15 November 2016, Ramchandi Beach, Odisha – India: 26 year old Manikandan from Kovalam won the 5th annual India Surf Festival Surf Cup yesterday afternoon in challenging 2-3 foot beachbreak waves at Ramchandi Beach, besting fellow competitors Dharani (Kovalam), Satish (Kovalam) and young 16 year old Kalyan (Visag) in the 25 minute final.
After accepting his trophy and cash, Manikandan was asked how he felt about his win. “ It was really amazing to win this year, as I didn’t expect to win because the waves in the final were small for me,” he said. “Before in this event I’ve made it to the finals but always got second or third, never first, so this is so exciting for me and I’m really happy to finally win!”
When asked about his strategy for winning he explained, “I was waiting for the sets as I saw there was a channel, so I was just trying to be patient and wait for only the good ones. I sat there and talked to my self, saying just be patient, and also I was talking to the waves saying please come to me. Finally I got one good one, and then had to find a backup wave…which I did but it wasn’t as good as the first one. Lucky for me it was good enough, so I could finally win here at the ISF!”
Manikandan was the in form surfer of the day, posting the highest single wave score of the competition in Round 3, a whopping 9.33 points out of a possible 10.0 for a bomb 4 foot set wave that he blasted several big turns on and rode all the way almost to the sand. In the final, the waves were wind affected and smaller but his patience was rewarded as the other finalists prowled the lineup picking off waves as he sat and waited for the waves with the biggest scoring potential.
“It was Manikandan’s powerful open face turns that were on rail, a hard thing to learn to do consistently, that won this event for him,” said ASC Head Judge Billy Hangan. “He was getting the biggest waves and doing the best maneuvers, posting the highest score of the day, a 9.3 out of 10 in Round 3, blasting three big turns on one of the biggest waves we saw in today’s competition. So the best surfer definitely won today, and I also want to say thanks to our judges Krisna, Melvile, Nico, and Murty for doing a great job these last two days as well as to Andy, Shiva and crew for the set up on the beach. It’s been a great experience here in India and I hope everybody learned something from this event, as I know I did!”
It was the second day and final day of competition that saw a mixed field of 18 mostly Indian competitors but also a few international competitors that had traveled to this beautiful stretch of coastline on the Bay of Bengal to enjoy the festival and join in the annual competition.
In addition to the surfing competition, the India Surf Festival also included yoga classes, SUP classes, an SUP race, and skateboarding as well as live music and entertainment in the evenings, allowing the attendees to relax and enjoy nature and watersports in this big nature preserve by the beach.
India Surf Festival’s creator Sanjay Samantaray was very pleased at the end of the event, first saying, “From a very small event with just a handful of people, look at how far we’ve come. It gives me goosebumps when I think about how this dream of putting together now five consecutive festivals so that surfing can be known to people, to the mainstream media. Though I’m not a good surfer myself, and I don’t surf very often actually, the spirit of this event is to develop a surfing and boardsport culture here in India, as we have so much water and coastline, so there is nothing wrong with being a promoter, right?”
Then he added, “It may not give a lot of money or profits, but there are a lot of opportunities to explore in surfing and sports and that is one of the goals of this event, to bring people together and get more exposure. And having a surfing competition in this event does create more exposure, and we know that sports and competitiveness go together, so I think it is the right thing to do. Having the ASC come and give their energy, bringing their knowledge to us for the second year, helps everybody to learn and that’s what we need to grow. And last but equally important is the strong environmental message that we need to spread, to take care of our beaches and water so that us and our future generations can enjoy what we are able to enjoy. Looking around I see a lot of happiness right now, and I hope we can continue to share this for a many years to come.”
The India Surf Festival was held at Ramchandi Beach from 12-14 November and was funded/sponsored by the Odisha Department of Tourism, Quiksilver India, and Airtel.
India Surf Cup Results
1. Manikandan (Kovalam) – 10. 6 points – INR 50,000
2. Dharani (Kovalam) – 9.63 points – INR 30,000
3. Satish (Kovalam) – 9.62 points – INR 10,000
4. Kalyan (Visag) – 7.13 points
SUP Race Results
1. Dandoy (Philippines) – INR 30,000
2. Manikandan (Kovalam) – INR 20,000
3. Murty (Kovalam) INR 10,000
4. Rajsekar (Kovalam)
For more information about the India Surf Festival please contact:
Asian Surfing Championships
About the Asian Surfing Championships (ASC)
The Asian Surfing Championships was established in 2010 as the progression of the highly successful Indonesian Surfing Championships that began in Bali, Indonesia in 2004. The mission of the ASC is to develop and progress the sport of surfing in Asia by assisting in the organizing and sanctioning of professional surfing events, which will help their growing surf communities and draw more attention to their areas for the progression of surfing locally, nationally, and throughout the Asian Region.
Since 2008, the ASC/ISC has sanctioned 195 events around the Asian region for an average of 24 events per year, ranging from junior events to co-sanctioned pro events with the World Surf League in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Maldives, the Philippines, India, Taiwan, and China, and the ASC event media releases and video highlights reach over 12 million viewers per year.