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Chennai surfer set to make waves at Fiji championship

Meet 26-year-old Sekar Patchai, a fisherman-turned-surfer, who has been chosen to represent the country in the Fiji ISA World Stand Up Paddle and Paddleboard Championship. The Chennai lad will be competing against surfers from 40 countries.

Chennai surfer set to make waves at Fiji championship
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Sekar Patchai has been training hard at sea, often for three hours at a stretch in order to increase

Chennai

Sekar, who started riding the waves at the age of 19, recalled the early days, when he had to wait for hours to get his hands on the surfboard. “Before I took to surfing, fishing was my life. I used to spend my spare time swimming in the ocean. Moorthy, who owns the Covelong Point Surf School, spotted me and gave me lessons in surfing, which was new to me. I still remember the days when five of us would wait for our turn to use the surfboard for the first time. This initial experience taught me the value of the board. It wasn’t easy to get the board,” he recalled. 

Sekar, who is sponsored by the TT group, will be heading to Fiji this month to compete in two disciplines of Stand Up Paddling – SUP Racing Technical and SUP Racing Distance. This will be the first time that Indian surfers will be represented at the Stand Up Paddle World Championship. Sekar’s days are choca-bloc with training schedule. “I need to increase my stamina – so I train for three hours in the sea where I practice my speed runs on alternate days. When I’m not surfing, I am at the gym working out to increase my stamina. The Surfing Federation of India was very supportive,” said this youngster, whose role model is freestyle surfer Dave Rastovich. 

Having won Gold at the National SUP Championship for over 11 times, Sekar has his sights set firmly on bagging the first place at the World Championship. “I want to come first in the championship – nothing else is good enough,” he said, adding that his family and friends are rooting strongly for him. 

Apart from fishing, Sekar now works at the surf school in Covelong. “Earlier, my earnings were unpredictable, as it came only from fishing. But now, I get a steady income through surfing. I’m happy my passion has become my profession,” said this surfer, who also loves cycling and playing kabaddi.

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