Playing with Vayu
Goa has proved to be an amazing place for fringe cultures to incubate, I think it has a to do with open-minded vibe that we have down here. Beginning with the cultural exchange of the Portuguese, the traveling counterculture community settled in Goa in the 1970s and 1980s. Ever since then Goa has been a center for international cultural exchange, where people from all around the world bring their interests and passion to share with their community. We are Super lucky to have access to wellness, food, music, art and permaculture from around the world. This might be one of the reasons that Wind Surfing and later on Kite Surfing took off in Goa. Besides being blessed with some gorgeous beaches and pretty decent wind during the summer, we have a core community of people from all over the world that spend 6-9 months a year in Goa with their kites. I can’t admit that I was around for the beginning of it so I couldn’t tell you how it all started. But I remember coming to Goa as a kid with my kites every season and spending every day on the beach either at Ashwem, Morjim or Mandrem and seeing 10-15 kites on the water.
Today the community has grown quite a bit and it can get quite busy on some of the more popular beaches. I have counted around 100 kites while doing a down winder from Arambol to Morjim during nice day in February. In fact I enjoy kiting on some of the emptier beaches like Ashwem and up at the lagoon during the season time. Morjim and Mandrem are the busiest beaches with the most amount of Kiters, I like going on there in May since the amount of kites drop but between Jan-April it can gets a busy crazy specially if the wind is side shore and if you’re a beginner.
Our Kiting season begins in January and continues till May, for some of us who like a bit of craziness it extends through the monsoon. Everyone is pretty friendly and helpful so it’s really nice to grab a beer after a long session as the sun goes down at a beach shack. I think what makes Goa even more fun is the diversity of watersports that are available like Surfing, SUP, Wakeboarding, Paragliding and Fishing. So if the winds now blowing or you have a family who doesn’t kite there’s always something for them to do. Besides the watersports Goa also offer an amazing array of Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, live music, art, markets, Yoga & wellness and interesting people to keep you engaged.
These are all the reasons I moved to back to India from California to start my passion Project “Vaayu”. I really wanted to bring all my interest together to create an immersive experience to share with people. Vaayu, which means “Wind” is Sanskrit is located on mellow Ashwem Beach and offers Kitesurfing, Surfing, SUP and Wakeboarding lessons and rentals with certified instructors. It’s really important to have certified instructors and up to date equipment to make your learning experience safe, fun and progressive. A complete introduction course of 10 hours usually costs about 25,000. Besides the watersports center we have a surf shop, where you can buy all the Kitesurfing, Surfing, SUP and Wakeboarding gear you need to get yourself on the water after your course is over. This helps the sport and community to grow since it allows students to engage with Kitesurfing as a lifestyle. We have also set up a delicious café and bar right on the beach, which serves healthy food, smoothies and tropical cocktails. And finally a funky little surf Bed & Breakfast with its own art gallery, lounge and event space. There’s a lot of stuff going on here, with many interesting people around so come by and check it out if you’re around.
I think Kitesurfing is more of a lifestyle than a sport, it’s about engaging with the ocean and the wind, sharing the incredible feeling of floating over the ocean and jumping up high up in the air and being excited about doing it all over again tomorrow. As a community we have a long future ahead of us and I hope it has lots of amazing young Indian Kitesurfers in it. All of us have a responsibility to be smart and safe in the water and continue to help one another. As the community grows it might be time for the Gov’t to regulate some basic requirements like safety gear and certified instructors for schools. What’s really exciting is that the Indian kitesurfing community is growing as people from the cities come down over the weekends and during the holidays. I am really glad to be a part of this scene and I really hope that by forming this connection with the ocean, this community develops a strong motivation to protect it so we can enjoy everything we love about this lifestyle.