Let’s Go ‘Trippin’ while ‘Surfin’ at Sasihithlu!
“In the midst of the waters is moving the Lord, surveying men’s truth and men’s lies. How sweet are the waters, crystal clear and cleansing? Now, may these great divine waters quicken me!” -Rig Veda VII, 49.3
Mangaluru: “Alright .And the thing we want you to yell -Three words”let’s go trippin”. We want you to yell out on the count of three OK? One, Two, Two-and-a-half, Three ,Let’s Go Trippin’-Yeah, baby!” – these lyrics from the song “Let’s Go Trippin ” by the Beach Boys which is still cool, smooth and enthusiastic while surfing during the greatest moments of chasing waves, which will inspire you to dream about what is yet to come. With just a few hours to go before the big event, the ‘All Cargo Indian Open of Surfing’ kicks off at Sasihithlu beach, near Mukka, on Friday,( 27-29 May 2016, 8 am -8 pm) organizers are all gearing with the final touches to this first of its kind surfing event to happen in Mangaluru/DK. Even the surfers who have come from far and near have been practicing since morning. The event is being organized by Mantra Surf Club in association with Kanara Surfing and Water Sports Promotion Council, Karnataka Tourism and recognized by International Surfing Association (ISA) and Surfing Federation of India (SFI).
This surfing event will feature Surfing and SUP athletes from various cities of the East and West coast of India, participating for the first time in Karnataka. Many international athletes will also be participating in the event. With a coastline of 320 km, the state can offer amazing experiences to both domestic and international travelers seeking adventure escapades with a blend of the culture and tradition of the state, say the organizers from Mantra Surf Club.
With the cream of Indian and international surfers expected to vie for a prize money of Rs 6 lakh on offer, nearly 100 surfers will try to give their best. Categories for the event are U-16, junior boys (17-22 years), senior men (22-28 years) and masters men (28 years and above), including a women’s category . Stephen Robertson, General Manager for ‘World Surf League/Australasia Region for Surfing”‘, has already arrived at the venue, and he will officiate the event. Speaking to Mangalorean.com, Stephen (who is also accompanied by his wife, Olwyn) said, ” I am very happy to be here. This is one awesome place to conduct such a surfing event. I can say among the all the beaches, Sasihithlu beach has got what the surfer needs and the surroundings here are so natural, it feels like Heaven. This is my first time to Karnataka, and I have already fallen in love with this beach. If I get one more or many chances I will surely be here”.
“With proper training and support from the concerned trainers, the local youth here can be masters in surfing. This beach has lots of potential for surfing events and also for surfers to learn the sport. One should know that presently surfing is one of the most popular sports in the world among youth. More and more people are showing a keen interest in this sport. Riding a surfboard across the face of a breaking wave was once the preserve of ancient Polynesian islanders, but in the twentieth century, it has become something enjoyed by millions of people the world over. Modern surfing has spread well beyond its more recent Hawaiian, American, and Australian origins, becoming a global phenomenon of such magnitude that every minute of every day will find somebody, somewhere, trying to catch a wave. The talented and photogenic few are paid to surf by a multi-billion dollar surfing industry. For the rest, it is an obsessive hobby, a statement of identity, and even a spiritual pursuit. I urge that youngsters take up this daring sport and I bet they will not feel sorry for their decision” added Steve Robertson.
Team Mangalorean also had the privilege to meet Jack Hebner aka “Surfing Swami” originally from the USA, now the founder of “Mantra Surfing Club-Mulki”. Team Mangalorean asked “Surfing Swami” as to When and where did he start surfing, and what were some of his earliest experiences riding waves? Swami replied saying, ” I caught my first wave on a rented board in 1963 at Jacksonville Beach, Florida. I was 16 years old. Before that, I had ridden waves at Padre Island, Texas on an air mattress, but it wasn’t the same. Standing up in a little white water and I had discovered the love of my life. Those early days of surfing are embedded deep in my psyche. Practically each and every time I go for a surf session at sunrise, I experience something like deja vu. It’s like I am there again, back in time, 16 years old again. The still morning air or slight offshore is an atmosphere like no other, something normal beach goers never really experience because they commonly get down to the beach around the time the surf gets blown out. In those early hours when the sun is rising and the waves are glassy and peeling off is what I like to call “the morning enlightenment”. It sticks with you for life “.
Team Mangalorean also asked about his “surfing ashram” in India, and how did this ashram come about and what is the daily life there? Swami replied,” In 2004 after having lived off and on in ashrams in India since 1976, I decided to open an ashram named “Mantra Surf Club” in Mulki where surfing was part of our daily sadhana (practice). The day begins early at 4 a.m. At 4:30 there are various forms of meditation such as aratika, kirtan, bhajan and chanting the Maha-mantra on meditation beads (japa): This is followed by a session of Hatha yoga exercises and then a light fruit breakfast at 7:00 a.m., followed by a surf session (swell permitting) that lasts until it gets blown out or your arms fall off. The rest of the day is spent in devotional service such as cleaning, cooking, fixing dings, etc. In the late afternoon, there is usually a volleyball or a cricket match. In the evening, we again repeat the morning’s activities and sometimes catch the evening glass off. Dinner is at 8:00 p.m. and consists of varieties of vegetarian preparations both Asian and continental, followed by a surf film or catching up on the internet”.
Speaking more on the founding of Mantra Surf Club, Surfing Swami said, “The Mantra Surf Club [India’s first surf club] is dedicated to the pastime of surfing — introducing surfing in India and introducing India to the international surfing community. The Mantra Surf Club was started in 2004 by me and Rick Perry who as kids begun surfing ourselves in 1963 at Jacksonville Beach, Florida, USA. Back in the old days both I and Rick were members of North Florida’s first surf club, Oceanside, and were among the pioneers of surfing on the East Coast of the United States. Surfing as a pastime, or as a way of life generally promotes health and spiritual well-being – helping to make one a better individual”.
“As they say, “Surfing isn’t just about getting in the water and catching a few waves, it’s about something much deeper than that. It’s about a spiritual experience,” For many surfers the spiritual experience of surfing led to seeking higher enlightenment, a type of surf yoga and for some of us that search led us to India where yoga and spiritual enlightenment has been an all-encompassing way of life for thousands of years. The ancient wisdom of India speaks of the oceans and seas of our planet as parts of an organic spiritual dimension, as manifestations of the Cosmic Being and all living beings [surfers included] are spiritual sparks of conscious light floating eternally in the Cosmic Ocean. In that ‘cosmic’ scenario enlightenment is compared to progressive ‘waves’ of consciousness — each getting higher and higher until ultimate enlightenment is achieved”.
“Surfing ocean waves in India, however, is a new experience. In a country with more than 1.2 billion people, there are only a few Indian guys who surf, of which bunch of them are members of the Mantra Surf Club. Today at Mantra Surf Club we offer all varieties of exciting water sports. If you are looking for fun in the water, this is it! Wake-boarding, body-boarding, surfing, kayaking, surf school, surf lessons, jet skiing, stand up paddle boarding (SUP), snorkelling, and more can all be done right here at India’s original surf and yoga retreat. The members of the Mantra Surf Club are totally stoked and would like to invite you to join the club and feel the difference. You will love it!” added Swami.
In his words of wisdom to the readers of Mangalorean.com, quoting words from Bhagavad Gita “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.”, Swami said, “Keep your head down, your mouth shut and learn to hold your breath for a long time – especially if you are charging big waves. In other words, a little humility, please! Three things: Utsahan, niscayad, dhairyat – enthusiasm, confidence and forbearance. For success in any endeavor, one has to master these three qualities. Personally, I am also a strong believer in keeping fit and avoiding taking anything into this body that alters the mind such as alcohol or that disturbs one’s internal organs such as animal flesh, eggs, junk food, processed food, etc. A wise man once said, “When wise men speak, Wise men listen.”
Yet another young surfer damsel, Chinmayee Mayya (an executive at a US-based advertisement company in Dubai) accompanied by her mother, Gopika speaking to Mangalorean.com said, “Although I have been surfing for the last three years, entering into a contest like this one is my first time. Originally hailing from Udupi, when I went to California-USA to do my Masters, I learned surfing there at the Santa Monica beach-California. Since Surfing is one of the oldest practiced sports on the planet-The art of wave riding, is a blend of total athleticism and the comprehension of the beauty and power of nature. And since it is also one of the few sports that creates its own culture and lifestyle, I love this sport very dearly. Although I did some surfing here today, the waves had been rough, so I quit early. Hope the weather will be perfect tomorrow during the contest. Winning is not my concern, but taking part in such a unique event is my belief, and I am all excited for tomorrow’s big event”.
It is learnt that South African cricket legend Jonty Rhodes who was supposed to be one of the event ambassadors will not be here due to a family emergency back home in South Africa. The surfing festival will also have live music shows, and a food festival as well, a number of celebrities such as Bollywood superstar Sunil Shetty, cricketers Paddy Upton and Sanju Samson are expected to show up. A panel of ISA-certified judges from Australia, France and India, headed by Made Sachang from Bali, will be judging the event.