Day 1 Of my SUP trip to India

03 February 2015

INDIA SUP TRIP Day 1

By Paul Hyman

After 30 hours of flying (3 flights and some hanging around in airports) we arrived in Bubundeshawar the state capital of Odisha a little jetlagged.

I was a little apprehensive about India after 10.5 months away.  Would things have moved on and did our work here last year help to make changes?

Paul Hyman Meeting Sanjay

A warm welcome by Sanjay and the crew and a late lunchtime meeting with plenty of Kingfisher lager and Indian food set things off to a good start.   Lots of good ideas floating around and now a feeling we can build on last year’s work.  

The new Government seems to be developing a sense of optimism about economic and political reform.  Newspapers are reporting a 7% GDP growth rate and there is a feeling that corruption and red tape will be reduced (traditionally both big problems for India).

Odisha is a relatively undeveloped state which makes it poorer but more interesting and exotic than the developed states.  Many miles of attractive open countryside and jungle, colourful street life in the towns and villages make this an interesting and compelling place to live and work.  The road down to Puri (where we are stopping over before heading to Konark to help prepare for the India Surf Festival) is full of interesting things going on.

The festival is less than a week away so we will set to work from tomorrow in planning the races, SUP lessons, SUP Ball and more.   This year Sanjay has asked us to lead the SUP parts of ISF (India Surf Festival). We are keen to build on the work of an international collection of people (to which we contributed a team of 5) who laid the foundations for SUP to be part of ISF.

India Surf Festival

After ISF we plan to explore some rivers heading into remote countryside before heading off to the wild and stunning Chilika Lagoon for a longer exploration of the lake by SUP.  

The aim is to see how SUP can be used as a way for visitors to Odisha to travel around waterways in a sustainable way. There is very little tourism here and so there’s lots of scope to help the local economy by bringing in more visitors without damaging the character of the place. 

From last years’ experience here I would perhaps advise you give this a miss if you like everything to be highly organized and efficient as that’s unlikely to happen. But I can strongly recommend Odisha and particularly Chilika to anyone who likes their adventure travel to be original, characterful and a little eccentric.  

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