India surfing conditions and best spots
India has more than 4,000 miles of coastline and is blessed with surf from the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. In fact, India is one giant peninsula dotted with surfing hot spots. Kovalam Beach, Gokarna, Mulki and Pondicherry are typical of the breaks exposed to the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean swell trains.
Despite popular belief, the weather is relatively dry late winter and early spring in India. That is, until the monsoons kick up in June and run through the Autumn. This season is when the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal come to life. Forecasts during the southern hemisphere winter, May to September, will see swell sent north across the Indian Ocean to the shores of the country’s southern tip.
It’s bikini and boardshort season year-round, but occasionally you’ll need a light wetsuit vest in the north of the country in the winter months. But that’s about it.
Surf schools and lessons in India
Cocopelli Surf School in Gokarna features ISA-certified instructors who will guide you through the basics of board sliding. You can do 1.5 hour lessons or sign on for six days of lessons. They are also a one-stop rental shop with all manner of surf craft and they even buy and sell equipment. Pricing info available via email through their website.
The totally global approach of Kovalam Surf School (they provide lessons in English, Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, French, Spanish, Dutch and German) suits those looking for an inclusive experience. There’s always waves at one of three nearby spots including Lighthouse Beach, Hawa’s and Kovalam Beach itself. Prices start at $14US for a basic 1.5-hour private lesson. If you buy a pack of five lessons you will save 20 percent.
Like most of India, the warm, gentle surf is perfect for learning the basics of the Sport of Kings. The Kallialay Surf School offers beginner through intermediate courses. A small group lesson at Pondicherry will set you back $13US. However, those looking to REALLY learn to surf and move on to “King” status, can book a 15-day intensive for $180US.
Where do surfers stay in India?
Ashram Surf Retreat is the original surf stay in India. Located in the coastal village of Mulki in Southern Karnataka, the crew here will take you on guided surf trips to nearby Baba’s Left in their aluminum skiff. Vegetarian meals and WiFi are included in their bungalows. Rooms start at $40 per person for a standard and go up to $55 per person for a deluxe room. Prices drop the more friends you bring to share the room.
Anaariya Beach Front offers, well, beach front accommodations with easy waves out front. The property is spread out under a light jungle canopy. Choose a cottage starting at $22US per person. It’s just north of the giant Shiva statue in Murudeshwar.
Terrace-centered hotel located in Kottakuppam next to the surf at Pondicherry. The Villa Anna Pondy resort features guest houses and AC with a view of the ocean start at $54. Breakfast is included and they will provide transport to nearby sites, including the surf.
India surfing guide and tips prepared by Bryan Dickerson (wavepoolmag.com) for Dailystoke.com’s surf guides.
Photo by Debashis Biswas