Yes, you can go surfing in India. Yes there is a surf scene and even surf competitions held in the country. It’s a thing; with over 7,000km of coastline, it’s safe to say there’s plenty of unexplored breaks in the country. And if you are going travelling in India, surfing in India should definitely be on your adventure bucket list. No matter your level or ability, there are waves to cater for all… and they aren’t as crowded as the points over in India’s next-door neighbour Sri Lanka’s world famous spots in Arugam Bay.
In this post, I’ll give you all the essential information you’ll need before you depart on your trip to go surfing in India, including water temperature guideline, locations that have been established for their surf, and a few other top tips to keep in mind when you go surfing in India.
Surf Locations in India
There are a few locations which have now been established for surf tourism, predominantly on the main land but also a little surf gem out in the Andaman Sea. On the South West coast in Kerala you’ll find a sprinkling of surf shops and schools in Varkala. The surf season on the west coast is October to April and it’s accessible to all levels from beginner to experienced, mainly with beach breaks. If you’re on the East coast, head to Pondicherry and the beaches to the north where you’ll again find a handful of surf schools between the months of June to October.
If you’re advanced or want to sit on a desert island while watching some incredible surfers on some out-of-this-world and mostly un-ridden waves, then head to the Andaman Islands.
Essential Information for Surfing in India
Is possible, but not always available. In Varkala you have options from the likes of Soul & Surf, plus a few other rental shops on the North Cliff. However if you want to go to any of the breaks above, you’ll need your own board OR you’ll need to to head out with Soul & Surf on one of their awesome morning surf trips (suitable for all abilities from beginner to advanced).
Safety & surfing
Wear zinc on your face. And a high factor, water resistant sunscreen.
You won’t require a wetsuit of any amount of thickness as the waters are warm (a balmy 28 degrees Celsius on average in the locations mentioned in this post). Men can easily wear board shorts and a rash vest. And ladies, although you don’t require a wetsuit you do still need to cover up to refrain from offending the locals. A lot of the beaches you travel to are NOT bikini friendly beaches. Just because you see a beach in India, doesn’t automatically mean you can get your ass and tits out.
A lot of the time you’ll find little fishing communities living close to the shore along with Muslim mosques and Hindi temples. It’s highly inappropriate to even get changed in these locations and bear shoulder or thigh let alone wear a bikini IN the water while you’re surfing with your tight little ass spilling over a dental floss sized piece of Lycra. Surf leggings and a tee-shirt will not only provide modesty and earn you respect from the locals but will also keep you surfing longer as you remain protected from the sun. Check out some of my favourite surf outfits below for the culturally sensitive surfer (which we all should be girls!).
Buying surf gear
Is not easy in India. Surfing is still relateively new to India and thus surf schools and any kind of surf accessories shopping is pretty limited. Bring as much as you can.
The Plastic Problem
If you’re reading this, the likeliness is you love surfing or the idea of it. And if either of those resonate with you, chances are you love the ocean. I mean we all want to be mermaids these days anyway, right?! The plastics problem is prevalent in India, as with most countries around the world. So let’s help do our bit and actively do a beach clean when we go surfing. It only has to take a matter of 2 minutes. That’s 120 seconds. That 00% of your day. #2MinuteBeachClean
Reputable surf camps
Soul & Surf
Call me biased, but I stayed here for two months as a volunteer in the cafe, and the vibe at this place is amazing. Their experience local and glocal surf team will take you to some of the most beauitful surf spots in Kerala. You are guaranteed to learn a thing or two from they guys here, and experience less crowded surf spots than the likes of Sri Lanka’s Arugam Bay.
Not only that, but their regular BBQ nights and Saadhya (food served in a traditional way on a banana leaf) nights will have you making new friends for life with other travellers and surf-stoked guests. Plus they offer yoga to help stretch out those tight over-surfed muscles.
Kallilay Surf School in Pondicherry
Run by Nico’s co-shaper at Indi Surfboards, Samai, this school will teach you all the essentials you need to get popping up in style over on the east coast of India.
Enjoy your surf trip to India!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask below. Or if you just want to share the stoke of India’s surf scene then feel free to drop a comment in below. If you’re stoked to find more surf in India, check out this useful guide which should get you started with your explorations for swell!