Surfing: Ajeesh Ali crowned Indian Open champion, Moorthi defends double titles

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Surfing: Ajeesh Ali crowned Indian Open champion, Moorthi defends double titles

 

Mangaluru:  Tamil Nadu surfers swept the top honors in all four categories, men’s open, women’s open, groms boys & U-16 and groms girls & U-16, at the Indian Open of Surfing at the Sasihithlu beach.

Ajeesh Ali, who competed in the Paris Olympics qualifiers (2023 ISA World Surfing Games, El Salvador) last year, was crowned the new IOS champion in the men’s open category.

Teenage sensation Kamali Moorthi completed a double victory by winning both the women’s open and groms girls & U-16 categories, successfully defending her titles.

Another Tamil Nadu teenager, Tayin Arun, impressed the judges with his maneuvers and was crowned the new IOS champion in the groms boys & U-16 category.

The final day’s action began with the semi-finals of the groms boys and U-16 category. Local favorite Pradeep Pujar led the pack with a score of 8.80, advancing to the finals alongside Prahlad Sriram (8.50), Harish P (8.26), and Tayin Arun (6.76).

Speaking on the surfing conditions today, Dylan Amar from Indonesia, who was the head judge at Indian Open of Surfing, said, “The conditions today were excellent, making this venue highly competitive. Over the three days, the athletes put on an impressive show. If they maintain this level of effort, Indian surfers could soon make it to the Olympics.”

The action then moved to the semi-finals of the groms girls and U-16 category. Tamil Nadu surfers Dhamayanthi Sriram and Mahathi Srinivasabharathi qualified for the finals with scores of 4.57 and 3.54 respectively. Kamali Moorthi, the top seed from Tamil Nadu, had already been granted a final spot based on her national ranking.

The finals of the groms boys and U-16 category saw Tayin Arun impressing the judges with his acrobatics, winning his first title at IOS with a score of 10.17. Harish P (8.40) and Prahlad Sriram (7.47) made it a thrilling competition, finishing second and third, respectively. Mantra Surf Club’s Pradeep Pujar finished fourth with a score of 5.34.

Speaking after winning his first-ever IOS title, Tayin Arun expressed his joy, “I’m really happy to win the title today as it is my first IOS title, and the conditions were really good for surfing. I enjoyed surfing today, and I’m looking forward to winning more titles in the future. I missed Kishore Kumar as he is my best friend, and I would like to beat him as well.”

The final day also featured the groms girls and U-16 finals, an all-Tamil Nadu affair. Kamali Moorthi emerged victorious with a commanding score of 12.17, securing the title by a wide margin. Dhamayanthi Sriram (5.93) and Mahathi Srinivasabharathi (2.07) finished second and third, respectively.

The highlight event of the day was the men’s open surfing final, another all Tamil Nadu affair, featuring the top-seeded surfers from across the country. Ajeesh Ali, who represented India at the 2023 ISA World Surfing Games in El Salvador, walked away with the championship title with the highest score of the day (14.70). The intense action and thrilling competition in the category captivated the audience.

Srikanth D (12.57) and Sanjaikumar S (11.10) took the runner-up and second runner-up titles, respectively, while Sanjay Selvamani came in fourth with a score of 6.17.

Speaking after winning the IOS title in surfing men’s open category, Ajeesh Ali said, “I am thrilled to have won the title today after being the runner-up in the previous edition. Winning the Indian Open of Surfing was something I desperately wanted.

“My experience in El Salvador last year for the Paris Olympics qualifiers allowed me to compete with some of the world’s best surfers and learn a great deal from them. The conditions today were challenging with slow waves, but luckily, I had a board specifically for such conditions. The competition was fierce, as my fellow surfers are among the best in the country.”

The women’s open surf category finals concluded the event with fierce competition among India’s leading female surfers. Kamali Moorthi emerged victorious, winning the IOS women’s championship title in a thrilling final.

Kamali scored 12.40 in the finals, narrowly edging out 2022 champion Sugar Banarse from Goa, who scored 12.23 and finished as the runner-up by just 0.17 points. Neha Vaid from Mumbai came in third with a score of 2.97.

Speaking post winning the double titles at IOS, Kamali said, “I am thrilled to have successfully defended both my titles at the Indian Open of Surfing. Surfing in Mangaluru is always a joy, and today was no different. The women’s open category was challenging because I was competing against Sugar Banarse, the 2022 champion. Despite this, I managed to stay calm and not let the pressure get to me before the finals.”


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