The ISA caught up with India’s most inspiring 19-year-old SUP racer while on a mission to share the sport she loves.
At just sixteen years of age India’s Tanvi Jagadish burst onto the global StandUp Paddle (SUP) scene. She entered the 2016 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship in Fiji not in search of Gold Medals, but to announce to the world that Indians now too were taking part in one of the world’s newest, fastest growing water sports.
Three years later, Tanvi has emerged as one of the young, inspired leaders driving the growth and development of the sport in India. Tanvi has discovered the power of SUP to make positive social change and has used it to breakdown gender barriers that prevent women from getting involved in sport, especially ocean sports.
As a young woman who embodies the ISA vision — to make the world a better place through surfing — the ISA has been keeping in contact with Tanvi over the years. In 2017, Tanvi returned to represent her nation on the international stage at the ISA Worlds in Denmark, the same year that the ISA selected her as a scholarship ambassador for her profound dedication to her education and surfing.
Last we spoke with Tanvi in 2019, she was embarking on a journey to achieve an ambitious goal she and her friend Rohan had set: to bring SUP to all 29 states of India.
Eager to get an update on their progress and the state of StandUp Paddle in India, it was time to reconnect with this accomplished, young SUP star and get an on-the-ground report of her experience sharing the sport she loves with other Indians. While her grand plan may have hit a few snags, her devotion to helping others learn to SUP remains as strong as ever.
ISA: The last we heard from you was July 2019 when you were embarking on a journey to bring SUP to all 29 states of India, what can you update us about your trip? How is your progress?
It has been great! But we couldn’t manage to get enough SUPs for the entire 29-states tour. We have covered four states so far: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. They all went epic! All the states had a very good response and we had so much fun teaching everyone about SUP.
ISA: What has been the most surprising aspect of traveling around India to teach SUP?
First we were very curious to see how everyone would respond to this new sport, but we had everyone coming out of the water with big smiles. To see everyone smile and be confident in the water is the best gift a teacher can receive.
ISA: You told us all of the challenges that you would face on your trip beforehand, which has proved to be the most difficult to overcome?
The most challenging part of the trip was sponsorship, to get SUP boards and to ship them to India. We conducted the All India SUP tour in these 4 states with no sponsorship and very few SUP boards (like 2-3).
We reached out to many brands and we didn’t get any response! And shipping the boards to India was very expensive.
Then comes the most fun and difficult part of SUP traveling: the challenge of carrying the boards around! We travelled with the public transportation in India, but we generally had a super good response to the oversized boards. People were very understanding.
ISA: What have you learned about your country? About Stand Up Paddle? About yourself?
India has so many beautiful places to practice SUP — oceans, lakes, rivers and huge ponds! And especially my home town Malpe Beach. I dream to see an international race happen here one day and give everyone an opportunity to witness an international SUP race.
As far as Stand Up Paddle, I would say it is such a wonderful sport where it is a combination of strengthening and enjoying the peace of the ocean. It has surely made me so many incredible students.
About myself: I was so happy to spend my rehab teaching SUP and spreading the knowledge of SUP, which I have learnt in so many years. I love SUP more and more.
ISA: Tell us about a particularly rewarding experience on your journey.
We had the best SUP Camp in Maharashtra at the Mumbai Surf Club. We had the highest number of students ever. We would like to thank Mumbai Surf Club for so much support! Every session with students was beautiful and on the last day we saw dolphins, which is a huge blessing I believe.
ISA: What legacy do you see your trip leaving behind in India for those that follow in your footsteps?
SUP is a sport which can be done anywhere and by anyone.
I also see more people hosting SUP Camps like us at different places and for sure SUP as a sport is growing in India. Especially back in our hometown the kids are the heart of the SUP school. Their passion and dedication makes us feel so happy.
ISA: What does the future hold? Have your goals and plans changed, or are they still the same?
The goals of the All India SUP tour are a little modified and well planned this time with the Indian climate and weather patterns. We still host many camps in and around my hometown.
Opening our own SUP and Surf School was such a big dream come true for me and my best friend Rohan. I dream of creating a strong SUP racing team in our home town, training with them and competing!
ISA: Any message that you would like to send to our followers?
Thank you so much to everyone following this journey and sending us good wishes.
I also take this opportunity to invite everyone to India, to visit our new school for SUP Yoga, Surf and SUP named Kadal.
And if anyone would like to donate Surf and SUP boards will be so grateful, we are in so much need.
Thank you so much once again
The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men's and Women's World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; and World StandUp Paddle (SUP, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.
ISA membership includes the surfing National Federations of 108 countries on five continents. The ISA is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (ARG). The Executive Committee includes four Vice-Presidents Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL), Athletes' Commission Chair Justine Dupont (FRA), Regular Members Atsushi Sakai (JPN) and Jean Luc Arassus (FRA) and ISA Executive Director Robert Fasulo as Ex-officio Member.
Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California (USA).
For more information, please visit www.isasurf.org