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Surfing Culture in Kavaratti island advocates Community involvement

Lakhwadeep Surf Club in Kavaratti island is involving indigenous surfing Community to take action against climate change.

By Elsie Gabriel

The ocean has a personality that Iam in love with. It leaves me always smitten with it’s mystery and intrigue, playfulness and healing values, all of which you will find on the shores of Kavaratti in Lakshadweep Islands. These islands have an airport at the Aggatti island and they can also be reached by ship from Cochin. Getting a permit is compulsory through the government tourism board. Minicoy, Bangaram, Kadmat, Kalpeni and Aggatti are well visited smaller prestine island’s which have lesser inhabitants. But it’s Kavaratti the capital island which is creating huge waves literally in the surfing industry. Kavaratti island is accessible by sea vessels well furnished with ACs which run daily and should get you there in two hours once you arrive in Aggatti.

Are you ready to take on those rolling waves that pack more punch, work on your balancing acts and turn on that adrenaline rush? Lakhwadeep islands is one of the best places on the planet to improve your surfing.

Parking his foam on the sand with the evenings ritual session of training the indigenous young surfing students, Abdul Samad emerges from the crystal clear waters to explain more about the emerging surfing scenario among these beautiful prestine island’s in South Western India.

Graceful, yet his powerful command of a surfboard is captivating as he strings the waves together with ease.

Samad connect’s the surf breaks with pannache, watching him and his Lakhshadweep Surf Club team members catching the waves is simply mermerising. Tucked away in this beautiful hamlet of Kavaratti island is the islands first and only surf club which draws these passionate indigenous surf enthusiasts of all ages from all over the islands, the youngest being only 13 years old; to train, educate and practice.

His life is dedicated to teaching the inhabitants, boys and girls free of charge to learn the sport and cultivate the surfing culture of Lakshadweep.

Speaking about his mission to promote a healthy community lifestyle, Samad opines that he strives to create a safe environment on Kavaratti beaches and coastline through casual patrols, education and training, public safety campaigns and the promotion of health and fitness. Samad adds,” Surfing keeps the youth busy constructively using their time and energy. It keeps their happiness quotient high. They feel they have learnt a skill and it does wonders to their personality development. So far we have over 50 island surfer’s and continue to grow.

We have conducted many Surfing campaigns as well as beach cleanups encouraging community participation. We also re-use and reduce through recycling our boards when ever repairs are possible. After cyclone Ockhi we know first hand of the destruction and damage we faced. We surfer’s have a responsibility to take care of our oceans.”

 

Till today as you go in for a dive or swim, one can see the piles of broken corals strewn all over some shores, reminding us of the wrath of nature and that climate change is real. Ocean levels are rising, temperatures soaring and very soon if we citizens of the world don’t act fast, adopt renewable energy sources and conserve, islands like these will be endangered. The global citizen must understand the needs of the small island nations of the world, if we are united in our fight against climate change.

The global culture of surfing has grown dramatically from just being a relaxed way of fun on the beach to a recognised sport. The awareness has led many to research on the health benefits of surfing. Samad is a three time gold medalist national swimming champion, participated in national surfing competitions, PADI Dive Master and International certified surf instructor besides dedicating his career at the tourism centre of the territory. Adds Samad further, “The sport promotes balance, cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength. These physical benefits come from paddling through the water, increasing arm and back strengt. Surfing also gives one a chance to think and soak in the calmness in an ocean ecological scenario that decreases stress and elevates relaxation. Our youngest surfer is only 13 years old, it’s easy and fun for the kids too.”

Looking to ride a wave for the first time or advance your technique, the Lakshadweep Surf club team are dedicated and will deliver a fun time for sure.

After his graduation in Cochin, Samad returned only stronger to further the water sports and surfing culture in his island nation. Obviously because they are inhabited by long coastal areas filled with prestine beauty.

“Whether you’re experienced or not, we will customize to your skill level and individual goals.

Looking to rent a board, learn stand up paddle we’ve got you covered. Lakshadweep is easily accessible by ship and flights from Cochin with a compulsory government permit.” Further elaborates

Samad who has spent much of his life living in these idyllic archipelago coastal environs, surfing, fishing, camping, that he’s long been inspired to protect the land and seas he loves. Hailing from a family of eight children, life wasn’t easy, Samad is the only earning member, whose father is a Fisherman which is traditional career among the islanders.

Talking to him about what it means to be a surfer in an era of threats to the environment everywhere he spoke about how surfer’s can give the ocean a voice.

“We diver’s and surfer’s are interacting as close as we can with the ocean environment. If anybody should be aware of how vital and unique water is and, in some ways, how fragile our earth is, it is us ocean lover’s. We mainly enforce the ban on plastic very strictly. Hopefully

more and more in the surfing and diving industry have taken the responsibility and are doing all that they can, as our islands can get more negatively effected by global warming. ”

Surely,the Lakshadweep Surf Club show that surfers are not only ace water sports enthusiasts but potential environmental advocacy folks in an era when the planet needs all the allies it can get. Kavaratti island should be on the global map of surfer’s paradise!

 

(The writer is a world traveller, award winning environmentalist,climate change advocate, connecting the anthropological discoveries and gourmet findings to the globe. Being an advanced PADI scuba diver and ocean lover ,with expertise in Environment law and Mass Communications she explores means to uplift ocean communities.)

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