Despite a long coastline, surfing as a sport has been a late entrant in India. It started with a few intrepid souls who, inspired by watching international visitors, started learning it on their own, teaching local people, and setting up schools. Here are six places where you can pick up the ropes of surfing.
Bay of Life, Kovalam
This Chennai-based surf school in Covelong (Kovalam, Tamil Nadu) offers training in water based adventure sports, including surfing. According to the school, they were the first school in Asia to conduct adaptive surf camp for special people with cerebral palsy. They offer different formats – experiences, classes and structured courses. More info here.
Address: Bay of Life Surf School & Ocean Literacy, 9/9, Muthumariamman Koil St, Kunnukadu, Kovalam, Tamil Nadu 603112
Covelong Point Surfing School, Chennai
Located in Dharka Backside Beach New Point, this Tamil Nadu based surfing school offers courses for serious enthusiasts as well as short private courses for beginners who are keen to test their mettle. Their beach festival, Covelong Point Surf Festival is very popular. Affiliated with the Surfing Federation of India, the fest hosts surfing competitions with participation from surfers around India and the globe. The festival also has music, yoga, kayak races, and volleyball. More info here.
Address: Dharka Backside Beach New Point Ansari Nagar, Kovalam, Tamil Nadu 603112
Mumu Surf School, Mamallapuram
This surf school in the temple town of Mamallapuram offers short duration lessons for beginners as well as advanced learners. They also have packages who want longer training sessions. They also have rental options for softboards, hardboards, shortsboard in different styles and sizes. More info here.
Address: Othavadai St, Fisherman Colony, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu 603104
Kallialay Surf School, Puducherry
This Pondicherry based surfing school offers group lessons ranging from five-day to 15-day courses. They also offer private lessons, which are largely geared for below-14 years kids, non-swimmers, and those who want to learn faster. More info here.
Address: Thandryankuppam, Villupuram, 605101
Mantra Surf Club, Mulki
It is said this Karnataka-based surfing outfit was the first camp to have come up in India around 2004, when people hardly knew India as a surfing destination. Today, they offer lessons in surging and other kinds of water sports, accommodation, etc. They offer courses ranging from three days to a month. More info here.
Address: No. 6, 64, Kolchi Kambla Rd, KolachiKambala, Bappanadu, Mulki, Mangaluru, Karnataka 574154
Shaka Surf Club, Kodi Bengre
Located in the little known beach town of Kodi Bengre near Udupi in Karnataka, this is one of India’s premier surfing training schools. And India’s first female professional surfer Ishita Malaviya is the co-founder of this club. Apart from imparting regular training, they combine humanitarian work with surfing and provide surfing training to under-privileged youth. More info here.
When To Go: Although veteran surfers can go into the water any time of the year, depending on the ideal surfing conditions, beginners usually find it convenient to learn between November and March, when the water is relatively calm.
Pro Tip: It is important to choose a surfing school judiciously. Check for accreditations, certification of instructors, security measures followed, etc. Also, many training centres need to be informed/courses booked in advance. The courses offered range from a few hours to weeks. Many of the surf schools have their own accommodation.
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