Mangaluru, Aug 8: Surfers from Mangaluru now want to test international waters before trying their hand at the Olympics 2020. However, there are many hurdles to overcome. While sponsorship is one problem, competing with more established surfers from Japan, US, Brazil and Australia is another challenge.
Mangaluru's Mantra Surf Club is very popular in this field and many national level champions are associated with this club. In 2011, a group of Indian surfers from the club formed the Surfing Federation of India, which is recognised by the International Surfing Association (ISA) as the National Governing Body for surfing in India.
The Association has organised many surfing events in the country, the most recent being three-day Indian open surfing event at Sasihithlu beach near Mangaluru. In fact, this event has placed Mangaluru on the surfing map internationally.
Federation President Kishore Kumar said, "Surfing Federation of India co-operated with the International Surfing Association to support the campaign for including surfing in the Olympics and other national and international multi-sport events."
Further backing Olympic's decision to include surfing in the 2020 games, he feels Indian surfers should test the foreign waters before taking a chance in the Olympics.
"Our surfers should participate in international surfing events. Though we receive invitations, we are unable to make it because of lack of sponsors. In future we want to send our people to international competitions. This will need a substantial number of sponsors. Participation in such events will help our surfers make it to the Olympics. It would help in the qualifying rounds." he said.