2016 India Surf Festival Essential Guide

Adventure, Workshops, Music, Dance, Art, Photography, Yoga

India Surf Festival.
••• India Surf Festival. Sharell Cook.

The annual India Surf Festival is into its fifth year in 2016, and will be bigger and better than ever! Discover what will be happening and how to see it in this article.

What's the Festival all About?

If you guessed surfing, you'd be right! However, the name "India Surf Festival" is a little misleading as the festival features way more than just surfing. Organized by the Surfing Yogis (a group of like-minded people who combine surfing, yoga, and nature), it's an eco-friendly celebration of oneness that provides a creative platform for freedom of expression encompassing adventure, music, dance, art, and photography.

There's also early morning beach yoga. If you're good at something, you're invited to come and portray your talent!

Not surprisingly, the festival has gone from strength to strength each year. From humble beginnings attended only by 100 people, it's grown to more than 5,000 participants and has achieved international recognition of surfing in India.

Competitions

The main events at the festival are the Surf Expressions Championship, where surfers show off their freestyle moves, and India SUP Cup.  Notably, the SUP Cup is India's biggest Stand Up Paddle (SUP) competition. Racers from more than 10 countries will test their skills along a challenging river course. Another highlight is the Kitesurfing Trophy. Expect to see spectacular, high speed aerial acrobatics!

Workshops

Walk on Water workshops will be held for those who would like to have a go on a SUP board. It's a great family fun activity, as people of all ages can participate and no experience is necessary.

Experienced SUP surfers can also try their skill at the Yoga on Water workshops. In addition, there will be longboarding (an advanced form of skateboarding) demonstrations and workshops, surfing orientation workshops, as well as skateboarding and para motoring workshops.

Hungry Lens

A platform for photographers to showcase the way they've captured the spirit of the festival, at the end of each day, the festival organizers will collect images, curate them and display them for everyone to see.

Art and Music

Freedom of expression continues into the night with folk dancers, fire dancers, jugglers, DJs, live bands, Indian classical music, and open air music jams around a bonfire.  There will be art shows and blank canvases for artists to paint on too!

When's the Festival Happening?

November 12-14, 2016. The festival is held on full moon days to add to the magic!

Where's the Festival Happening?

Lotus Eco Village Resort, Ramchandi beach, near Puri in Odisha.  Ramchandi beach is a pristine and serene stretch of beach that's named after the presiding deity, Goddess Ramchandi.

How to Get There

Ramchandi beach is accessible by road and is located on Marine Drive between Konark and Puri. It's around 28 kilometers from Puri and seven kilometers from Konark (home of the famous Konark Temple). The nearest airport is in Bhubaneshwar, 70 kilometers away, and the nearest train station is in Puri. From Puri, it's possible to take a taxi or an auto rickshaw to the festival venue, or the shuttle service from the festival meeting point on CT Road, Puri.

Where to Stay

Various accommodations are available, depending on budget. Camping tents are set up in the forested area around the festival venue, with mattresses, pillows and blankets provided.

You can also bring your own tent and stay there, which is the cheapest option. Do be prepared to rough it a bit, as the camping area doesn't have power supply and although washrooms are available, they're in a different area. Finding good cellular coverage is also a challenge. Alternatively, if you'd prefer your creature comforts, the India Surf Festival has partnered with OYO Rooms to offer hotel accommodations in Puri.

Note that the above accommodations are only available to guests who register for all three days of the festival. If you only want to attend on selected days, you'll need to arrange your accommodations independently. Z Hotel in Puri is a recommended option with quality dorm rooms if you're looking for somewhere atmospheric and yet inexpensive.

Registration and Costs

Three day passes, including accommodations, can be purchased from the OYO Rooms website.

The cost for camping is 7,500 rupees per person. If you bring your own tent, it's 5,000 rupees per person. For hotel accommodations in Puri, it's 10,000 rupees per person. As well as accommodations, the cost of the passes includes breakfast, workshops, music performances, (and shuttle transport if staying Puri).

Single day passes cost 2,000 rupees. The cost of workshops is additional, and ranges from 500 rupees for Yoga on the Beach to 2,000 rupees per day for Para Motoring.