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Last month,  at the Summer Swell Challenge, a surf competition organised by Kallialay Surf School, in Pondicherry, more than 150 amateurs and professionals participated. The number of surf competitions in our country has been steadily increasing — festivals in Orissa and Kerala joined the club earlier this year and this weekend, Mahabalipuram will see the first edition of Covelong Point Classic Surf Contest. The year-old school by Murthy Megavan — a fisherman from Covelong Village — along with Arun Vasu of TT Logistics and Yotam Agam of EarthSync (a world music record label) introduces this three day celebration from today. Divided into six competition categories, the event also sees live music, free surf classes, ATV rides and a skateboard ramp. The festival will feature a special appearance by South African cricketing legend and surfer, Jonty Rhodes.
Everyone’s invited
With over 100 entries, Agam tells us that they are expecting surfers from across the country like Mumbai, Mangalore, Kerala, Pondicherry, Orrisa,plus a few international surfers. About 10 per cent of the participants are expats from Israel, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Sweden, Ireland, Italy and Spain,” he says. While some reside in India, others like Jonni Pollard , (who has a meditation centre called, One Giant Mind )are coming in from the US just for the competition. ‘‘Pollard, will also be taking meditation classes at the venue,” says Nirupama Belliappa, an organiser. “This is not just a surfing competition. With music, yoga and meditation, we are looking at a more holistic festival that will help the people of the village.This is a community development project driven by local fishermen and their families,” she adds, a surfer too. Murthy, who is busy organising accommodation for foreign participants, echoes this sentiment and says, “From the time we started the school, we have had around 150 people joining us. The beach has become famous and our families can actually start a business. Women from the village will have a dosa and tea stall at the event as well as a stall for breakfast and lunch.”
Sound and waves
Indie rockers Skrat, Australian singer/songwriters Edo and Jo, featuring renowned Carnatic musician Mahesh Vinaya-kram, folk fusion artiste Anthoney Dassan, renowned electronica artiste DJ Shiva Moon, Bangalore-based alternative rockers Live Banned and DJ Trey from Mumbai promise to get the crowds in the mood to  party. Lead vocalist of Skrat, Sriram TT, reveals that the band is into adventure sports, and says, “At the event, watch out for songs from both our albums.” The event is supposed to be alcohol and drugs free and therefore family-friendly. Sriram adds, “To include the people at the village is really fantastic. The attention is diverting to games other than just cricket.” Lead vocalist of the Bangalore-based band, Live Banned, Amrit Rao agrees. ‘‘Performing by the sea is peaceful. Expect 15 songs, a lot of madness and entertainment. We have done several beach shows, generally very peaceful but with our kind of music, it is just a lot of sound,” he laughs. The major highlight of the event however, will be a skateboard ramp, ATV rides, yoga and meditation sessions and surf lessons. “The skate boards are for about 20 skaters and the yoga classes will be held by Divya Rolla and Jotysna Ramakrishnana, trainers at Chennai’s 136.1 Yoga studio. Food counters will serve pastries, burgers and fries,” says Belliappa. The judges for the event will be Jamo Borthwick (Australia ), Wayan Pice (Indonesia) and Imad Sadiartha (Indonesia).
Starting today, till September 29, 7 am to 7 pm. Registration has to be done before the event. Details: 9840904077

—Mrinalini Sundar

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