Hey guys!! Just got back from the East coast of India helping with the India Surf Festival. I am exhausted!
I was so stoked to help out with this event by giving so many SUP lessons and putting on such a memorable SUP race! Although things got off to a slow start, the surf expression event and SUP races were a hit. Surfers came from all over south India to show off their skills. Then we had a great International recreational race. We had to run it in heats due to limited board supply, but the competition was steep and the participants had a blast!!
The "big draw" was the elite race, the first one in India to leave a flat water environment and go into the open ocean. These guys knew what they were doing, though! They charged out through the inlet with no problems, and then when it was time to come back, the top three caught huge swells and surfed to the finish. Final results were posted on the India WPA site.
We also did a fun relay race. Truth be told, it was probably everyone's favorite. The relay was held last after I had attempted to give lessons to most of the festival's guests. After each lesson I would say, "Now you come enter the relay tomorrow!" Everyone was nervous about entering a race after they had just learned to paddle, but they all showed up! The smiles on everyones faces were priceless. They were paddling as hard as they could, and some were busy trying to keep balance; it was priceless to watch. By the end, everyone wanted to SUP more and come back for more events and lessons.
I'm happy to report that more events and learning opportunities are in the works! Surf and SUP dominated the mornings of the festival, but the winds in the afternoons made way for tons of kiting. There were a few kiteboarders from Goa, and one of the volunteers also brought a kite buggy for demonstration.
It is fantastic to see all of these different water sports in one place, especially for many people that haven't seen them before. Each night, after all of the wind and water, there was live music and art on display for the guests and participants.
The entire festival was very unique, and had a distinct Indian flare. It was incredible to watch all of the participants, but more incredible to hear all of their stories. I'm witnessing first-hand the beginning of surf and SUP in India, and it is beautiful. So many great people with their hearts in the right place. Many of them were super exited to hear about Jack with IndoJax surf charities. They didn't know anything about Jack coming to India each year and providing girls from inland orphanages with surf lessons. They love the idea and are happy to bring boards and donate some manpower to the charity this year. I'll keep you posted on that as well, it will be in April.
I hope you are all having a fantastic February, I'm sweating over here… I miss the cold, frosty paddles!