Text & Images by Dhruv Vishwasrao
This November India Surf Festival hosted it's 5th edition on Ramchandi beach, Odisha. ISF is an initiative by Surfing Yogi's started with the spirit to create a feeling of togetherness among all surfers, artists, and other action sports athletes by bringing them together on a common platform. All with an idea to share their wisdom and experiences to bring about a change in the society and in the minds of today's youth.
The festival had a bunch of learning activities, workshops and competitions along with live art and music right on the beach. The activities ranged from Surfing, Stand-up-paddling, Skateboarding, Longboarding, Parasailing, Yoga on water, a lot more of everything that vibed with the alternative culture. The festival also saw live performances from Indian and foreign artists making the crowd sway to the sounds of Post rock, sitar & electronica fusion, percussion based music, progressive metal, western classical and Indian Carnatic music. There was a fully loaded camp site for the visitors at the festival, with tents in the forest off the shores of the ocean. A lot of positivity could be sensed flowing across the sands as the festivities lasted three long days.
The first day of the festival started off with an inaugural ceremony to kickstart the entire festival.
The surfers from Covelong, Kovalam, Vizag, Goa, Mangalore and other hot surf spots across the country had a warmup session on the first day to test out the waters, along with surfers from Philippines, Argentina, Singapore, Spain, Italy, Morocco and Brazil.
The Skateboarding Workshop, presented and hosted by Active8 Sports was held on a full fledged skate park on the beach. The skateboard experience zone attracted an enormous crowd as spectators, as well as enthusiasts trying the sport on the beach setup. Surfers, longboarders, first timers, everyone throwing down their own style!
A walk on water workshop was organized by Elena Perez, a professional instructor from Spain, which was a massive crowd puller for the festival. This workshop was also followed by a Stand-up-paddle (SUP) race the following day.
The second day saw the surfers riding the waves through the heats and onto the next day’s finals.
The folks at Active8 Sports set up a slackline close to the ramps, which got a lot of members of the crowd inquisitive enough to try their balancing skills on it. A small demo was put up Navin (Active8 team member) & Laxman (Climber from Bangalore), which showcased his skills on the slackline to much appreciation and applauds from the spectators.
Day 3 saw the winners from day 2’s heats face off for the ISF Surf Cup. The surf competition’s top three places were bagged by Manikandan, Dharani and Satish respectively; all surfers from Kovalam.
The SUP race drew a massive crowd with the spectators cheering the participants on from start to finish. The top spots in the SUP race were bagged by Dandoy, Manikandan and Murthy in the said order.
Longboarding Crew India (LCI) which had the longboarders from Manipur, Mumbai as well as from the Girl Longboarding Crew organized a longboarding workshop on Day 3 for the visitors at the festival.
The prize distribution coupled with the closing ceremony took place once the workshops came to an end. As the sun set on the three day long festival, the bands and the artists took to the stage to entrance the audience with their beats and rhythms.
The performance started off with Thaalavattam, Jewels Back, The Reasonable Hope, and was concluded by an Argentinian artist, Sitar Sonic. The LCI crew from Manipur put up a small show as well for the spectators.
All in all, the event was a major success and drew up a massive crowd to it. The visitors and organizers alike had a memorable experience as part of ISF 2016.
A big shout out to the Surf Schools, LCI crews, bands, foreign athletes, artists, the organizers and the volunteers for making the time spent at the festival a beautiful and life-remembering memory.