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Surf Ashram Life

How I managed to train some before the WPA Championships while living in India:

Although I’m sure it is enjoyable to train for events while living abroad in countries with a well-established SUP scene; my training in India started out as a nightmare.  The nightmare of no water bodies, no board, and no friends to paddle safely with was solved by the Surfing Swamis and their Hare Krishna Surf Ashram.

Let’s face it; I was hesitant at first. No alcohol, no meat, and no bikini. I didn’t think I was going to last. It ended up being one of the best times and best training scenarios possible.

A typical day at the Ashram started with a 5am Hare Krishna meditation, but sadly, I’ll admit I didn’t often make it to that. After meditation it was off to surf. I would paddle across a river with the boys, and sometimes out the inlet, to the beach where, depending on the swell, we would surf for 2-4 hours. Sometimes the paddle back included more than enough effort for the entire day if the tide happened to be going out! Sometimes I opted to SUP-waterski from the back of the Mantra Surf Club’s zodiac they used for guests. Hooray for guests! They never put the zodiac in the water just for me; they made me paddle or swim! Once back in the Ashram, breakfast was served. Every day another delicious vegetarian dish cooked with consciousness. I’ve been enjoying vegetarian food ever since!

Afternoon workouts consisted of multiple obstacles.

Paddles posed new hazards such as water snakes and low hanging power lines. Some challenges like avoiding dead animals that collect on your fin were not welcomed, while a few others like maneuvering through a group of men bathing their water buffalos were more than entertaining. There was never a lack of village children along the riverbanks waving and smiling, after only a week, they all knew where I was from.

Jogging on the beach was also very different than back home, mainly in that for many miles I was the only person. I would talk to Brahminy Kites and Marsh Harriers, and when starfish had washed up too far as the tide receded I would do sprints down to pick them up and place them back in the water amidst my run. One day I ran a little further than usual and encountered a fishing village at low tide. This brought an all-new running experience. At low tide the beach was scattered with fishermen squatting and doing their business, the tide would come in soon and wash it away... I didn’t really know what to do, so I just kept on moving, waved politely, and made sure to watch my step extremely carefully. It’s one thing when I paddle past them, but running through them was a slightly different story!