In a nail-biting finish, Karnataka’s Ramesh Budhial snatched victory from the grasp of Tamil Nadu’s Ajeesh Ali to be crowned as the new national champion in the Men’s Open Surf category on the final day of the 3rd Indian Open of Surfing on Sunday.
Sugar Banarse and Sofiya Sharma too were crowned the national champions in the Women’s Open and groms girls (16 & under) categories respectively, while Tamil Nadu’s Kishore Kumar became the national champion in the groms boys (16 & under) category.
The three-day premiere surfing competition under the aegis of the Surfing Federation of India was hosted by the Mantra Surf Club at the tranquil Panambur Beach in Mangalore, the organisers informed in a release on Sunday.
Speaking after the tournament, Arun Vasu, President, Surfing Federation of India, said, “I am very impressed with the quality of surfers that whom we are watching compete here at Mangalore. With the LA Olympics insight, we are working hard to identify young and upcoming surfers and the quality and skill at display today only gives me the confidence to keep believing in our objectives. I would like to thank all the surfers who participated in this tournament and congratulate the winners for showcasing some great surfing."
The day began with the semifinals of the men’s open surf category which saw Karnataka surfer Ramesh Budhial along with Tamil Nadu’s Ajeesh Ali, Sathish Sarvanan and Ruban V advance into the finals.
The final of the men’s open surf category was a treat to watch with a picture-perfect end when in the final moments of the competition Ramesh Budhial caught a wave to display some breathtaking manoeuvres, impressing the judges and the fans, helping him clinch the victory and the crown of the national champion.
Ramesh finished with a total score of 16.33, while runner-up Ajeesh Ali finished with 15.67 points. Sathish Sarvanan was third with 13 points.
Post a spirited celebration by his friends after his win Ramesh Budhial said, “I am so happy. It is a great feeling to be the national champion. The field was tough, and Ajeesh was spectacular, but I was here today to put in my best effort and I am glad I could do that."
The women’s open surf competition saw Goa’s 16-year-old Sugar Banarse walk away with the national championship crown from Tamil Nadu surfer and defending champion Srishti Selvam. Sugar, who had initially registered for the groms girls 16 & under category, was brave enough to take the chance of competing in the women’s open category and impressed everyone with her skills and surfing from the start. Sugar scored a total of 14.50 points while runner-up Srishti Selvam earned 13.40 points. Karnataka’s Sinchana Gowda finished third with 10.20 points.
Speaking post her win, Sugar said, “I am very happy and grateful to Surfing Federation of India and the judges to allow me to participate in the women’s open surf category. The waves were tough today and the competition tougher, but I am happy that I could convert my training into actions and become the national champion."
In the groms boys (U16) surf category Chennai’s Kishore Kumar was crowned the national champion with 14.84 points. Tamil Nadu’s Naveenkumar R and Jeevan S finished in the second and third positions with a total of 11.73 and 9.40 points respectively.
Goa’s Sofiya Sharma walked away with the national crown in the first-ever Groms Girls 16 & Under surf category. Sofiya, with a total of 18.50 points, bagged the highest score of the tournament on all days, impressing everyone with her surfing capabilities. Thanishka Mendon, the youngest participant in the tournament at 9 years from Mangalore, finished as the runner-up with a total of 12.23 points. Another Mangalorean surfer Saanvi Hegde finished third with a total of 11.33 points.
The day came to an end with an exhibition Expression Race where the winners and runners-up of the men’s open and groms boys competed against each other. Ramesh Budhial emerged victorious in this as well followed by Ajeesh Ali. Naveenkumar R (groms boys 16 & under) finished third while Kishore Kumar (groms boys 16 & under) finished fourth.