Guide Services

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.

Rental Boards

Can I rent a board at Kovalam or Varkala?  There's not a clear "yes" or "no" to that one.  I've seen that question posted in a few Q&A forums, but note that most of the answers are years old.  Here's the latest as of Feb 2013.

If you're passing through and want to surf anything to say you've surfed India, then there are boards to rent.  Likewise, if you're a beginner and just need a bigger board to start on, you can find it.  If you want a high-performance shortboard of a specific size or a quality figh-type board, your choices are limited.

At Kovalam there are 4 or 5 rental guys on the beach with a number of boards each.  Varkala has a few rental guys also.  Their selection includes a few nice-ish funboards, a number of 6'something" medium volume older boards, and a few older fish & standard shortboards.  There's a decent 6'2" shortboard on the beach in Varkala and a Firewire 5'8" fish at Kovalam.  Both of those are in decent condition but are aging.  The quality goes down pretty fast after that. - Soul and Surf in Varkala offers rental boards.  Check with them to be sure, but here's what I noticed.  They have quality boards available for rent - a few high performance shortboards and some tougher NSP-type funboards / longboards.  They also have a lot of soft funboards / longboards.  Their selection is ever-growing and improving.  I haven't seen what they have this season, but I suspect their selection is pretty good.

If you hire Karoi Adventure Sports for a guided trip (me in the Trivandrum area or David around Vizag), you can rent from us.  Our goal is to have a quiver of boards at both locations with enough to choose from such that any surfer of any size can find something to their liking.  We are slowly getting there.  In a rare case, I may sell a board to a traveler staying for a few months with the agreement to buy it back.  But understand that, like a car, a board loses a disproportionate amount of its value the first day that it goes from new to used.

Many surfers pass through India on non-surf trips.  They get here and realize how good it is and quickly become desperate for a board.  I've run into over 10 people in that situation this season.  If you want the novelty of simply surfing in India in warm, pretty water, then you can rent something that will allow you to catch a wave.  If you're at all picky about what you ride, then bring your own.  Consider bringing a board you would want to ride but are willing to leave behind.  There are local surfers, rental guys, and a small surf shop owned by a non-profit to benefit local kids who would be interested in buying it (or having it gifted!).  It's difficult to build up the selection here and decent used boards are in high demand.  Any other equipment (especially ding repair, fins, and wax) left to the surf club (also an entity of the non-profit would be highly appreciated.  Everything they do helps promote their community development efforts.  


  1. How about the rental costs? are they outrageous?

  2. I didn't really know that you could get surfboard rentals. I have never been surfing before, but I would love to be able to learn. That sounds like it would be a lot of fun.
    Jak Manson |

  3. It seems like I need to think a bit more about what kind of surfboard to rent before I actually go out and rent one. I thought that there were just long boards and surfboards for rent. I will have to ask a professional about this.


  4. I see the sea is not stand it ... great. I wish I could be like you!
    teefury , redbubble , threadless.