Thursday, May 4, 2017

Travel: 5 offbeat water sports around India for adrenaline junkies

Kayak in the Himalayas: Rishikesh
Picture this: You're in a river fringed by mountains on either side, weaving your way through the frothy, gushing waters in a bright orange kayak. The kayak could tip over any moment if you're not too careful, but that makes the ride all the more thrilling. If you want to experience an exciting kayaking adventure, head to Rishikesh, where you can learn to negotiate big rapids and surf waves. The Aquaterra Adventures Kayak School will show you the ropes, from paddling in a straight line, to negotiating Class 1 and 2 rapids, to taking the plunge into the relatively smooth tongue of a scary Class 3 or 4 rapid. The classes are held between September and June, and are four days long, during which you stay at the Aquaterra campsite. While you're there, you can also try your hand at activities such as white water rafting and angling.
AT: Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.
CALL: 011 41636101
COST: Rs 22,000 plus taxes

Dive right in: Andaman Islands
If you've always been fascinated by videos of scuba divers exploring colourful coral reefs in the middle of the ocean, then a PADI Open Water course is your doorway into observing a magical marine world. Lacadives offers classes in the Andamans, and once you complete the course, you will be eligible to dive anywhere in the world. The lessons include a mix of theory, two days of shallow water skills training, equipment orientation and troubleshooting techniques, and four open water dives. Prior knowledge of swimming is a must before signing up.
AT: Andaman Islands.
CALL: 9619690898
COST: Rs 25,000

Surf's up: Mahabalipuram
Take surfing lessons from a fisherman-turned-surfer in a little village on India's East coast. Mumu (whose real name is Mukesh Panjanathan), is the man behind the popular Mumu's Surf School in the temple town of Mahabalipuram. Here, you can sign up for a beginner's course, in which you learn about beach safety, the dos and don'ts of surfing, how to paddle, and how to stand on your board. And voila, you're ready to take on the waves.

You can also rent a surfboard from Mumu's unassuming little surf shop, should you wish to practise your newly acquired skills.
AT: Othavadai Street, Fisherman Colony, Mahabalipuram.
CALL: 9789844191
COST: Rs 900 onwards (one session)

The puck stops here: Pune
In nearby Pune, with Finkick Adventures, you can learn how to play hockey. If you're wondering why it's being touted as a water sport, here's why — it's played underwater. Called Octopush, this version of hockey is played in a swimming pool with six players on each side. Each player dons fins, a mask and snorkel to help them move around and push a puck that's at the bottom of the pool into the goalpost on the oppposing team's side. It will take a few sessions before you can become a pro at the game, so, ideally, sign up for the eight-session package, and drop in on any eight Sundays over three months.
AT: Divisional Sports omplex, near Ishanya Mall, Rahim Shaikh Road, Yerwada, Pune.
CALL: 9158411371
COST: Rs 2,500 (eight sessions), Rs 500 (single session)

Glide along: Goa
Mastering kitesurfing will make for quite the achievement. But, more importantly, it will give you serious bragging rights. After all, it isn't an easy sport. Kitesurfing combines elements of of windsurfing, wakeboarding, surfing, paragliding, skateboarding and gymnastics, to give you one extreme sport. At Vaayu Ocean Adventures, instructor Rahul Malaney will teach you how to catch the wind and ride it, and when you're zipping on the water fast enough, to jump up and stay suspended in the air for as long as possible (a manoeuvre known as hangtime). All this while you're tugging at a 'kite' to control your movements, with a surfboard helping you along.
AT: Vaayu Waterman's Village, Ashwem Beach Road.
CALL: 9850050403
COST: Rs 27,500 (10 sessions)

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