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Slumdog Surfers, Catching India's Waves

From empty lineups to crowded markets


There are certain places you travel to that are guaranteed to put you in unique situations and allow you to see things you cannot see anywhere else. To say India is one of those places is an understatement.

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Each moment is a sensory overload—and that’s not even including the fact that we found amazing waves. To be honest, when we arrived, we actually didn’t know if we’d find any—we knew little about the culture and didn’t even know if they surfed. Turns out, they don’t. In spite of the overwhelming number of people in the cities, lineups were empty. In fact, throughout the entire trip, we only saw one other surfer. He was an American missionary from the East Coast, and he was beyond excited to see others in the water.  

Granted the ocean is still a huge part of life in India. The people are constantly immersed in it—fishermen putting in a hard days work, women washing clothes in the water, and children running in and out of the surf. We constantly had a gathering of people stopping to watch us catching waves. Children followed us down the beach, gathering in groups as we got ready.

Personal space is non-existent, and the inquisitiveness of the people began to grow on us as our personal bubbles were constantly being popped. After many days in sweltering heat, mixing surf sessions with crowded markets, we began to grow an appreciation for people that constantly surrounded us. Somehow through all the waves and beautiful surf set ups we got to see the beauty of the culture and kindness of the people seemed to shine through it all.

A surf trip can become something so much more when you begin to embrace the local culture—and soak in more than just the waves and water. 

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