Indian Surfer Girl
My name is Tanvi Jagadish. I AM A SURFER!
No, wait, let me start this way: My name is Tanvi Jagadish. I am a 16-year-old GIRL from Mangaluru, Karnataka, India. I studied in Delhi Public School. And I AM A SURFER.
Being an Indian, what I want to do in my life is tied to so many irrelevant factors, such as my sex, my age, my origin, etcetera.
I began surfing when I was around 14 years old. I had known about it for a long time. In fact, I was introduced to surfing when I was only eight years old, but since my parents did not support me I couldn’t start surfing then.
I was introduced to the Mantra Surf Club by my grandfather. I am extremely grateful to him for that. It was really hard to get into surfing, being a girl. Family got worried about my tanned skin; society didn’t approve of my wearing shorts or swimsuits and getting into the ocean. Surfing was never considered a sport for girls—sorry, I mean Indian girls.
But I didn’t give up. I would see how the members of Mantra Surf Club were riding those waves, and I knew I had to do it. I knew I would love it. So, I strived hard to get into it. I had to fight with my family, I had to fight with society, but in the end, I am happy to say that I made it. After six years, I finally did start surfing—and within two years, I have found my passion. And I am pursuing it against all odds.
It has taken a lot of effort from my side and from my trainers at Mantra Surf Club, who spent a lot of time training me in both surfing and SUP (Stand Up Paddling). They also did their best to convince my parents that this could actually work—that a girl could actually surf and it would be totally fine!
I am also sure that there plenty of other girls out there who wish to follow their dreams but do not find the support and encouragement to do so. My dream is to support them. We have many girl surfers in our club now, and they have all taken the sport very enthusiastically and have been the pioneers of young surf girls in India.
Since I started surfing, I participated in several national level events. The first competition I went to was in 2015 in Chennai. Since then, I have trained hard and have many accolades in my name, including but not limited to:
• 2015 SUP Nationals Covelong Point Surf Classic (first place)
• 2016 SUP Nationals Manapad Classic Surf and Sail Festival (first place)
• 2016 SUP Nationals Indian Open of Surfing (Presented by Karnataka Tourism) (first place)
• 2016 Surfing Nationals Indian Open of Surfing (third place)
I have been given a wildcard entry for the international competition in China for SUP. I am very excited to participate in this and other international competitions, and I have been training very hard for that. But participating internationally is not possible without the financial and emotional support of my parents.
While I keep trying to convince my parents, I guess I can’t wait for that to happen. If I did, I would miss this International event that could be the change I wish to bring! I request that you provide any support you can, and if you can, please share my story with others who could support me.
Surfing and SUP are wonderful sports! We should really stop being judgmental about who can and cannot take part in them. Had I listened to my parents and society , I still wouldn’t have known what my passion in life is and would have had to be content just knowing and dreaming about surfing.
I hope such prejudice will stop and more girls will be able to get into surfing!
A whole new world awaits them!
Lots of love,