Covelong Classic at Surf Turf 2021 – Results
Surfing Federation of India pulled off its first National Surfing and SUP Championships from 9th to 10th August, 2021 at Kovalam, Chennai after a gap of almost 2 years due to the pandemic which had completely disrupted the sporting events in the country. The event was carefully organised by all stakeholders without public gathering, followed by all covid protocols in place.
Covelong Classic at Surf Turf 2021 was the first event under the aegis of the new SFI council which was sponsored by TT Group, Surf Turf, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation and Quest Academy.
The new event format was also introduced by SFI under which there were only two categories of Under 16 Groms and Open category of 17 & above for Men with a focus on identifying young talent, followed by Women’s Open category and SUP Championships for Men. The format also gave priority to accredited surf schools in terms of participation slots, increased prize money and national ranking system.
The panel of judges included seasoned Level 3 judges Samai Reboul from Pondicherry, Rammohan Paranjape from Mangalore followed by Deepak Kapur from Chennai who acted as apprentice judge. Shamanth Kumar from Mangalore was the head judge who brought years of experience and set the criteria for all participants and judging panel. The contest director was Nawaz Jabbar from Covelong who had all technical aspects of the surf contest well covered and with the introduction of Live Heats platform from Australia saw seeding, heat draws, judging and live scores going completely digital and instantly accessible to all.
Arun Vasu, President - addressed all the athletes on the eve of the contest day about the change in format, the aspirations and goals of the new council and wished them all the best. The surfing community were widely appreciative of the efforts by all in organising the event in difficult times.
The event was officially inaugurated and flagged off by Dr. M.Mathiventhan, Minister for Tourism, Govt. of Tamilnadu who spoke about encouraging and promoting surfing and its culture along the coast of Tamil Nadu. He spoke about how he wishes to see surfers from Tamil Nadu represent India at the next Olympics in Paris 2024. The minister was also accompanied by Dr. B. Chandra Mohan, IAS - Principal Secretary to Government for Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments Dept & Chairman,TTDC and Thiru. Sandeep Nanduri, IAS Director of Tourism and Managing Director of TTDC.
The swell forecast was decent enough for two days of action packed surf contest which saw some amazing young talents coming through and dominating the proceedings in both Groms and Open categories of Men.
On the final day of the contest we had Dr C. Sylendra Babu, IPS - DGP, Tamil Nadu a long time supporter of surfing and water sports in Tamil Nadu grace the contest and motivated surfers to aim high and prepare themselves to haul gold for India in Olympics, as surfing is now part of Olympics.
The final day action witnessed quite a few upsets amongst seasoned veterans with young talents putting up a good challenge and eventually winning the contest. Although considerably less in numbers compared to Men, Women showed a lot of grit and character during their heats, paving the way for the development of women surfing in the country. Men's SUP championships had a strong contingent of local paddlers which had open ocean long distance races of 6 kms.
Groms - 16 and under
Winner : Srikanth D
Second place : Kishore Kumar
Third place : Tayin Arun
Men's Open - Above 17
Winner : Manikandan D
Second place : Nitish Varun T
Third place : Babu Sivaraj
Winner : Shrishti Selvam
Second place : Shanti Banarse
Third place : Sinchana Gowda
Winner : Sekar P
Second place : Santhosh S
Third place : Manikandan
Post event, the feedback received from the surfing community was very encouraging and positive for the organisers. SFI council hopes to organise many more events across the country in order to develop the sport of surfing with a focus on nurturing young talent and regularly participating in International events under the national flag.