Murthy Megavan wants Surfing Federation to hold yearly camps

With the Indian Open of Surfing set to get underway at Mangaluru's Sasihithlu Beach from May 26 to 28, Murthy discusses the current surfing scenario in the country and our future prospects, in an interview with Sportstar.

Murthy Megavan at the Covelong Surfing Point.   -  Shyam Vasudevan

Fisherman-turned surfer, Murthy Megavan is a pioneer of Indian surfing. From starting to surf on a piece of wood - to winning multiple championships - to running his own surfing school, Chennai's surfing guru seems to have done it all. With the Indian Open of Surfing set get underway at Mangaluru's Sasihithlu Beach from May 26 to 28, Murthy discusses the current surfing scenario in the country and our future prospects, in an interview with Sportstar.

Question: How has surfing evolved in India from when you first began?

Answer: When I started surfing back in 2001, I never thought we would get where we are today. The response to the sport has been phenomenal and there are over 150 professional surfers in India today, backed by close to 50 certified instructors. Youngsters have slowly begun taking up the sport and this year's tournament is hosting an Under-14 category, for the first time. We even have an 8-year-old participant from our academy.

Surfing has been now included as an official sport in the 2018 Asian Games as well as the 2020 Olympics. What do our prospects look like?

It is exciting news for us as the boys now have something to look forward to. Kovalam and Mahabalipuram are home to the largest number of surfers in the country. Two of my students, Dharani and Sekhar, are currently the top surfers in the country and I am sure that we will have more surfers from Kovalam as a part of the Indian team at the Olympics. If I do not get to participate (due to age restrictions), I will go as a coach for sure.

How effective a role does the Surfing Federation of India play?

The federation is much more effective now, but they can do a lot more to develop the sport. While its authority is currently centered in Mangaluru, de-centralisation of power among the various surfing states is essential, as it would open room for more discussion and greater promotion. A split of power is the need of the hour.

What kind of reforms do you expect from the government to further develop the sport?

The government, along with the Sports Authority of India, must take more initiatives and extend greater support to the sport. They should choose talented surfers from across the country and organize yearly camps, where they take them to other surfing points and train them in different conditions. Another positive move would be to rope in a foreign coach to teach local surfers better moves and techniques. If these ideas are met, I am sure India will be among the top surfing nations in the world, in the next five years.

How has your preparation been for the upcoming Indian Open of Surfing?

We have been training hard throughout the year and are well-prepared. A couple of the senior surfers had recently gone abroad to train as well, so I think we stand a good chance. If my boys win, its as good as me winning. I am very confident, I will come back with the trophy.

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