Mangaluru: The sandy beaches of Mangaluru are a big tourism draw and now they are all set to witness some world class surfing with the first Indian Open for the sport taking off at the Sasihithlu beach, some 25 kms from the city, on Friday.
A three day tournament,it will see around 120 surfers from India and abroad competing for a prize money of Rs 6 lakh. ‘We expect the cream of Indian and international surfers to participate,” said a spokesman of the organisers. Besides the surfing tournament, there will be a bodyboarding competition and a stand-up paddle race. If weather permits, a kitesurfing demo is also on the cards. Live music and a food festival completes the fun filled event.
General manager of World Surf League, Stephan Robertson, who is in Sasihithlu currently, admitted to being pleasantly surprised by the Mangaluru beach, which was clearly more beautiful than he had anticipated. “ I am amazed at how beautiful the beach is at Sasihithlu, ” he said, adding he was sure surfing would gain in popularity in India and more would take to it in future.
But Surfing Federation of India vice president, Rammohan Paranjape, claims it is already a growing sport. “ Celebrities are now endorsing it. Surfing is not just a sport, but also promotes beach tourism,” he pointed out.
The competition will be held for the under 16, junior boys (17 to 22 year olds), senior men (22 to 28 year olds) and masters men (28 years old and above). There is also a women’s category. The Indian Open has been inspired by the US and Australian Opens of Surfing....