Cover story: How to make the most of the Covelong Classic 2022: Surf, Music & Fitness Festival in Chennai

It’s all about fun, frolic, food and fitness as India's biggest surfing festival, the Covelong Classic 2022: Surf, Music & Fitness Festival is back after a two-year break. 

author_img Sabrina Rajan Published :  08th July 2022 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  08th July 2022 12:00 AM

At Surf Turf, the surfing school

With three weeks to go for the Covelong Classic 2022: Surf, Music & Fitness Festival, our ready-reckoner here tells you how to make the most of this much-awaited three-day gala. Right from bite-size loaves of bread and inventive vegan popsicles to a skateboarding competition and a killer obstacle course race in the mix — it promises a wild time indeed!

We have been tracking the surfing tournament and the surf festival at Surf Turf since its inception in 2013. The three-day celebration has always been a glorious melting pot of cultures, communities and sport. With three weeks left for the 2022 edition, we jump into the thick of things and prep you for the Covelong Classic 2022: Surf, Music & Fitness Festival with deets that include some exciting sporty elements along with music and food to keep up the carnival vibe. Be warned, that stay options are already booked to the hilt, if you plan to stay the weekend down the coast to soak up the festival. Meanwhile, there is a fun option — if you truly want to savour a slice of the local culture, DM the Surf Turf Instagram page and get some cool homestay options for that weekend! What’s more, they have ATV buggy rides from the entrance to the beach if you wish to conserve your energy for the anticipated revelry!

A glimpse of the previous edition of the Surf Turf carnival 

A quick catch-up with the founder of the festival Arun Vasu, chairman and managing director of TT Group, confirms that this year is going to be more fun than ever. A surfer, windsurfer, wakeboarder, waterskier and diver, Arun tells us how the festival has evolved over the years. We eagerly ask, what has changed this year? “Getting back after a break, we didn’t know what to expect. Surprisingly, the response is amazing! Primarily, we are all about healthy living, the surfing, the surfing tournament, all set in a background of the glorious sea… but, we feel that the world of fitness is constantly evolving. When we started we were big on yoga — now if you notice we are more inclusive and have an obstacle course race, a skateboarding pit, among many other elements,” says Arun, president, Surfing Federation of India. Sure enough, we find that Simple Strong, a fitness enterprise founded by Vikram Menon, will be setting up an exciting range of fitness options that include a workshop tent that will run fun sessions like pole dancing, acro-yoga and parkour by professional instructors on Saturday and Sunday during the early morning hours and a third session on Saturday evening. The weekend pass at INR 1,500 is a good bet for those who want to try everything as the ticket will give you access to all the three sessions. Vikram tells us that there is a Play Area that is worth bouncing into — it will have a trampoline, slacklines and such. Another Simple Strong set up is the Tryout Zone — it’s a sampling of an obstacle course, just for fun but does fetch you a prize if you win.

Meanwhile, the national surfing champion will be crowned on Sunday evening and hopefully if you are lucky, you can also meet the ambassadors of Surf Turf festival, cricketers Matthew Hayden and Jonty Rhodes. This time, they have done away with the open entries for the competition, instead another interesting inclusion this year is a special invitational one for expat surfers — they are expected from places like the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

National Champion, Kishore, in action

We ask Arun, what next? “We do want to expand and have another event like this one in Mahabalipuram. However, the logistics are way more challenging there. Right from the basics like no easy access to the beach there — we have our work cut out for us!” he says.

Covelong Classic 2022: Surf, Music & Fitness Festival is at the Surf Turf, off East Coast Road in Kovalam village from Aug 5 to 7. The recreational programmes are on Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, for those who are not water babies and prefer some grounded sport over surfing have a host of options in this edition. Arun Vasu has collaborated with skateboarder Gautham D Kamath, founder of Escape Skateboarding, Bengaluru; to bring a professional half-pipe contest to town for the first time at this festival. Get ready to catch some skateboarding action in the middle of the food court where they are planning to put up the pit, with skateboarders coming from nearly 10 states across the country to compete. “This is an open competition. We plan to give cash prizes that amount to about INR 50,000 for the winners,” informs Gautham who has represented India internationally in the past, and adds that there will be stalls selling protective gear and boards for those who don’t have their own. Gautham is known for organising the country’s biggest national-level skateboarding competition called Jugaad Skateboarding Competition in Bengaluru (the eighth edition will be held in the first week of December 2022). Meanwhile, a side note for aspiring skaters at Surf Turf — do note that if you have videos of your skating prowess that you can upload online, then your chances for participating in the contest on invitation are high!

Registration for skateboarding at the venue at INR 1,000 per participant. Junior category — below 14 years old and senior category — above 14 years old. Max 40 entries only.

A participant at a Wild Warrior race

Things to do:

Sunday evening has the bigger better beach obstacle course race called the Killermeter (yes, the distance covered is a kilometre) this year by Wild Warrior Race. Though designed to be a longer race, the founder Vikram Menon promises us that it is not an impossible task to finish and is great for newbies. With various levels of difficulties, the winners will get cash prizes that amount to about INR 75,000. Tickets for participation in the Wild Warrior Race start from INR 1,500 onwards.

Another element of this festival that is a big draw is the live gig shows. They have two stages this time with an exclusive space for indie artistes and upcoming talent — that will be going on through the day. The main acts will be on the beach in the evenings and this time get ready for a new experience as the stage has been designed in a way that the artistes will be playing on a more interactive level! We have been told to look out for more than 20 acts on the whole and that new genres like hip hop and rap besides full bands and electronic music producers, have been added to the playlist.

As usual the food stalls are of great interest to us and we are really excited about the eclectic lineup this time. Karam Mess plans on dishing out South Indian delights as boxed combo-meals, and regulars will be happy to know that the neighbouring villagers will be back putting up local stalls with delicacies like spicy fish fry and more. Little Loco Pops Company has our attention with their pretty-as-a-picture vegan ice-lollies with fresh fruits! Beyond Loaf has cute bite-sized babushka loaves, while Crêpe Canteen has savoury options along with dessert. Also, look out for steaks, hotdogs, pizzas, bubble tea and a host of other culinary delights.

Credits for cover pic: R Satish Babu.
Models: Samyuktha Darira, actor Santhosh Prathap & Natasha Noor.
Location: Surf Turf, Kovalam, ECR.