5 Reasons India Should Be Your Next Surf Destination & Your Guide to Decide Where to Go

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

India is a hidden jewel when it comes to surfing.

With thousands of kilometers of coastline and warm sandy beaches, India has plenty of undiscovered surf spots. It has over 11 surf schools as well as surf festivals and competitions taking place throughout the year.


You can take a break from surfing by exploring the vast culture of the surf towns, from tasting local foods to vising ancient ruins. While surfing is relatively new to India, it is slowly becoming one of the most popular surf destinations in Asia.


The year-round surf season and plethora of surf spots, with waves ranging from 3 feet to 15 feet high, makes India perfect for every level of surfer. It is also one of the cheapest destinations in the world to learn surfing. India integrates its culture of Ayurveda, meditation, and yoga with surfing, making it a very unique experience.


Here are 5 reasons India should be your next surf destination, and your guide to surfing in India-

1. India has many surf spots

2. One of the cheapest surf destinations

3. Year-round surf season

4. Surf festivals & a unique surfing community

5. There is not a large surf crowd



1. India has many surf spots


With 7500 kilometers of coastline, India has many surf spots. There are more than 11 accredited surf schools and plenty of hidden gems of spots waiting to be discovered. The coast receives an uninterrupted swell as it is exposed to open seas. With thousands of kilometers of accessible beach, there are a variety of surf spots for every level of surfer.


Here is a list of the top surf spots we recommend based on which city you are in:


Mumbai- Mumbai, Goa, Gokarna, Varkala

Bangalore- Pondicherry, Varkala, Mahabalipuram, Goa, Gokarna, Udupi

Delhi- Goa, Pondicherry, Varkala

Chennai- Covelong, Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram

Kolkata- Puri, Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram


Click here to book your trip to one of these destinations.


Another advantage of the lengthy coastline is also a year-long surf season. The beaches in India are sandy, which means there is no risk of injury from rocks or reefs. Therefore, India is one of the safest surf destinations.


2. India is one of the cheapest surf destinations


India is one of the cheapest countries to visit and learn how to surf. Along with idyllic conditions for beginners throughout the year, India was ranked the 2nd cheapest in the World Surf Lesson Price Index, making it the best place to start your surfing journey. Also, India ranks as the 12th cheapest country in the world to visit as per the backpacker Index 2020.


Below, we have compared the cost of surf lessons in India with the prices in three top surf destinations.


The average cost of a two-hour lesson -

India - 23 USD

USA - 85 USD

Australia - 50 USD

Indonesia - 45 USD


The average cost for a surf lesson in India is 20-25 USD and the average cost of renting a surfboard for two hours is 8 USD, making it one of the cheapest surf destinations in the world.


Apart from this, India accommodates a wide variety of budgets with several hotel, food, and travel options. For stay, most surf spots have hotel options starting from as low as 5 USD/night. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of mid and high range hotels available.


You can get a meal for less than 2 USD, while a fancier sit-down meal will cost you 3-5 USD. There are plenty of private and public transport options available in most parts of India, such as trains, buses, cabs, car rentals, and flights.


Click here to get an idea of how much your surf trip will cost.


The overall budget for your India surf trip would be-

Budget trip - 1500 rupees (20 USD) / day

Mid-range trip - 4500 rupees (60 USD) / day

Luxury trip - 8000 rupees (105 USD) / day


3.Year-round surf season


With its long coastline, great surf waves hit India all year-round. This also means that with every new season, comes different-sized waves. Through the year, there are perfect waves for beginners, averaging between 3 to 5 feet. However, there are times when big waves, mostly on the West Coast, attract intermediate and advanced surfers.


The best seasons for every level of surfer in India-


Year-round (Jan-Dec)

  • Best places to go: Pondicherry, Covelong

Winter season (Nov-March)

  • Ideal for beginner surfers: waves ranging from 3-5 feet high

  • Best places to go: Varkala, Goa, Gokarna, Puri, Mumbai

Pre-monsoon season (April-May)

  • Ideal for intermediate surfers: waves bigger than 5 feet high

  • Best places to go: Little Andamans, Udupi, Kovalam, Mulki

Monsoon season (May-October)

  • East coast: ideal for beginner surfers

  • West coast: ideal for advanced surfers

  • Best places to go: Mahabalipuram, Mangalore, Udupi


From May to September, during the pre-monsoon and monsoon season, the swell ranges from 8 to 15 feet and above. The biggest waves during this period generally hit the West Coast, especially Kerala.


The small swell season is between October and April. This coincides with the peak tourist season. The waves during this period average between 3 to 5 feet. However, there are occasional bigger swells, generated by small storms.


An added bonus is that there is perfect surfing weather all year round. You will never have to wear a wetsuit- just remember to carry sunscreen!


4. Surf festivals & unique surfing community



A major part of the surf culture in India is surf festivals. These festivals are organised throughout the year, attracting tourists from all over the country and even the world. The festivals integrate music, films, art, and surfing creating a special experience. They also showcase local cuisines and hold various workshops on yoga, meditation, stand-up paddling (SUP), kite-surfing, and more.


India has a very tight-knit, yet welcoming surfing community. It is made up of local surfers and international surfers who have settled in India for its amazing surf culture. The surfing experience in India proves to be unique and wholesome, integrating surfing with Ayurveda, meditation, and yoga.


Another distinctive feature of the Indian surfing community is its close affiliation with the local fishing communities. Some of the best surf instructors in India are fishermen, who have earned instructor qualifications.


Here is a list of the major surf festivals in India:


India Surf Festival, Puri, Odisha (November)

Covelong Point Surf Contest, Covelong, Tamil Nadu (September)

International Surfing Championship, Covelong, Tamil Nadu (August)

Summer Swell Challenge, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu(August)

Spice Coast Open, Kovalam, Kerala (May)

Indian Open of Surfing, Mangalore, Karnataka (May)


Book your trip to experience one of these festivals here.


5. There is not a large surf crowd


Surfing has not yet become a mainstream sport in India. This has a number of advantages. For one, the beaches aren’t crowded with surfers, allowing you to take on the waves in peace.

Additionally, most of the surfing spots are undiscovered, allowing you to explore and discover great surfing spots on your own! Some rare and hidden surfing points are Manapad, Dwarka, Puri, Thiruchindur, Mahe, Kapu, and Puri.





Where and how to book?


Head straight to Adventure Play's Surf section to find out everything you need to know about your India surf trip - from selecting your surf school, to even finding a buddy to go surfing with. If you’re new to surfing don’t forget to check out the newbie’s guide to surfing.



Conclusion


India has a lot of destinations to choose from. Most of them are comparable in terms of price, location, waves, and crowd - so it doesn’t really matter where you’re going as long as you're going! You can do a weekend road trip to the nearest surf spot, or plan a week-long surf holiday, OR you can extend your weekend trip into a week-long surf holiday - just go for it. What are you waiting for? Book your India surf trip right now!

 

About Author-


Tarini Srivastava is a content contributor at Adventure Play.

Tarini first learned surfing at the age of ten. Since then, she has spent her time exploring surf spots around her hometown, Chennai, such as Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Covelong, and Goa. She is currently doing her undergraduate in Political Science and International Relations, in Delhi. She tries to spend every break she gets hitting the waves.


Adventure Play is a one-stop platform to discover new outdoor sports, browse through destinations and connect with a school of your choice. Also check out our Find a Buddy portal if you're looking for someone to go with!

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