Surfing Federation of India (SFI) announced the first ever Indian Surf Team that will represent the country at the ISA World Surfing Games 2023 that will be held at El Salvador from 30th May to 7th June 2023.
Ajeesh Ali, Sanjay Selvamani and Sivaraj Babu from Tamil Nadu and Ramesh Budihal from Karnataka are the four who made to the first ever Indian surfing team for ISA (International Surfing Games) World Surfing Games who were selected after a 3-stage selection process.
The Indian team that will be participating in this World Surfing Games will look forward to make the most from the competition as the ISA World Surfing Games also act as an Olympic qualifier event for Paris 2024 where Surfing will make its second appearance after its debut as an Olympic sport in Tokyo 2020.
"It's not too far," Ramesh had told The Bridge last year when asked if Olympic qualification is a possibility for India. "But for most people, seeing it as a sport to excel in is still some way off. It is improving though, maybe if sponsors come on board, pro surfing may pick up more," he had said.
Speaking on the developments, President of SFI Mr Arun Vasu said, "The focus going forward will be the development of athletes in the Groms (16 years and under) Division who are the future of the sport and the Women surfers. This like any sport needs to be practiced from a young age. We already have a couple of very talented young athletes who along with the right training need the financial support so that their decision of pursuing a career as a Professional Surfer can be an easier one".
The team is currently in Sri Lanka attending a 14 day training camp with the Head Coach Mr Patrick Renaud, a former South African professional surfer who has previously managed the English Surf team to 4th place in European Surfing Championships. The team will be under his guidance for the next 5 months in the run up to the World Games, attending further training camps and possibly competing in international competitions in Maldives and Sri Lanka to increase exposure.
The calendar for 2023 looks to be a busy one for the federation with competitions and training events giving promise of growth of Surfing and Stand-Up Paddling both as a professional sport and one of leisure.