Kudla SUPer Girl Tanvi Jagadish ‘Trippin’ and Surfin’ in Fiji

Kudla SUPer Girl Tanvi Jagadish ‘Trippin’ and Surfin’ in Fiji

Kudla Girl Tanvi Jagadish, a Stand-Up Paddler (SUP) and Surfer will be ‘Trippin’ and Surfin’ at the Fiji ISA World SUP (Stand Up Paddle) and Paddle-board Championship from November 12- 20, 2016.

Mangaluru: Meet 16-year-old Kudla girl, Tanvi Jagadish who is taking surfing to new heights in India and Internationally on being India’s youngest woman in Stand Up Paddle . It’s the first time a girl from Mangaluru will take part in an international surfing event. She’s also the first female surfer from India to participate in the Fiji event. Surfing in India has never got the boost it deserves as a sport. Yet, there are many along the coast who compete and win laurels for India. Among these silent sportsmen stands this young girl, Tanvi- India’s first woman Stand Up Paddler from Mangalore.

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Stand Up Paddle surfing (SUP) is different from traditional surfing where the rider stays upright. The Surfing Federation of India (SFI) announced Team India for the 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship from November 12-20. The event features contestants from over 40 countries. Sekar Patchai, 26, of the Covelong Surf School, Chennai, and Tanvi Jagadish, 16, of the Mantra Surf Club, Mangaluru, will represent Team India in their respective categories. As per Rammohan Paranjape, Vice President of SFI, who had said, “This is a first for Team India, to participate in the world championship in stand-up paddling. Both athletes will take part in two disciplines viz. SUP racing technical and SUP racing distance in the tough conditions which Fiji is known for. Both have worked very hard over the years to consistently win national SUP championships and are ranked No. 1 in their categories. This opportunity of representing India at the highest level will enhance their skills and motivation to do well in the coming years,” Karnataka Bank has come forward to sponsor the travel expenses of Tanvi.

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Born on 23 March 2000, to Jagadish and Kavitha, Tanvi is presently residing near NITK-Surathkal. Name – Tanvi.J. She did her early school at Delhi Public School-MRPL-Panambur, and currently she is pursuing her studies in 1st PUC ( PCMS) at Sharada Pre-University College. Kodailbail, Mangaluru. Since she started surfing, Tanvi had participated in several national level events, and her first competition was in 2015 in Chennai. Since then she has trained hard and has won quite a few first place in SUP nationals- like 2015 SUP Nationals Covelong Point Surf Classic – First place; 2016 SUP Nationals Manapad Classic surf and sail festival – First Place; 2016 SUP Nationals Indian Open of Surfing (Presented by Karnataka Tourism) – First place; and 2016 Surfing Nationals Indian Open of Surfing – Third place.

She also got a wild card entry for the international competition in China for SUP. She is an active member Mantra Surf Club-Mulki, and Field Specialized in Surfing, SUP (Stand up Paddle). She has been felicitated by Ganiga sangha – Vishnumurthy Devasthana; and Yuvaka mandala sanga – Kaikamba Surathkal. Tanvi is also selected to take part in the Asian Cup in China, which will take place in October, 2017. The only other challenge she faces is finding sponsorship, given how expensive surfing is — a board costs between Rs. 80,000 to 90,000.

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Amidst her busy preparations few hours before her flight from Chennai to Fiji, Tanvi spent some of her precious minutes speaking to Team Mangalorean over the phone sharing some of her surfing experiences. Tanvi Jagadish recalls-” I began surfing when I was around 14 years old. I would visit the beaches with my grandfather and watch people surf, even though I didn’t know how to swim. I loved the water. I had known about surfing for a long time, in fact I was introduced to surfing when i was only 8 years old but since my parents did not support me I couldn’t start surfing then. I was introduced to the Mantra Surf Club by my grandfather – I am extremely grateful to him for that. It was hard to get into surfing as a girl. Family would get worried that I would get tanned, society didn’t approve of girls wearing shorts or swim suits and getting into the ocean. All in all, surfing was not considered to be a sport for girls. As a matter of fact it still isn’t in the larger part of India.”

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“But I didn’t give up. I had seen surfing, I had seen how the members of Mantra Surf Club were riding those waves and I knew I had to try it. I knew I would love it. So, I strived hard to get into it. I had to fight with my family, I had to fight with society, but in the end I am happy to say that I made it. After 6 years I finally did start surfing and within two years I have found my passion and I am pursuing it against all odds. It has taken a lot of effort from my side and my trainers at Mantra Surf Club, who spent a lot of time training me and in both surfing and SUP (Stand Up Paddling) and convinced my parents that this could actually work – that a girl could actually surf and it would be totally fine!”

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“Riding my first wave was “awesome! The waves push you and I drank a lot of salt water. I thought if boys can do it, so can I. First I was hesitant to surf as I had breathing problems. But my coach Shamanth Kumar, pushed me to face the challenges and be positive. Being a girl in the sport wasn’t easy either, for the fact that girls wore shorts while surfing bothered people. Too bad my parents had to face questions such as, “Why do you allow her to go?” My parents were also concerned about surfing’s impact on my studies too. In our fair skin-obsessed world, tanning was another issue. When my mom asked me how would I get married, I replied, “I’ll find a surfer.” (laughs)

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“It was a passion and a hobby for me about Surfing. When many people told me that surfing was for boys, I asked them “If everything is for boys, then what is for girls?” I had a great aim and intention to beat the boys, and will do it someday. I remember having a competition right before my board exams and how I juggled everything. I attribute my good grades to my “mental strength”. When I enrolled for my first competition in Covelong-Chennai I participated in the women’s open category for both surfing and SUP. When my coach told me, “The waves will punch you,” I retorted, “I will punch them back!”

“I am also sure that there plenty of other girls out there who wish to surf but haven’t found the support yet. My dream is to support them, we have many girl surfers in our club now and they have all taken to the sport very enthusiastically and have been the pioneers of young surf girls. I am very excited to participate in this forthcoming Championship in Fiji and other international competitions and I have been training very very hard for that. But the same problem still persists . It is very hard to get support even from the family.”

“Surfing and SUP are wonderful sports! We should really stop being judge-mental about who can and cannot take part in them. Had I listened to my parents and society back then, I still wouldn’t have known what my passion in life is and would have had to be content just knowing and dreaming about surfing. I hope such prejudice will stop and more girls will be able to get into surfing! A whole new world awaits them!

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About her future, Tanvi said, “I want to get into the defence services, complete my education and also surf. Since I have completed a course with the International Surfing Association which sends representatives to countries to teach three categories, I will take up judging, SUP and surfing. Completing the course allows people to become trainers, and I have completed the course in SUP. Girls feel more comfortable with a female instructor. I will charge the boys more; they have enough opportunities already. Girls will get discounts,” she laughs.

More excerpts from the interview with Tanvi Jagadish, an hour before she boarded the plane to Fiji from Chennai :

Q : How did you get your start with surfing and at what point did you realize you had a passion for it?

I was introduced to surfing when I was 8 years old at Mantra Surf Club, but I only started surfing when I was 14 years old. That is when I realised I had a passion for it.

Q : When you take/ took part in surfing competition what do you do to prepare for surfing competitions, do you have special exercise routine.

The preparation starts early morning with 20 minutes of meditation, one hour of yoga followed by Stand Up Paddling in the ocean for 3-4 hours. After which I have a brunch and rest up for couple of hours. My evening training includes Stand up Paddling in the river, swimming and cycling. This is what I do everyday as a part of my training and when there is competition I train harder spending most of my time in the water.

Q : Do you have a special diet when you’re competing or does it stay pretty much the same year around? What does your diet include?

I follow a vegetarian diet which is pretty much same year around, which includes lots of beans, chickpeas, salads, fruits and regular South Indian preparations.

Q : How do you keep yourself motivated?

The thought of being able to represent my country internationally always keeps me motivated. In addition to that the support I get from my club and trainers has helped me to stay motivated throughout my journey.

Q :How can a person develop a life-long obsession with surfing?

I personally think of this as being passion more than obsession. I love what I do. Ever since I started Surfing and Stand Up Paddling I have gotten many opportunities to meet different people, to visit many places and witness different cultures. I think any person can develop a life-long obsession ( passion) if he/she loves what they do and finds happiness in it.

Q :Where are some of the destinations/places you’ve traveled to surf?

So far I have travelled to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Andra, and along the coast of Karnataka. In the future I am looking forward to travel to more places within India and abroad. Currently I have gotten an opportunity to travel to Fiji to represent India at the International Stand Up Paddling championship event.

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Q: Do you always travel with your surf board? How do you transport it?

I am predominantly a Stand Up Paddler than a surfer. SUP(stand up paddle) boards are much bigger than regular surf boards and therefore are very hard to travel with and they are also quite fragile. But if the circumstances require me travel with my board then I pack it carefully and take it by bus or train making sure that it is handled with proper care.

Q :Has surfing brought you closer to the community where you compete for competitions?

Competitions are very sportive and the surfers are very friendly. As I mentioned before surfing has helped me meet a lot of people and most of them are surfers from different parts of the country and there is a lot of respect among the surfers and surfing as a whole is definitely bringing like-minded people together as a community.

Q:What’s next on your agenda? And where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

My dream is to become one among the top female Stand up Paddlers in the world. I am looking forward to competing in International events regularly. In the next 5-10 years I would want to be able to inspire other young Indian girls to take up surfing and Stand Up paddling and train them and help them follow their passion.

Q : What do you have to say about Mantra Surfing Club in Mulki and the Surfers there?

Surfing Swami founded Mantra Surf Club 14 years ago. It’s an amazing place to learn surfing and experience other water sports activities. The members are highly trained and certified by the International Surfing Association. It has a very homely atmosphere, the members are very professional and hospitable.

Personally I am very grateful towards Mantra Surf Club and its founder Surfing Swami since they have provided me with so many opportunities and helped me find my passion and are continuing to support me in my journey. Members of the club are like my family, if I am not at home, Mantra Surf Club is where you would find me.

Q : What do you have to say about Surfing in Coastal Karnataka?

Karnataka is one the best surfing destinations to learn surfing. Sandy beaches and non-aggressive waves makes it easy for students to learn and it also attracts many aspiring surfers from around the world because of it pristine beaches.

Q : How long does it take for a starter to be a good surfer? Can anyone learn surfing?

It really depends of the person. It takes about three days to get a hang of surfing. It usually takes 6 months to 1 year for a person to get comfortable with balancing on the board and reading the waves. After this period, it depends on how much one practises.

Q : Do you think Panambur Beach would also be an ideal place for surf training? What needs to be done/what is lacking etc?

Answer: Yes, Panambur beach is good place for surf training. In any beach it would be good to have good safety measures and better infrastructure so that people wouldn’t be so afraid of getting into water and trying out new things.

Q : Any tips for our readers who would like to try surfing, but they’re afraid? Any tips on preparing for the water?

Surfing is a wonderful sport and there is very little to be afraid about it. Specially when you have good certified instructors like in Mantra Surf Club you can be sure that you are in good hands. When I first started learning how to surf, I didn’t even know how to swim. But the trainers were so patient and got me into water with life jackets on and were there right next to me all the time to ensure my safety. If you are interested in surfing and don’t know swimming or if you are not sure whether or not you can swim in the ocean, that definitely shouldn’t stop you from surfing. The only preparation you need is to remember not to panic and prepare to have lots of fun!

Being a surfer girl requires you to be a surfer. Go down to the coast and get some lessons, it’s hard at first but once you get the hang of it, and the more you practice, the better you’ll get! Surf training is usually quite cheap, and if you’ve got a friend who can teach you, great! There are so many places offering surfing lessons, and here you have Mantra Surf Club. You have to know the basics of surfing, and a bunch of tricks. The main idea of being a surfer girl is to surf a lot! But make sure you also know the technical aspects, so you know what you’re talking about when you get into a conversation with a surfer guy! Ha.

Team Mangalorean wishes this Kudla SUPer Girl Tanvi Jagadish all success in Fiji ISA World SUP (Stand Up Paddle) and Paddle-board Championship, and may she come in flying colors as ‘World Champion’!

About Mantra Surf Club :

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 Jack Hebner and Rick Perry who as kids had begun surfing themselves in 1963 at Jacksonville Beach, Florida, USA. Back in the old days both Jack 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. They are now pioneering surfing in India.

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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’ scenerio 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 about twelve Indian guys who surf, seven of which are members of the Mantra Surf Club. The members of the Mantra Surf Club are totally stoked and would like to invite you to the surf and yoga retreat at “Mantra Surf Club” lcated Hare Krishna Ashram, 6-64, Kolachikambala, Bappanadu, Mulki- DK Phone: 096631 41146, 7022408328; www.surfingindia.net/mantra-surf-club

Also Read below articles:

The Surfing Swami Propagates ‘Live to Give‘ Philosophy

Let’s Go ‘Trippin’ while ‘Surfin’ at Sasihithlu!