The thrill of successfully riding the wave or the beautiful experience of looking at marine life, up and close is cherished by many adventure-seekers. You need not plan a trip to Goa, Andamans or Thailand for fulfilling your desires. The East Coast Road has quite a few options, if you get your kicks from pursuing water sports. Bay of Life Surf School, near Vivanta By Taj at Kovalam, is a great place to engage in water sports. It was the spirit of free-spirited adventure, love for environment and the urge to take up something new gave birth to Bay of Life way back in 2010. Today it attracts enthusiasts from across the globe.
“I was always passionate about the ocean and nature. I was also interested to learn about snakes and reptiles during school and even at law school. I loved swimming in the ocean in Kovalam. In 2010, I wanted to combine my passion and profession into one entity and thus, created an organisation where conservation, education and nature played a vital part of the core activity. During that period I was also exposed to Stand-up Paddling in North India, and a few foreigners were exploring surfing at Kovalam. It all fit perfectly. The only way to get people to notice the ocean and trigger conservation was to get them to use it. Ocean sport was our first step towards awareness and conservation. My wife and I along with a friend came up with the idea of a surf school. By early 2011, it was official and Bay of Life was South India’s first and India’s second accredited surf school,” says Showkath Jamal, co-founder, Bay of Life.
They conducted India’s first surf camp along with the Surfing federation of India. Later they were joined by Sumeet Gulecha, an ex- Yahoo team member and a surfer from California. Apart from surfing, the place also offers Stand up paddling, Kayaking, Ocean Swimming and Snorkeling. In addition, it organises outdoor science field trips for schools, summer nature camps, beach science camps and awareness programmes.
“Our team is a rare mix of surfers, biologists, geologists, instructors, engineers and conservationists united by one common passion – the ocean. With safety and expertise certifications from NOLS USA, WMI USA, NIWS (IND), TACT INDIA, Surfing Federation of India and the International Surfing Association, we were able to build a team that is knowledgeable, skilled, dedicated and approachable,” adds Showkath.
Initially, Bay of Life had seen a huge rush of expats but over the years they have seen a rise in locals and a lot many Indian travellers, who are willing to learn or practice a water sport at their surf school. “We get a lot of kids and teenagers over weekends along with adults. Parents encourage their children to take up a water sport,” he says.