The Surfing fever is soon to hit India with the first ever ‘All Cargo Indian Open of Surfing’ being organized in Sasihithlu Beach, Mangalore by Mantra Surf Club in association with Kanara Surfing & Water Sports Promotion Council. The inaugural edition of Indian Open of Surfing is presented by Karnataka Tourism, Government of Karnataka and recognised by International Surfing Association and Surfing Federation of India.
The three-day tournament being hosted on the Sasihithlu Beach in Mangalore, Karnataka will feature the cream of Indian as well as International Surfers with prize money of Rs. 6 lakh on offer, and is expected to attract over 80 surfers. The categories for the event are U16, junior boys (17-22-year-olds), senior men (22-28-year-olds), masters men (28 years old and above).
There is also a women’s category at the event. The event will be officiated by Mr. Steve Robertson, General Manager for ‘World Surf League’ as well as Tim Hain, General Manager of the ‘Asian Surfing Championships.’
The Indian Open of Surfing, inspired by the US Open of Surfing and the Australian Open of Surfing is the first of its kind in Karnataka. The Surfing Federation of India, with a view to popularise the sport of surfing in India has also tied up with the Mantra Surf Club and the newly formed Kanara Surfing &Water Sports Promotion Council. In doing so, they hope to open up an additional revenue stream for the sport.
Along with the National Surfing Competition, the tournament will also witness a Bodyboarding Competition and a Stand Up Paddle Race. A kitesurfing demo is also on the cards, weather permitting. With Jonty Rhodes as the event ambassador, live music shows, and a food festival as well, a number of celebrities such as Bollywood Superstar Sunil Shetty, Cricketers Paddy Upton and Sanju Samson are expected to descend on the coastal city during the event.
Speaking about the event, the event ambassador and South African former cricketer Jonty Rhodes highlighted the importance of such events in India, “This event is a major development of surfing as a sport in India. I am thrilled to be promoting an event that might be a game changer for Surfing scenario in the country.”
The President of the Surfing Federation of India, Mr Kishore Kumar also believes in the potential of surfing as a major spectator sport in India, “Surfing has a tremendous potential to reach to its mass audience and make an impact. It is indeed a great opportunity for budding Surfers to showcase their prowess.”
In an endeavour to make the event spectator friendly, Karnataka Tourism has also embarked on a major cleanup of the beach area with the motto, ‘Helping Hand for Surf and Sand’. This cleanup operation has attracted over 300 volunteers.
They hope to encourage the sport, and see it as an additional arena where tourism based activities can be increased. The event will be judged by a panel of ISA certified judges from Australia, France and India headed by Made Sachang from Bali.