She couldn’t wait to start surfing and the next day itself, she joined Surf Turf and started training under surfer and stand-up paddler Sekar Pachai. The 24-year-old has come a long way — recently, she won at the Covelong Classic national competition in the women’s category.
Shrishti was studying graphic designing in Coimbatore and used to come to Chennai on weekends or whenever she gets more than two days’ leave. “This was the system untill I finished college. I could practice only during vacations or long holidays. After completing college, I took one year break and focussed only on surfing. Some take surfing as a hobby or a leisure activity. But I wanted to do surfing competitively. It was always my dream to be the best in India. And now after winning at the national championship, I wanted to represent India and hopefully, train at an international level and grow from there,” Shrishti starts the conversation.
Shrishti Selvam (below) in action at Kovalam
In India, some of the best waves are in Covelong, but she wanted to move outside the country, explore and learn a lot more. “Good waves will make you a better surfer. Surfing is embedded in the Australian way of life; so that country would be my final destination. Before that, I wanted to visit Sri Lanka — the waves there are quite similar to Indian waves and then I would like to travel to Bali as well,” she says.
One needs serious financial backing to continue in this sport. Though Shrishti’s parents supported her initially, she didn’t want to bother them much. “I am a graphic designer and have started taking up freelance projects. So, I could support my passion.”
We cannot find many female surfers on our beaches and Shrishti points out the reason for that. “The male-female surfer’s ratio in India is 400:10. Even worldwide, the number of female surfers is less. When I started surfing seven years ago, I was the only female surfer. Nothing didn’t stop me from pursuing my passion. I love this sport and I am happiest when I am in the sea. Luckily, all the boys who surfed with me were extremely supportive and this helped me to improve quickly,” the surfer concludes.