Surf’s up: Sleepless in East Coast Road

Mohammed Rayaan | Updated on: Aug 02, 2022
The Covelong Classic will be held on August 5-7 at Surf Turf in Kovalam

The Covelong Classic will be held on August 5-7 at Surf Turf in Kovalam

Rising wave of interest for upcoming Surfing Festival at Kovalam 

The East Coast Road is buzzing with action. If the 44th Chess Olympiad is keeping Chennaites excited, residents now have another reason to make a beeline in that direction — the Covelong Classic to be held on August 5-7 at Surf Turf in Kovalam.

Since its inception in 2013, this event has been growing steadily, with 20,000 visitors attending the 2019 edition, including former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes, after which the pandemic ebbed the tide.

‘Mahabs Point Break Challenge
The ‘Mahabs Point Break Challenge - the National Surf Championship’ took place at Mahabalipuram before the opening of this week’s ‘Covelong Classic’ at Surf Turf in Kovalam.Video Credit: Surf Turf

Arun Vasu, President of the Surfing Federation of India (SFI) the country’s recognised body for surfing, told BusinessLine, “Last year, we did hold a small-scale surfing event alone but with necessary Covid protocols. This time though we have brought back the Covelong Classic which includes the Covelong Point Surf Competition, live music, food, and other fitness activities.”

The organisers expect over 80 participants for the surfing competition (B Velankanni Raj/THEHINDU)

The organisers expect over 80 participants for the surfing competition (B Velankanni Raj/THEHINDU)

Wave of interest

Vasu expects over 80 participants to take part in the event hosted by the Covelong Point Social Surf School and the TT Group in association with the SFI.

Arun Vasu, President of the Surfing Federation of India (SFI) and Managing Director of TT Group

Arun Vasu, President of the Surfing Federation of India (SFI) and Managing Director of TT Group

“We have also invited surfers from the Maldives and Sri Lanka,” he says. “Mahabalipuram has one of the best surf points in India while the one at Kovalam is a faster zone. With the Chess Olympiad taking place close by, we are certainly expecting more visitors this year.”

Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes takes photo with surfing enthusiasts at the Covelong Festival on August 25, 2019. (B Velankanni Raj)

Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes takes photo with surfing enthusiasts at the Covelong Festival on August 25, 2019. (B Velankanni Raj)

On August 1 & 2, the organisers are holding the ‘Mahabs Point Break Challenge’ — the National Surf Championship.

“We are hoping to expand with five more events next year and make this place a surfing circuit,” says Vasu, who is also the Managing Director of TT Group. “Now that the Olympic Committee included surfing at the Tokyo Games, we are motivated to make this a large place, and the next five years will be definitely exciting.”

In 2019, the festival saw over 20,000 visitors

In 2019, the festival saw over 20,000 visitors | Photo Credit: Tim S Hain

All for local

He also notes that this year, the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu is the platinum sponsor of the Covelong Classic along with Jawa Yezdi Motorcycles.

Over forty food stalls will be set up by local businesses from the village

Over forty food stalls will be set up by local businesses from the village

“I think this shows that the government is recognising the need for surfing in this place,” Vasu says. “That was, in fact, our first intention as well — to offer the fisher folks of this village an alternate means of income. We are always focused on teaching young children to get into surfing.” 

Live music shows will also be conducted as part of the Covelong Classic

Live music shows will also be conducted as part of the Covelong Classic

He then credited the support extended by the local panchayat and families of the fishing community.

“During the festival, you can see over forty food stalls set up by the people here,” Vasu informs and adds smiling: “People who come from Chennai very much love the food or the local talent who take part in the music shows. They are even more impressed to find the fishermen looking cool with surfboards!” 

Published on August 01, 2022
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