Surfing Swami Leads His Followers Into a New Wave Of Religion

October 20, 2009

Author: Rhys Blakely

Source: The Australian,25197,26232225-25837,00.html

Surfing, a sport with devout followers from South Wales to NSW, has never caught on in India - despite the country having more than 6800km of coast and giant waves during the monsoon.

That could now change as the world's first surfing swami sets his sights on popularising the pursuit across the subcontinent - a land that the holy man says has waves as attractive as those in the surfing mecca of Hawaii.

Swami Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha, 64, an American Hindu monk who has been living in India for four decades, has opened the country's first surfing ashram - religious community - near Mangalore on the southwest coast.

At the Kaliya Mardana Krishna Ashram, ripping down the face of a glassy, peeling wave on a plank of polystyrene is considered a form of meditation.

Set near the beach amid rice paddies and coconut groves, the commune has already attracted a handful of global surfing superstars, hundreds of Western amateurs and curious villagers.