Mangaluru: Tamil Nadu surfers dominate Indian Open of Surfing at Sasihithlu Beach

11:27 AM Jun 03, 2024 | PTI |

Mangaluru: Tamil Nadu surfers Ajeesh Ali and Kamali Moorthy have been crowned champions of the fifth Indian Open of Surfing 2024 in the men’s and women’s events respectively.


The three-day surfing extravaganza at the Munda beach in Mulky near here concluded on Sunday on a high note.

Both Ajeesh and Kamali swept the top honours in all four categories, including Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Groms Boys and U-16 and Groms Girls and U-16 at the tournament known to be the official national championship of the Surfing Federation of India, the governing body for surfing and stand-up paddling.

Ajeesh Ali, who competed in the Paris Olympics qualifiers (2023 ISA World Surfing Games, El Salvador) last year, was crowned the new IOS champion in the Men’s Open category.

Teenage sensation Kamali Moorthi completed a double victory by winning both the Women’s Open and Groms Girls & U-16 categories, successfully defending her titles.


Another Tamil Nadu teenager, Tayin Arun, impressed the judges with his manoeuvres and was crowned the new IOS champion in the Groms Boys and U-16 categories.

The three-day premier surfing competition of India was organised by the Surfing Swami Foundation and hosted by the Mantra Surf Club.

Venkata Ramana Akkaraju, Chairman of the New Mangalore Port Authority, and Dhananjaya Shetty, Director of the Surfing Swami Foundation, awarded the winners with cash prizes, trophies, and certificates.

The final day’s action began with the semi-finals of the Groms 16 and Under Boys category.

Local favourite Pradeep Pujar led the pack with a score of 8.80, advancing to the finals alongside Prahlad Sriram (8.50), Harish P (8.26), and Tayin Arun (6.76).

One of the judges of surfing events in the field, Dylan Amar from Indonesia, was convinced that the venue (Munda Beach in Sasihitlu village) had the right conditions and the qualities to emerge as a highly competitive surfing destination.

“Over the three days, the athletes put on an impressive show. If they maintain this level of effort, Indian surfers could soon make it to the Olympics,” he noted.

Tamil Nadu surfers Dhamayanthi Sriram and Mahathi Srinivasabharathi qualified for the finals with scores of 4.57 and 3.54, respectively.

Kamali Moorthi, the top seed from Tamil Nadu, had already been granted a final spot based on her national ranking.

Tayin Arun won his first title at IOS with a score of 10.17. Harish P (8.40) and Prahlad Sriram (7.47) made it a thrilling competition, finishing second and third, respectively.

Mantra Surf Club’s Pradeep Pujar finished fourth with a score of 5.34.

The highlight event of the day was the Men’s Open Surfing final, another all Tamil Nadu affair, featuring the top-seeded surfers from across the country.

Ajeesh Ali, who represented India at the 2023 ISA World Surfing Games in El Salvador, walked away with the championship title with the highest score of the day (14.70).

The intense action and thrilling competition in the category captivated the audience.

Srikanth D (12.57) and Sanjaikumar S (11.10) bagged the runner-up and second runner-up titles, respectively, while Sanjay Selvamani came fourth with a score of 6.17.

Ajeesh Ali said, “I am thrilled to have won the title today after being the runner-up in the previous edition. Winning the Indian Open of Surfing was something I desperately wanted. My experience in El Salvador last year for the Paris Olympics qualifiers allowed me to compete with some of the world’s best surfers and learn a great deal from them. The conditions today were challenging with slow waves, but luckily, I had a board specifically for such conditions. The competition was fierce as my fellow surfers are among the best in the country.”

Kamali scored 12.40 in the finals, narrowly edging out 2022 champion Sugar Banarse from Goa, who scored 12.23 and finished as the runner-up by just 0.17 points. Neha Vaid from Mumbai came in third with a score of 2.97.

Kamali said, “I am thrilled to have successfully defended both my titles at the Indian Open of Surfing. Surfing in Mangaluru has always been a joy, and today was no different. The Women’s Open category was challenging because I was competing against Sugar Banarse, the 2022 champion.”


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