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National surfing contest begins at Kovalam

Thiruvananthapuram, May 4 (): India’s first national Surfing and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) competition started at Sylvan Beach resort on Kovalam beach on Friday.

The competition started yesterday, Friday and will be held for three days. The event has been named as the Spice Coast Open.

The Spice Coast Open is being organised by Surfing Federation of India (SFI), the governing body for the sport in the country and supported by Kerala Tourism. Jonty Rhodes, South African cricketer, inaugurated the Spice Coast Open.

A passionate surfer, Rhodes named the Spice Coast Open as a pioneering event that could shape a new generation of international surfing stars from India.

At the inaugural meet, he said that there was a chance for India to get its youngsters interested in a sport that was thrilling and fun, and always kept one healthy and fit.

The 43-year-old is the fielding coach for the Mumbai Indians IPL cricket team. He finds surfing a welcome break from the stresses of cricket.

According to him, Surfing has got something that cricket does not and that is the ‘cool’ factor. Everything about surfing is cool, from the outfits to the style.

Deepti Jha, media and marketing head of Surfing Federation of India (SFI), said that they decided to hold the first ever competition in Kovalam because this is one destination where it all began.

Surfers from around the country and abroad are taking part in the event. In all, more than 100 participants from surf schools, state surfing clubs, associations and enthusiasts have registered for the event and it includes 20 foreign nationals and also six women.

The surfing competitions and SUP races in the three-day event here features surfing competitions for grooms (under 16), junior (under 21), senior (under 28) and masters (over 29) categories. International surfers will participate in the open category and there are separate competitions for girls.

President of Mangalore-based Surfing Federation, Kishore Kumar said he hoped to make the competition much bigger next year with more participants.

Rhodes praised the beaches in Kovalam and said they were fantastic spots for surfing.

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