The Kovalam Surf Club is located in Kovalam, Kerala, India and was founded in 2005 as a part of the bigger NGO SISP.
The Kovalam Surf Club is located in Kovalam, Kerala, India and was founded in 2005 as a part of the bigger NGO SISP. SISP is active in the area since 1996 and tries to improve the harsh living conditions of the poorest by offering them free education, medical care, food support, old age care, micro credit unions, literacy classes, training and work in handicraft units.
The idea behind the Kovalam Surf Club was to get the children of SISP off the streets outside of the school hours and to act as an extra motivation to keep these kids going to school on a regular basis. The main rule to participate in the surf classes is: "No school - No surfing!"
The Kovalam Surf Club started off with 3 old boards and 5 to 10 kids, eager to become good surfers. The beginning was hard, as the kids weren’t used to take care of the equipment, especially if it has a certain value. So every week there were boards to be fixed, but the children learned how to repair the boards themselves and figured out it was hard work, so they became more careful.
But the tourism police and lifeguards were for sure the biggest problem. Because the only life these children know, is a life packed with violence and misery, so they acted like products of their society. These children weren’t welcome on a beach that is reserved for tourists, well protected from the dark side of India. The surf kids had to learn to behave in what we call a 'civilised' way, in order not to get sent away by the authorities. The local authorities now know the surfing children and respect them, as long as they behave appropriate, which they have learnt to do so.
Today, the Kovalam Surf Club has around 40 members and as a registered sports club, was the first official surf club in India. Thanks to our sponsors and befriended surfers we now have a surfboard for every child and an appropriate surfing outfit. The children have their own clubhouse, where we keep our equipment and slip into our surf shorts.
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