exposure and experience she has started a surfing school. More importantly, she wants to elevate her position to use them for the causes she believes in such as the protection and preservation of ocean life in India as well as opposing bias against dark skin. Looking at all this, it sure seems that Ishita’s making waves in more ways than one for sure!
Labelled by Red Bull as “One of India’s coolest surfers”, Samai Reboul was born in a small Spanish village and moved to India with his family at the age of 9. Back then, Samai and his brother, Juan, would observe other surfers at Auroville and request to borrow their boards. They are more or less self-taught surfers and have since then transitioned not only into professional surfers but also surf instructors. At their surf school they also shape the boards, making them the only second place in India to do so. While Samai’s competition in events has at times been questioned on account of his nationality, having spent almost all of his life in India, having learnt as well as taught here does speak a lot. Needless to say, his skill cannot be questioned.
Murthy Megavan’s is the story that we all root for. The underdog who rises despite all odds and leaves us in awe of his accomplishments in the process. Once upon a time, he was a fisherman in Kovalam leading a simple life. He was deeply intrigued about surfing and attempted to give it a shot by using a wooden door! So, his first surfing attempt had him splashing against the water on top of a door until Jack Hebner lent him his board for an attempt. Murthy swears that his first time on top of a board itself changed his life because those 20 minutes gave him an incomparable rush. Today, he not only runs a school but teaches surfing even to kids who cannot afford it. Additionally, his summer school also inculcates a sense of social responsibility and considers it to be a core value at their school.
Jack Hebner aka Surfing Swami
Meet the Godfather of Indian Surfing! And, did you happen to scroll back up to check if you already read is name? Because yes, you did! This is part of the reason why Jack Hebner was known and is still remembered as the Surfing Swami in India. A writer and photographer by profession, he was part of a hippie group of surfers. He moved to India in the year 1975 and set up our country’s very first surf school. He shared his passion for the sport with hundreds and like Murthy mentioned above, he touched the lives of so many who then went onto become surfers later. The surfing scene in India will always be thankful to the legacy of Jack Hebner.
So, hey, when are you jumping on top of a surf board?! 😉
Click here to check out some of the best places you can do surfing in India!