9 February 2015, Ramchandi Beach-Odisha, India: Sekar from Kovalam took first place yesterday at the Ramchandi Beach rivermouth to claim victory at the first ASC sanctioned event in India, receiving the grand prize of $500 USD for his win. The India Surf Championship contest was held as part of the 4th annual India Surf Festival, which saw 23 of India’s best surfers traveling to the event to compete and chase their share of the $950 USD prize purse.
Sekar bested Vighesh (2nd), Mani Kanden (3rd), and Mukesh Mumu (4th) in a 25 minute final yesterday afternoon using superb wave selection and his skill of putting together combinations of maneuvers to earn him the highest scores from the judging panel and the win. The surf was a consistent 2-3 foot and glassy for most of the day’s competition, only getting wind affected for the semifinals and final.
When asked how his feelings about winning, Sekar replied “ It was pretty tough out there, especially because I was up against two other guys from my town, who I compete against all the time. My heart was really beating and I was just hoping I could get some good waves. I’m so happy to be the winner, it’s really a great feeling!” And when questioned further on what he felt the key to his success was, he said, “I think my level of fitness really helped me, as I don’t drink and I don’t smoke, so I felt very strong and confident all through the event. That is what I think helped me win.”
Sekar traveled to the event from Kovalam with fellow finalists Vignesh and Mani Kandan, as well as several others including Murthy Megavan, who was invited to judge the event by ASC President and acting Head Judge Tipi Jabrik. Other surfers came from the Visakhapatnam and Mahabalipuram areas.
Murthy was delighted with the invitation, and after the event had this to say: “I really learned a lot from judging this contest today. I’ve participated in 6 or 8 contests here in India so far, but today I really learned so much more, especially a lot of technical things about how to surf and what the judges are looking for that I never know before. I’m so happy and feel lucky that I got this chance to judge, thanks to Tipi and Tim at the ASC.” When asked about the quality of the waves, he replied, “I was very glad to see such good waves…they had power and speed so the competitors could do some maneuvers, and that’s what they like. This is my fourth time at this event and these were the best waves so far with the rivermouth and the sandbars really working well.”
Anudeep Andy, who was in charge of organizing the India Surf Championship for the India Surf Festival, agreed, saying “I was so happy that we got such good waves at the event and that we got a great crew of surfers to participate. Many of them traveled from a long way to compete in the event, and thankfully they were rewarded with some of the best waves I’ve seen for a competition here in India in the last couple of years for sure.”
This was ASC President and acting head judge’s first trip to India, and he was surprised at what he found. “I really enjoyed coming to this event, as it was a great new experience for me,’ said Jabrik. “I was surprised and stoked about the quality of the waves we found there at the rivermouth, as it made for an excellent forum to compete and also to judge the contestants. It also allowed me to see the passion and the stoke of the Indian surfers, and I think it gave them all a good opportunity to compete under a more professional and regulated setting. Hopefully we’ll see a lot more progression in the future, as I would like to see all the local surf communities banding together and forming their own Indian surf circuit. Thanks to Sanjay and the event sponsors for this opportunity for the ASC participate in the event and to help in the growth of Indian surfing.”
After the awards ceremony had been completed, ISF creator Sanjay Samantaray had this to say; “The first three years doing this event it was much like an experiment, but this year it really feels like it has come to a different level, especially with regards to surfing with the ASC being with us. I’d been working to get some other organization involved but nothing fit until I connected with the ASC, then it seemed to be the right thing. What we accomplished with this event was to connect Indian surfing with Asian surfing, so we can make more progress in the development of our surfing communities. It’s the first step of many I hope, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
The India Surf Festival, now in its fourth year, is all about showing the worldwide audience it’s massive potential for boardsport activities such as surfing, kite-surfing, Stand Up Paddling (SUP) and Longboarding (Skate). Amongst other activities it featured a SUP Cup competition with $1,000 USD prize money, the Yoga on Water and Yoga on the Beach workshops, a Longboarding workshop, kite-surfing performances, the Hungry Lens photography event, art and music performances and much much more. See the official event website at http://www.indiasurffestival.org for more details.
India Surfing Championships 2015 Contest Results
1. Sekar (Kovalam)
2. Vighesh (Kovalam)
3. Mani Kandan (Kovalam)
4. Mukesh Mumu (Mahabalipuram)
Most Promising Surfer – China Konda
Funniest Wipout – Mani Kandan
Longest Ride – Mani Kandan
Best Combo – Vighesh
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The India Surf Festival is sponsored/supported by Mindfire Solutions, the Odisha Tourism Department, the Orrisa Post, Prelude, Outlook Traveller, Active 360 Paddleboards, NRS, NALCO, Yummy Pies, My Life On Board, and the Asian Surfing Championships. A special thanks to Kudo Surf for the contest rashguards and prizes for the winners.
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About the Asian Surfing Championships (ASC)
The Asian Surfing Championships was established in 2010 as the progression of the highly successful Indonesian Surfing Championships that began in Bali, Indonesia in 2004. The mission of the ASC is to develop and progress the sport of surfing in Asia by assisting in the organizing and sanctioning of professional surfing events, which will help their growing surf communities and draw more attention to their areas for the progression of surfing locally, nationally, and throughout all of the Asian Region.