India's Novel Interest in Surfing

Dating a surfer somehow made me more attune to the sport. My interest peaked to the point where I wanted to give it a whirl myself, but what I mostly like is the culture. Trying to manoeuvre a wave encourages discipline, self-love and an acute consciousness of just how noble Mother Earth is. Plus, it shows you a good time.

With about 4,350 miles worth of coastline, India’s slowly making its mark in the surf scene. We’re witnessing a much-needed shift in narrative, as those once considered “beach bums” are now perceived through a more responsive lens. 

Surfing in India is still in its infancy, but it’s inspiring several amateur enthusiasts, which could explain the burgeoning number of surf clubs across the peninsula. The potential for quality breaks has attracted numerous pros, and the nation’s swells have been showcased in films like Thicker than Water and Slow Dance. There’s also the advantage of the beaches remaining virtually empty throughout the year. 

The sport’s got potential to significantly boost economic development since surf tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry that’s waiting to happen. 

While tourism, in general, comes with its fair share of controversies, specifically in regards to its social and environmental risks, it's a crucial sector for the economies of several developing countries that seek foreign investment. In India, tourism makes up 6.2% of its total GDP, making it one of the largest sectors in its service industry. 

A trend that's gaining swift momentum across the world is adventure tourism, which a lot of emerging economies are incorporating to achieve effective growth. India's been dabbling with adventure tourism in the form of heliskiing up in the Himalayas and camel safaris in Rajasthan, for example, and it’s become a leading destination for such activities. Now, there’s further advocacy for water sports.

Commercial surf tourism is a newfound source of influence, yet it remains a largely unearthed field of study. It could very well be used to secure cultural prominence while creating jobs and bolstering incomes in the long-run. As a market sector, surf tourism in India is definitely one to watch.