Weekend plans: We are heading to Chennai’s Covelong Classic Surf, Music and Fitness Festival


From dancing to fitness activities, there’s a lot on offer at the festival

Surfers doing what they do best

Surfers doing what they do best

Unless you are living under a rock, you must have heard of the Covelong Classic Surf, Music and Fitness Festival.

Back for its ninth edition, this event since its inception in 2013 (with a pandemic-induced break in 2020 and 2021) has been on the radar of every Indian surfer worth their salt. It is just as popular among non-surfers who come in from Chennai, Bengaluru Hyderabad, Mumbai etc to witness competitive surfing up close, and lounge by the sea while sampling a variety of flavours from the food stalls or signing up for the many fitness activities lined up.

“From parkour and gymnastics to silambam and other traditional forms of workouts, we have seven to eight modules of fitness activities planned this year,” says Rajeev Vijaykumar, the event director for the last four years now. The lineup also incorporates dance workouts such as pole dancing, salsa and zumba, and a varied range of sessions, from sound immersion to a class on strengthening knee joints.

The ever popular Wild Warrior Obstacle Race is back this time with new challenges. Rajeev says there are as many as 200 amateurs and 30 to 40 pros who are set to participate. Trials are on Saturday and the finals will take place on Sunday. The morning will also see enthusiastic runners taking to the beach for a barefoot 5K run. The spoils of which include a cash award.

There is palpable excitement among the organisers about the bands performing this year. Variety seems to be the keyword with genres as diverse as tribal folk music to indie-rock being showcased. “We also have a 34-member Tamil choral ensemble,” says Rajeev adding that there are 16 bands participating, with The Soul coming from Sri Lanka. When Chai Met Toast and Avial will be headlining the show on Saturday and Sunday evening respectively.

In addition to a flea market there will also be tattoo artists, kiosks selling India-made surfboards, clothes, home decor and jewellery, among others and 35 food stalls to satiate hunger pangs and keep you hydrated through Chennai’s extended summer days. These include Beachville Cafe, Kaati Roll Shop, Smoking Hog, Kai, Chef Gokul Hygge, Purple Brewery, Little Loco Pops, Tannys Gourmet, Freshlings, Fresh Crush and Kaaram Mess.

Arun Vasu, president Surfing Federation of India and Tamil Nadu Surfing Association, the owner of Surf Turf and chairman of TT Group, expects footfalls to overtake last year’s 20,000 visitors. “Usually more crowds come towards the evening for the music and food, but last year we noticed a crowd during the day to watch the surfing,” says Arun.

While the Covelong Festival will take place on August 12 and 13 the surfing heats will begin on August 11. “What we’ve done differently this time is that we ran an East Coast Pro that started in Mangalore on June 3, followed by Puducherry two weekends ago, then Mamallapuram last weekend and we will finish at Covelong this weekend. This is a national series. We will crown the national champion at the festival,” explains Arun. The winner, along with the top 10 finishers in the men’s and women’s categories, will secure wild card entries to the WSL-International Surf Open Tamil Nadu that will take place in Mamallapuram from August 14 to 20 and feature surfers from 10 countries including Japan, Australia, and the Philippines.

For the national series, they have received around 80 entries over all, for each event. Arun is pleased with the interest the sport is garnering. “After the Covelong Festival, there is always an increase in interest in surfing, with many queries and new surfers. Thee are now close to 12 surf schools in Covelong now.”

Covelong Classic Surf, Music and Fitness Festival on August 12 and 13 at Surf Turf, Kovalam, Chennai. For details, check out surfturfindia on Instagram.

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