Surf Spots in India

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Travel Features >> Surf Spots in India

Surf Spots in India

August 22, 2012

Surfing as a sport is still finding its feet in India, and given that India has a vast coastline of 7000 kms, there are a whole lot of undiscovered spots that offer big breaks and glassy waves. At any given time you are bound to find waves in the 3 -5 ft range that are fine for beginners wanting to get their feet wet. Wave heights reach anywhere between 8-15 feet pre and post monsoons and conditions are near perfect at any of these beaches listed below. So if the surf bug has got you, it’s time to take out those swim suits and surfboards and head for the beach before the big waves turn tame. The surf’s up!

Mulki, Karnataka
Thirty kilometers north of Mangalore is the tiny village of Mulki where the surf is big, really big. Started by an American surfer Jack Hebner with his friends, the Ashram Surf Retreat in Mulki provides surfing classes, surf gear, pure vegetarian food and rooms to stay. The season time for surfing here is between April to September when the waves range from 3 to 9 ft in height. Some perfect surfing spots here usually allow the surfers to ride the waves all day long. The waters off the coast here are crystal clear and with almost no crowd all the waves are just for you.

Surf School: Ashram Surf Retreat also known as Mantra Surf Club is run by Jack Hebner.

Who would think of Gokarna, the medieval town with the Mahabaleshwar Temple, as a major surfing destination in India? Well known amongst Hindu pilgrims, the small town of Gokarna is just 150 kms from Goa. The vast coastline of the Gokarna main beach has surf spots with light currents and pleasant streaming that provides perfect waves for beginners in the months between October and May. If you have no fear riding high waves, then visit this place between June and September to face the challenge and ride waves that go up to maximum 6.5 ft high.

Surf School: Cocopelli, a surf school run by Sandeep Samuel at Gokarna.

Want to go surfing year round? Kovalam Beach in Kerala is the best known amongst surfers for favorable surfing conditions all year around and long rides that go on to 400 mts. The waves soar as high as 5 to 6 ft during the rainy season that is from May till September and are good for professional surfers however beginners may try paddling from October till April, as the waves are gentler then.

Varkala lies quite close to Kovalam, and in recent years has been developed into a surf destination. The ride may not be long here, but it is fast. The waters are warm and there are hardly any people here to test the waters. The waves are not very high, but enough between 2 – 5 ft for the most part. The best time of the year to surf here is between September and November and again from March to May.

Combine spiritualism with surfing in Dwarka! Unlikely combination that it is, Dwarka is a pilgrimage place and it also sees some of the best swells on the west coast of India. Dwarka has some of the clearest water along the India coastline and the 5,000 years old town is visited by surfers during monsoon. Near the extreme north of the Dwarka Sri Krishna temple is a small point break that produces good waves that swells strong from the south.

Big waves and lots of rain is the monsoon tradition in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu. Known to be one of the windiest places in India, the waves here (from January till April) swell as high as 6 to 7 ft. The highest recorded in 2007 was a 20 ft wave! With warm waters the gigantic waves are usually blown outwards and an occasional offshore wind comes along from time to time which results in good waves. This is surely the place for brave surfing soldiers. This is not the place for beginners however pro surfers will surely enjoy the ride.

Auroville in Pondicherry is a unique place where surfing started just a few years ago. A few local surfers joined hands with two young Spanish brothers whose parents were settled in the area and established their base here. The pleasant waters here create small to full length swells and deliver the ultimate experience for all kinds of surfers. February and March particularly attract many surf enthusiasts wanting to try out this exhilarating sport.

Surf School: Kallialay Surf School-run by Samai and Juan Reboul.

Visakhapatnam better known as Vizag is a great location for surfers - beginners and pros. The waves here have plenty of power, but are not too steep or critical for the take offs. At Rushikonda Beach, you can be sure of encountering some ‘epic waves’ and according to world class surfers, the tube waves and crests here are amongst the best.

Surf School: Surfing Association of Vizag and Vizag Surf Club.

Puri, Orissa
Known to host India’s first surfing festival, Orissa's Puri - Konark Marine Drive beach surely holds an important place on the ‘hot surfing spots’ list of India. Overlooking the Bay of Bengal, in recent years, surfers come from all over to experience the full length waves that soar up to 9ft high during the monsoons from July till September. This is undoubtedly the spot for experienced surfers looking for a challenging ride.

Surf School: Surfing Yogis.

Get familiar with some surfing terms:
- Beach break: These are the best types of waves for learners, as the wave breaks on a sandy shore.
- Point break: A wave that breaks on rocks – the waves here are normally good and sought after by surfers, but watch out if you fall!
- Blown out: A wave that may have been good, but because of the windy conditions becomes too choppy and therefore unrideable.
- Glassy: When the wave or water surface is smooth and almost perfect.
- Bomb: An unusually large wave.
- Surf’s up: A phrase used to denote that waves that are worth riding, as many a time the waters are calm and one does get waves that one can ride.
- Barrel or tube: The hollow curl formed in a wave when it is breaking – the best place for a surfer to be!
- Double overhead: A wave that is twice the height of the rider.

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