India Surf Festival – 2012
Surfing Yogis headed by Sampu Samntaray had long weaved a dream of bringing all Indian surfers, local artists, musicians and introduce Stand up Paddle in the state of Orissa to promote eco-tourism and on February 7th-2012, India held it’s first surf festival at Puri, Orissa.
The festival kicked off in a spectacular way at the venue known as Lotus resorts which are located at Puri-Konark marine drive. The venue was in an ideal location to hold an event such as this, because of its own private beach, lagoon, a river mouth, and a potential surf break.
The festival created a wonderful opportunity at bringing all Indian surfers together after a long time and to see every surfer greeting each other wholeheartedly and in true surfers spirit. The festival had some wonderfully talented musicians and entertainers who had come from Mumbai, Israel and even Odisha government had sent its own local traditional dancers extending their support.
Surfing Federation of India (SFI) had extended it’s full support to the event and was there to recognize, promote, and nurture the sport in the right way. The federation was headed by its delegation headed by Kishore Kumar (President).
One of the highlights of the festival was to introduce Stand up Paddle surfing / flatwater surfing at Chilika lake (second largest lagoon in the world) to promote eco-tourism and for the Chilika lake fishermen to understand other means of transport. For the introduction and training of Standup Paddle, NSP rider Jesse Brown and IUSUP rider Cedrick from Switzerland had come to the festival and were seen actively taking part in training and introducing the sport to many locals.
Odisha tourism department was so keen to support SUP, that they requested to hold a SUP race to generate local interest and were happy to give away Rs. 50,000 as a cash prize for winners.
One of the encouraging signs of the festival was to see many young people coming from across the country to be part of the festival and to learn and see what’s surfing is all about. The media were there too at maximum numbers to cover this unique event and were seen fully engaged in interviewing and documenting the whole event.
In the end, everyone was very delighted to be part of the festival and more importantly to be part of the growing surf scene in India and all went back with happy memories and at the thought of being there at the next surf festival/competition which could be just around the corner.