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Stand Up Paddle Superstar

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We recently spoke to Tanvi Jagdish. Tanvi is India’s first female Stand Up Paddle Boarder who represents India in International events but has set an ambitious target of growing the sport in the country. In this interview, we get to know a little about her, the sport, her rigorous schedule and how you can get into the sport. 

Q) Could you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Tanvi Jagdish and I basically do Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boarding. I’m the first female Stand Up Paddle (SUP)boarder in India. One of the reasons I started standup paddle boarding, was that I love the ocean. The thought of being in the ocean all day was really the biggest pull for me. Also, while paddle boarding, you get to see the ocean, the sky and the beach in one eye view, which to me feels amazing. 

Q) Can you explain to our readers about Stand Up Paddle Boarding?

So Standup Paddle (SUP) boarding originated in Hawai. A paddle board is usually slightly larger than a surfboard. In surfing, you lay on your stomach, on the board and then paddle using your hands until you get a wave and then you stand.

In stand up paddle boarding, you’re always standing and you use a paddle to generate momentum or move forward.

Stand up paddle boarding is one of the fastest growing water sports and my ultimate dream is to see it as sport in the Olympics and me getting to represent India.

Paddle boarding india superstar mantra surf school tanvi jagdish (5)

” Opportunities come and go.  At the end of the day, It’s how you utilise these opportunities that really matters “

Q) Something really interesting happens in the world championship. Can you tell us about that?

We were asked to bring sand from our respective countries and pour it in a glass box. The beautiful, colorful layers of sand in the box was a symbolization of unity which this sport represents.

Q) How did you get into Stand up Paddle boarding?

It was my grandfather who took me to Mantra Surf School and I was lucky enough to get drafted by the school when I was very young. They are a surfing school based in Mulki near Mangalore, Karnataka. They really helped me practice and train regularly which has ensured I remain consistent and build some credibility in the sport.

Q) You’ve won 5 consecutive nationals here in India, tell us what the background is like?

Honestly, like all other sports, it takes a lot of hard work. Sometimes, I feel, when I’m standing on the podium that people aren’t aware of all the grueling hours of work I have put in. It takes a lot of hard work and training to excel in any sport.

Being in a sport like paddle boarding, that is just emerging, is even more difficult because there aren’t many backers in terms of sponsorship or even government recognition and so on. All sports require training, nutrition, gear and sponsorship really help athletes who don’t come from wealthy backgrounds. My dad has been really sick and I have sacrificed a lot to be in the sport. But thinking about making him proud keeps me motivated to overcome all obstacles and keep performing better than before.

Q) Tell us about an average day and how you train for the sport? 

I wake up really early and sleep early too.

I wake up every day at 3:30 am and usually start my day with either Yoga or meditation. I study for some time and usually eat Ragi for breakfast. I love having a glass of fresh cold pressed juice that my mom makes for me.

I get into the water by around 6:30 am and train for couple of hours. Post this I head to my college for classes.

After classes, I head to the gym for training and end it with another session of paddle boarding.

I crash by 8:30 pm after a long day. This has been my schedule for the past two years. Sounds like a lot but that’s exactly the kind of hard work it takes to be successful.

Q) What are the challenges you face?

Mentally you need your family to support you. Being in a sport that is not very popular yet, the chances of you being successful and doing this full time is lower.

Financially too, there are a lot of challenges like I mentioned earlier. Travelling to venues, training, nutrition and equipment come at a cost and when you don’t have sponsors, the struggle can get very exhausting. Most people who see me on social media don’t really know about the constant struggle to be successful.

But my biggest take away from this is to have fun and always enjoy whatever you do.

Q) What gear do you use for stand up paddle boarding?

Well you would need a stand up paddle board, the paddle itself, a leash that connect you to the paddle board so that you don’t lose it out on the ocean and finally a life jacket.

Paddle boarding india superstar mantra surf school tanvi jagdish (6)

Q) Can someone who is afraid of the ocean come give it a shot?

Absolutely yes. I conducted a training camp for kids at the school and most of them aren’t excellent swimmers. It’s just that initial fear of the water that you need to get rid of. If you’re meant to do this sport or you start liking it, then I’m sure nothing will stop you from coming back and pursuing it.

Of course, having said this, safety is a big priority. Understanding the situation, using precautionary measures and training with professionals is what will keep you safe.

Q) Hey tell us about this camp you conducted.

Yes, so this year I conducted a summer training camp for kids at Mantra Surf School. The kids who registered at school were given classes in the morning and afternoon. The levels ranged from beginner to intermediate. The classes are conducted in the beautiful waters of Shambhavi which has a beautiful beach and calm waters, perfect for paddle boarding . I’m hoping to conduct more of these classes when I’m not travelling for competitions. Anyone who wants to participate can check with Mantra Surf School. To participate in the camp you can get in touch with Tanvi through her Instagram account or through email at [email protected]


Q) Have you seen sharks while paddle boarding?

(Tanvi laughs)No we don’t see any sharks in these parts. In fact we see a lot of very cute dolphins while out in the water and these dolphins naturally tend to patrol the waters and prevent any sharks from coming into the beach. The beach itself is really nice and there are no rocks here making it a safe place for first timers.

Paddle boarding india superstar mantra surf school tanvi jagdish (2)

Q) Can you tell us more about Mantra Surf School?

So surfing was brought to India by Surfing Swami and he set up India’s first surfing school here in Mulki. The school is called Surfing Ashram AKA Mantra Surf School.

Mantra Surf School thought surfing and paddle boarding to all the local kids here and I happened to be one of the kids that learnt the sport through them.

In fact, what I am today is thanks to Surfing Swami Foundation, Surfing Swami and Mantra Surf School.

Life at Mantra surf club is amazing, we get to train, we follow a healthy vegetarian diet, we don’t smoke or drink, we get to surf and basically lead a very healthy, fun and balanced life.

Mantra surf club also conducts a lot of beach cleanup activities.

Surfing swamu mantra surf school surfing ashram

Q) What’s the surfing scene like in India?

So funnily, India has 7500 Km of coastline but very people are surfing. India has a beautiful coastline and I feel more people should be getting into this sport.

The surfing community is a small close-knit community full of supportive people. There are couple of surf schools in Karnataka like Mantra Surf School, Surf Wala and Banana Surf School in Goa, Soul & Surf and Kovalam Surf Club in Kerala and even in Covelong Point Surf School in Chennai. There are some schools in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh too.

So there are plenty of options for anyone to start and give it a shot.

You can get in touch with Tanvi through her Instagram account or through email at [email protected]

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