An International Surf Open, part of the World Surf League (WSL) will be held for the first time in India at Mamallapuram near here from August 14 to 20.
Announcing the event here on Tuesday, Tamil Nadu Minister for Sports Udhayanidhi Stalin said it is another endeavor on the part of the state government towards promoting sports and the international competition offered a platform for the Indian surfers to demonstrate their abilities. "Surfing being an Olympic sport, it has become a priority...This international tournament offers a remarkable platform for our surfers to demonstrate their abilities and bring pride to our nation," he told reporters.
The International Surf Open, a WSL QS 3000 event would see participants from some 12-14 countries and about 80-100 surfers, the president of the Surfing Federation of India and Tamil Nadu Surfing Association Arun Vasu said.
Thanking the Tamil Nadu government for coming forward to support the event, he said the focus was to train promising children and establish India as a force in the world surfing scene. "The TNSA would like to thank the TN government for its support and sponsorship in bringing this world-class event to the state. What started as a drop in the ocean 10 years ago in Kovalam has now put Tamil Nadu and India on the world map for surfing. Our focus in the next five years will be to train young kids and establish India as a force in the world surfing scene," Vasu added.
On the occasion, a cheque for Rs 2.67 crore sanctioned by the Tamil Nadu government for the event was handed over by Udhayanidhi Stalin to Vasu. Giving details about the QS 3000 event, he said it carries total prize money of USD 45,000 and 3,000 Tour points and would feature top surfers from Asia and Australia.
Also, surfers who were currently not eligible for the Championship Tour events will be able to compete in the qualifying series of events and earn points toward qualifying for the following year's Championship Tour events.
The qualifying series comprises QS 10,000, QS 5,000, QS 3,000, QS 1,500, and QS 1,000 level events. He also said that WSL would be giving 10 wild cards to top Indian surfers. In the lead-up to the WSL-QS 3,000 event, the TNSA along with SFI would be hosting a series of 3 national-level surf competitions - "The East Coast Challenge" and the top 10 surfers would receive a wild card entry for the QS 3,000 event.
The qualifying series events would be held at Puducherry (Pondicherry Surf Challenge - July 29 and 30); Mahabalipuram Point Break Challenge (August 5 and 6) and the Covelong Classic (August 12 and 13). Vasu also announced that a four-member Indian team (three from TN and 1 from Karnataka) would be taking part in the ISA World Surfing Games 2023 in El Salvador in May-June.