Last month, we posted about Tanvi Jagadish and her efforts to race in this year’s Carolina Cup. In order to participate, let alone compete in paddle racing, Tanvi has to battle cultural conventions that hold girls shouldn’t surf or SUP. That’s not stopping her, though. This 16-year-old dreams of taking her paddling to the next level and competing all over the world, including in this Spring’s Carolina Cup at Wrightsville Beach (Visit her GoFundMe page to help!)
Tanvi took a moment out of her training day to answer a few questions for us about how she got started paddling and what it’s like to be a sup surfing teenager in India.
How did you get interested in surfing and sup?
I was very small when I got to know about this new sport by surfing Swami at Mantra Surf Club. I was really stoked when I first did this. I didn’t know how to swim and I had asthma but still wanted to surf and paddle.
When I surf, I always like the connection I get with Mother Ocean and the love she shares with me.
What is your favorite thing about paddling and surfing?
My favorite thing about surfing and paddling is that these sports are very unique. And, the satisfaction I get after I paddle sport is really good. Catching good waves and paddling with full energy!
How does it make you feel when you are on the water?
When I was very small,I was very scared of water but when I understood the connection with the Mother Ocean, I started loving it. When I am in the water, I feel at top of the world!
What are the waves like where you surf?
We get quite good swell during pre-monsoon season. Other times it is just three to four feet. Yeah, we have good beach breaks and point breaks.
Now that you have been doing this for a couple of years, is it any easier for you as a female, and a teenager, to compete? To paddle?
No not all! Getting tanned and girls doing something new and adventurous is not okay! I have faced a lot of problems to get to the level where I am today. Just because we are girls, we get underestimated but I want to prove myself by training very hard.
Do you think you are opening up the sport for other girls?
Yes, when they see me fighting for all this without getting distracted, having a goal and working on it will always help. And one thing I would love to tell to the girls – never give up, stay focused and love what you do!
What was it like competing in the Worlds in Fiji
First of all I would like to thank my coach ( brother) for training me, and the Surfing Federation of India for supporting me.
For me, representing my country was my dream come true. And yeah, I got it at last. I really trained very hard to meet the international standards. And meeting other athletes from 26 nations was really great for me – I was the really luckiest!
You are hoping to come to the Carolina Cup this year- what excites you about doing that race?
April Zilg has invited me for this event and I am really excited to paddle at a new place and new people.
Tell us what your training program is like.
I do lot of yoga, Surf, sup.
What board do you paddle? What paddle do you use?
I use an NSP paddle and paddle an NSP 12’6.