indeed India, is not often associated
with surfing, but there is a small wave at Patnem beach and sometimes
The wave is small and inconsistent. There are only ever a handful of
surfers, and it’s warm and cheap.
The wave at best is 3 feet on the face and quite chilled
out. It’s a perfect longboard wave, but a mini-mal for fish would also
give a lot of fun. Christmas is the busiest time in Goa, but even then
you’ll see only a couple (normally novice) surfers. It’s a tropical
environment, the sea is warm, accommodation is in beach huts on the beach and of
course there is cheap and tasty Indian food.
Patnem beach is the most southerly developed beach in
Goa. It has a very laid back atmosphere and consists of about a dozen
restaurants on the beach, most of which have beach huts for rent. The
beach road has a few stores for groceries, Internet access and a travel
agents. Patnem village, just behind the beach is tiny and has a few
guesthouses which are cheaper to rent (about INR500 at Christmas) than the beach
huts (about INR1,000 at Christmas).
Palolem beach, just a 10 minute walk north is essential
the same as Patnem, but more developed. Almost all of the visitors are
backpackers looking for a chilled out time, with occasional late night
Wave: 3 feet at best, 2 feet is more
common. Breaking waves appear about 3 times a week. The rides are
short. It’s a beach break and various peaks appear and move with the
tide. Patnem has the most consistent wave, but sometimes it’s better at
Wind: Because of the tropical heat there
is always onshore wind by 11am. But, it doesn’t affect the wave too
much. Dusk and dawn surfs avoid the winds.
Hazards: A few obvious rocks, the
occasional swimmer and not much else.
Recommended gear: A big volume board
means you’ll catch a lot more waves. Longboard and mini-mal would be ideal, but
obviously a pain to transport around. A fish is the best option. A
modern non-fiberglass board will travel a lot better than a fiberglass
board, which, considering the journey to the beach probably wouldn’t make
it in one piece.
Surfing facilities: Absolutely
none. There are no surf equipment stores or rental places, except for
cheap bodyboards. So bring everything you need – including the board,
spare leash and warm water wax. I guess you could get away without a leash
and use candle wax if you run out. The water is warm enough for board
Accommodation: Beach huts on the beach
cost INR1,000 at Christmas, half at other times. Guesthouses away from the
beach can be as much as half this.
Night life: Palolem has a healthy night
life, but no all night parties. You’ll need to go north Goa for that.
Patnem is quieter than Palolem, but there are regular quiet late night
Other things to do: Fishing trips,
dolphin spotting trips, motorbike or scooter rental and explore the rest of Goa,
kayak rental, small sailing catamaran rental, smoking & drinking!
Getting there: Trains from Mumbai stop
at Margoa station in central Goa. You can change trains and head south to
Canacona station, from where it’s a 3 minute taxi ride to the beaches. Or
you can get a taxi from Margoa to the beaches which costs about INR800.
Getting around: There are loads of tuk
tuks; motorbikes, mopeds and bicycles can be rented cheaply.
Visas: Everyone (except Nepali citizens)
need a visa to visit India. Arrange this before you leave home, rather
than in a neighboring country. Allow 4 weeks for a visa to arrive.
Visas allow stays of 3 or 6 months.
Before and After: To continue
surfing you can easily get to Sri Lanka or Bali in the east. I guess South
Africa is the next surf spot west.