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Chennai, TN, the surfing capital of India

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Surfing in Chennai and all of Tamil Nadu has seen a surge in popularity, captivating both locals and tourists along the state’s long and breathtaking coastline. The state’s diverse range of surf spots cater to surfers of all levels, making it an enticing destination for anyone looking to ride the waves.

The Tamil Nadu government and its tourism wing have also stepped in to promote the state as the go-to spot for surfing, attracting international celebrities like cricketer-surfers Sanju Samson and Jonty Rhodes. Young surfers trained by the surfing schools that have popped up all along the coast, are bringing home medals, trophies and even fat cash prizes from all over the Coromandel, Malabar and Konkan Coasts. These institutions ensure that aspiring surfers receive proper training and guidance, enabling them to develop their skills and enjoy the sport safely. Just last week young surfers from Tamil Nadu walked away with both top positions in both the men and women’s sections at the 4th National Open Surfing championship held in Mangalore on the west coast. Kiran Kumar and Kamali rode the waves to make the state proud!

Not surprisingly, the state has also seen the rise of surfing competitions and events, attracting surfers from all over the country and beyond. Tamil Nadu hosted its first surfing international event as early as 2011. These events not only showcase local talent but also foster a sense of community among surfers, contributing to the growth of the surfing culture in Tamil Nadu. The festivals that accompany these competitions include music performances, art exhibitions, food stalls, and other activities that celebrate the vibrant surfing scene.

The Tamil Nadu Tourism department also provides generous incentives for development of surfing infrastructure on the beaches and connects them internationally through a slick awareness campaign. “In all India Abroad festivals our department promotes surfing destinations on the Tamil Nadu Coast. This has brought dividends and we now get international surfers from South Africa, Australia and even from the US. These are all high value surfer tourists who come with big budgets. In a typical surfing season, the surfing schools and destinations are brimming with international surfers,” said government coordinator Muthuraman.

Tamil Nadu’s surfing facilities have more to offer in terms of ‘thrill-value’ for money. The facilities on offer are much better than other parts of India and rentals and accommodation come at an affordable price too.” Michael Hutchins, a graphic designer for films and surfing enthusiast from New Zealand

Tamil Nadu has truly emerged as a coastal gem for surfers, offering a delightful blend of thrilling waves, developing infrastructure, and excellent facilities. Whether you’re a beginner or gremmie, eager to learn the art of riding the waves or a charger, an experienced surfer seeking new adventures, the coastline of Tamil Nadu has something to offer everyone. Immerse yourself in the vibrant surfing scene, venture out to the top surfing points, and take full advantage of the available infrastructure and facilities to embark on an unforgettable surfing journey along the mesmerizing Tamil Nadu coastline.

Michael Hutchins, a graphic designer for films and surfing enthusiast from New Zealand, who visits both the east and west coasts of India, says, “I find the Tamil Nadu’s surfing facilities have more to offer in terms of ‘thrill-value’ for money. I felt the facilities on the offer at the Tamil Nadu coast are much better than other parts of India and rentals and accommodation come at an affordable price too.”

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So here’s the low down on the top surfing points in the state, details on the growing surfing infrastructure, and the facilities for surfers.

Top of the wave
The best surf spots are Auroville, Big Rock, Cherai Beach, Hawa’s Beach, Kanyakumari, Kovalam, Mahabalipuram, Manapad Point, Papanasam Beach, Pondicherry, Poovar, Rameswaram, Thotapalli, Tiruchendur, Varkala, Vasu’s and Vattikottai.

Renowned for its ancient temples, Mahabalipuram not only boasts a rich cultural heritage but also offers excellent opportunities for surfing. With consistent swells and a breathtaking coastline, this destination beckons surfers who wish to combine their love for the sport with a touch of history and culture. Mahabalipuram has several surfing schools and repair centres that offer packages and surfing lessons for beginners.

Nestled in a picturesque village near Chennai, Kovalam (Covelong) provides pristine beaches and gentle waves, making it an ideal destination for beginners. Surf schools and experienced instructors are on hand to guide newcomers into the world of surfing, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. Just 45 minutes from Chennai along East Coast Road, the underwater rocks in Kovalam beach guarantee enticingly surfable swells throughout the year. Annual festivals and competitions conducted here attract professional surfers and enthusiasts from different countries.

Covelong Point Surf Festival is an annual surfing event held near Surf Turf in Covelong Beach, Chennai. The festival attracts both national and international surfers who compete in various categories such as longboard, shortboard, and stand-up paddleboard. In addition to the surfing competition, the festival also includes music performances, art exhibitions, food stalls, and other activities that celebrate the surfing culture.

The facilities at the Tamil Nadu coast are much better than other parts of India; rentals and accommodation come at an affordable price too, says surfer Michael Hutchins from New Zealand

Rameswaram, a town steeped in religious significance, surprises visitors with its thrilling surf breaks. Experienced surfers can revel in challenging waves while immersing themselves in the vibrant surfing culture that has emerged in this holy town. On the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean, Rameshwaram offers facilities to enjoy wind surfing and stand-up boarding.

Tucked away in the Tuticorin district, Manapad remains a hidden gem for surfers seeking uncrowded waves and a tranquil surfing experience. This secluded spot offers an opportunity to connect with nature and experience the thrill of riding the waves undisturbed.

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Surfing Gear and Equipment
Surfboard rentals and surf shops are abundant throughout Tamil Nadu, offering a wide range of high-quality equipment. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a beginner, these establishments provide the necessary gear to make the most of your surfing experience.

To enhance the overall surfing experience, Tamil Nadu offers various facilities for surfers. Accommodation options specifically cater to surfers, ensuring their proximity to popular surfing points. Whether you’re looking for budget-friendly guesthouses or luxurious beach resorts, there are options available to suit every surfer’s preferences, providing comfort and convenience for those seeking to maximize their time on the waves.

Surf shops in Tamil Nadu offer a wide array of surfing gear and equipment. Whether you need a new board, a wetsuit, or accessories, these shops stock high-quality products to meet your needs. They cater to both locals and tourists, ensuring that surfers have access to the best equipment available.

Safety and Lifeguards
Safety is paramount in surfing, and Tamil Nadu recognizes the importance of providing a safe environment for surfers. Surfing Federation of India is the governing body for surfing in India. The state associations are Karnataka Surfing Association (KSA), Orissa Surfing Association (OSA), and Surfing and Water Sports Association of Tamil Nadu (SWAT). Tamil Nadu government also strictly monitors the safety aspects of all classes of surfers.

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