Imagine the blue expanse of water before you, meeting the azure sky. With the wind in your hair, you are ready to ride the waves and channel the power of nature into an adrenaline pumping sport. Strapped to your board, harnessed to a looming, colourful kite, you are ready to take the plunge.
And then, you wait…
For Arjun Motha, professional boarder and adventure enthusiast, this waiting game has defined the biggest passion of his life — Kiteboarding.
Kiteboarding combines the best of surfing and paragliding in a sport. You ride the waves on a board that’s powered by a kite and at the mercy of winds. Speed, distance, skills, the size of kite, and the direction of winds — they all create the perfect conditions for kiteboarding. For Motha this extreme sport involves the correct balance of technical skill, courage, balance along with a good dose of luck.
“Kite boarding is technical, just like sailing,” says Motha as he hops into the Mercedes-Benz GLC to chase the rush. “To learn how to admire it, you have to know how to control power.”
How It All Started
As a young boy, Arjun was obsessed with kites and would pester his mother for a new one every time she went out shopping. With a fancy collection of new and worn kites, he would go to the local beach where the winds were strong, and fly them all day.
In 2012, the athlete chanced upon kiteboarding in Spain for the very first time. Driven by curiosity, Arjun soon discovered Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, to be the best destination for kiteboarding in India.
With the subcontinent’s vast coastlines and natural endowments, India has prime conditions for the sport. The varying wind cycles and water bodies with attractive landscapes, flora and fauna, attract kite boarders from across the world. When we went searching, we found a vibrant kiteboarding scene in places ranging from Gujrat to Tamil Nadu.
An Experience To Strive For
Having kite-boarded in destinations across the world, Arjun is part of several close-knit international kite boarding groups. He has further participated in Indian competitions that have attracted people from as far away as Sri Lanka, Costa Rica and France. He has also participated in kiteboarding workshops and mini expeditions all over the world.
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While Sri Lanka is internationally popular for kiteboarding, he says India has the exact same conditions that remain untapped and unexplored even today. With the help of the tourism ministry and the sports development authority, Arjun aims to bring global professionals and teams such as members of the International Kite boarding Organisation to India.
Assessing a major scope of this sport in India, Arjun encourages anyone remotely fascinated with an adventure to try out kiteboarding.
“My first main ride was magical for me,” he said. “I didn’t know which direction I was being guided by the winds, but it felt incredible flying over water so fast,’ he gushes. “You must try it,” he further implores.
Motha has paid heed to his calling and today trains others to follow in his footsteps. Today, Arjun Motha is the founder of Aqua Outback, an adventure travel company based out of Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, that promotes kayaking, kiteboarding, snorkelling as true Coromandel experiences.
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Jehan Driver, a senior face on the Indian kiteboarding scene, is another such of the tribe.
The adventurist runs Quest Expeditions, a company that brings patrons on awe-inspiring journeys and across authentic experiences. Jehan who is one of India’s only kite-surfing instructors hails from Mumbai, but has become synonymous with Kathadi – an area known for its pristine beaches and unparalleled beauty. His brainchild Quest Expeditions today promotes experiences such as kitesurfing holidays, daily sail expeditions, and guided kayak trips across the region.
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A proponent of having fun with responsibility, he assures novices to be unafraid and give kiteboarding a shot. The sport being environmentally friendly is an added bonus for the Indian seas.
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