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Why India? Yes, a relative few people surf here, a lot of the coast has been explored, and it isn't totally new as a surf destination. However, few if any other places in the warm and safe category that also get surf are untapped like India. You can still surf where no one has before...or at least feel like you're the first. Vast stretches of the coast haven't been looked at by a surfer's eye. Even more have been explored by a few but not given the time it takes to get a place figured out. Good waves happen here, and getting alone for a surf is easy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

These guys are all over the jetty - inside the river mouth and outside in the ocean.  The ocean side is certainly cleaner.  Also, the other day a local was rolling 2.5 ft. diameter rocks off the jetty into the water while I was diving.  I hadn't caught any fish at that point, but I did catch some in there last April.  I got the message he was sending with the boulder.  I'll stick to the ocean side from here on.  The time before when I did catch some, two of the local fellas were trying to get me to pay for catching their fish.  The disgruntled ones are the minority and almost everyone enjoys watching from the rocks.  Still, today I parked on the other side of the river.  I don't want to wear out my welcome.  I've given away 1/3 or 1/2 of my catch each time.  I enjoy giving some away, but it also helps to keep folks happy.

The one pictured is average size.  They taste good; a light, sweet meat.  I've gotten two names for the thing one of which I've forgotten.  Even if I knew, English letters don't suffice for the pronunciation.  Malayalam has 4 "k"s plus a distinct double ("kk") for some of those, 12 or more letters/sounds between between "t" and "d", a few sounds for which there is no close match, and the list goes one. 

Yummy, yummy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A "Clean" Kovalam Morning

This time of year is your best chance for getting Kovalam more peaky and not closed out.  It's also the time of year where the right off the north rocks is most likely to work.  Here's a sampling on this and the next post of a couple random days. 




 

A "Dirty" Kovalam Evening





















India's version of Bodie Island.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Boiling Rock

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Harreesh and I went down to Tamil Nadu (India's southern most state) hoping to score a decent Manapad Point.  It seems to have tons of potential, but wasn't working when we were there.  It was an endless perfect ankle high.  It's a long right situated such that the predominant wind is offshore.  However, if the swell is 4ft at 16 sec.s or 2.5 ft at 18 sec.s aiming for 1 o'clock, then it's evidently not enough.

So forced to explore, we went searching.  Many outer bars prevented the waves from making it to the beach with any size.  There was also a lot of denied access and a few disappointing jetties.  Eventually, we risked a long sandy trail which was all my 2-wheel-drive could handle.  We took that as far as we could go and walked the last half mile.  When we finally got to the river mouth we were shooting for.  It was capped off by the beach and probably has been since last December or so, so expectations were low.  But as sweet providence would have it, there was a row of rocks that went out 100 yards or so into the sea.  It produced what you see above...better lucky than good.

The right was pretty lazy, but the left had a lot of spark.  The peak is one of those bowls with a lot of energy.  As you can see in the video, there's some rocks that are pretty much water level towards the end of the left.  It kept me a bit on edge.  An alternative to pulling out of the left was to head back right and hope for a decent reform.  That never really happened for me, but you can see me try.  With more swell, or a different angle, the right could be good. 

The day where most of the video is captured was really windy - side-shore at maybe 25 mph.  The video masks that at bit.  This place may be really good with a light wind and a little more swell.  The take-off point boils really hard due to a shallow rock.  It's a little spooky but makes it easy to find the peak way out there and sit in the right spot.  I suspect no one else has ever surfed here.  I'd like to here that I'm wrong on that one.  Until then, we'll call the place "Boiling Rock."  Once you surf it, you'll know you're in the right place by the name.

To find it...it's the river mouth on the longest bridge between Manapad and Kanniyakumari.  I don't see it getting crowded in the next 20 years.  The construction guys on the north/east side of the river wouldn't let us through.  It's quite a hike.  Don't get your car stuck.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Monsoon Season has Arrived




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The crisp waves from the south that headed in here all winter and spring have given way to their peakier, more powerful cousins from the west.  Today was surprisingly good.  There's a no surfing during monsoon law across the whole state which means the beaches with cops and lifeguards are off limits until September. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yet Another LEFT



There's been no shortage of great waves, but I'm going to go nuts if I don't go right sooner or later.  With the exception of 1 day where I got 3 or 4 rights and another knee high day, I haven't been right in months.  I literally don't remember the last time.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Plan B is often required in India.

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This river mouth gets fully closed off at times and opens up at others making this otherwise good break a bit fickle.  If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  Note how on my first trip down the "rapids," my board is not in the video.  On the next trip, it's on the edge, and on the last trip, you don't see it again.  The outlet was widening at about 3ft./min.  On my last run, everything got sent out to sea.  I was stuck on the south side of the rip with no way to swim across.  My Firewire was heading out to sea on the north half of the rip.  Knowing its value, my wife went after it.  I eventually got in and went back out to help retrieve the board and the 2 floats.  This was quite the source of stress for our 7-year-old and our driver who lives in a land where no women swim.  We both got plenty of exercise.  This next pic is me coming back with everything in tow.  Finally, you have to endure a bunch of Indians telling you, "very dangerous."

Monday, February 28, 2011

My New Favorite Place


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Fakin' It with the Camera







So, almost all of my photos come from paused video thanks to my friend and driver, Hareesh, who is happy to film while he waits.  This sequence proves that pictures do lie.  In reality, this was more of a closed eyes, 1/10 of a second head dip.  However, with enough frames, you can make it look like I got legit little tube.  The truth is backhand barrels are a weakness of mine (among many).  Surfers better than myself (or the same level but goofyfooted) would have been tubed over and over this day.  I'm hoping you're never too old to learn, because I'll be returning to this spot to try for some more.