Covelong Point Surf Music and Yoga Festival from Friday 

The three-day event will see close to 170 surfers from ten nations compete, including both the men’s and women’s defending champions Raghul Paneerselvam and Suhasini Damian respectively.

Vilassini Sundar, Somdev Devvarman and Sekar Pitchai at the launch of the Covelong Point Surf Music and Yoga Festival.   -  Special Arrangement

The sixth edition of the Covelong Point Surf Music and Yoga Festival begins on Friday and former Indian tennis star Somdev Devvarman is excited about the rising popularity of surfing in India.

Speaking at the launch of the event, Somdev said, “As an athlete it is amazing to see surfing pick up as a sport. Surfing is potentially one of the more popular sports across many parts of the world and it’s heartening to see the sport pick up in India.”

With surfing added as a sport in the 2020 Olympics, there has been added interest in this year’s event. The three-day event will see close to 170 surfers from ten nations compete, including both the men’s and women’s defending champions Raghul Paneerselvam and Suhasini Damian respectively.

To strengthen India’s position in the surfing map, the Surfing Federation of India (SFI) has signed an agreement with the Sri Lanka Surfing Federation which allows surfers from both the countries to participate in official competitions across the two countries.

While SFI has been established in 2011, it is yet to be affiliated with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). With very few states in India having a coastline and even fewer states taking to the sport, it has been a difficult task.

“We need state associations for that and we are working on that. We got the policy for state associations drafted and we have a roadmap which we are following,” said Ram Mohan Paranjpe, vice-president, SFI.

On the event, Paranjpe said, “Competitions like these are very important for the future of the sport in India and it is through these competitions that we would see many other take the bigger stage at the global stage.”