| 30 Jun 2022
Covelong Point Surf & Music Fest used as a way of giving back to Kolavum village

MUMBAI: The Covelong Point Surf & Music Festival 2014 ended their sophomore year earlier this month in great gusto by hosting their first ever surfing competition for women. The festival is known to play host to a national-level surf competition which allows surfers from all over the world to face off against each other for Rs. 15,000 in cash.

This year, the people of Tamil Nadu witnessed an eclectic music line-up featuring classical musicians like mandolin wizards U. Srinivas and U. Rajesh with Carnatic crooner T.M. Krishna; folk crossover artistes The Raghu Dixit Project and Kutle Khan; and artistes purveying more contemporary sounds like Klypp, Delhi Sultanate & Begum X, Nischay Parekh and Jivraj Singh. Founders of the Covelong Point Surf & Music Festival – Arun Vasu and Yotam Agam spoke to’s Aashay Dalvi about this year’s festival and some of its highlights. Excerpts from the interview are as follows:

How large scale was this year’s festival in comparison to last year?

Arun Vasu (AV): This year’s event was big in many aspects. It was better organised, the layout was very professional, the artistes were bigger, and the spectators were twice that of last year. The interest in surfing has also grown tremendously over the past year.

Yotam Agam (YA): Last year was our first edition, so there was a lot of experimentation - this year we took the production and also the competition to the next level and turned everything up a notch! We also had several community initiatives as part of this year's festival - we had Boards for Billions from Australia conduct filmmaking, and surf board making workshops for the local surfers in Covelong village. We also had catamaran races, a volleyball competition, and yoga classes - lots going on this year.

Which advertisers took more interest for this year’s festival?

AV: Actually all the sponsors have been very supportive towards the event - MIOT Hospital ran a free health camp for the children in the village.

How was the turnout in comparison to last year?

AV: We saw nearly 8000 people over the weekend which was twice as much as last year.

YA: We had many more members of the public turn up this year. It is fantastic to see how surfing seems to be catching on in India, and we want to keep supporting the sport and the incredible young Indian talent that these sorts of competitions nurture.

In your opinion, what were the highlights of this year’s festival?

AV: On the surfing front we had close to 130 surfers. The highlight was a women's category for the first time at the festival, which had 8 women take part, and saw Suhasini win the title, and Sinchana and Aneesha – who are only 12 and 13 – coming 2nd and 3rd. This talent is the future of female surfers in India, and it is competitions like this that push the level of surfing in the country. Personally, the most satisfying was how the local community and the city folk - all walks of life - enjoyed both the surfing and the music festival in total harmony. And it was great to see the Covelong boys winning most of the events!

YA: As a whole, it was incredible to see how drastically the skill level of surfing has risen in the country; it was a pleasure to watch some young talent from India really pushing the limit! Surya P. from Covelong village and the Covelong Point Social Surf School competed in the OPEN category with international surfers far more experienced than he was - but he scored higher than many of them, and placed 3rd. It is truly inspiring to see the kind of determination and passion these young surfers have, and the natural intuitive connection they have to the ocean having grown up next to the sea in Covelong village.

Will you be uploading the highlights of the festival online for people to watch?

AV: If you stay tuned to our Facebook page, called Surfing Covelong Point, you will find a few highlights that we plan to share.

YA: We are also considering releasing a series, featuring brief highlights of some of the best surfing and the best waves from the whole competition.

Will you be conducting any more gigs at the same venue in the coming months?

AV: We will do smaller events once we have the new Covelong Point Social Surf School and Cafe up and running in December.

YA: We will plan a few events around that launch, which Arun and I, are excited about.

Do you have any more properties under Covelong Point Surf & Music Festival planned?

AV: For now, all our focus is on this event - and we will conduct the Covelong Point Surf and Music Festival every September.

YA: Our focus is going to remain on developing this festival. We want to use the festival (as well as surfing as a sport) as a catalyst for positive change in the village of Covelong. Our focus is always to be able to benefit the village and give back to it in some way. It is a powerful and beautiful surf movement that is developing in the country and we will do everything possible to continue nurturing and supporting it.