It’s a sad, sad fact, but a lot of the beauty of Goa is gone, and it’s all our fault. Granted, there’s some magic still left there, but honestly, the only way to preserve that is to leave it alone (Ashwem, I’m looking at you). There are, however, other options in the country itself to enjoy a bit of surf and a whole lot of sand. Puri, Odisha, and more specifically, the India Surf Festival (November 12-14) at Konark, is a small slice of paradise in the unlikeliest of places, so if you like the beach, and you like good vibes and you freakin’ love the water, head down!

Here’s why.

1. You get to ‘walk on water’, in a sense

This ain’t no Second Coming, but the festival does have stand up paddling, or SUP, which is honestly one of the most effective ways to de-stress this side of a beer. Stand up paddle boarding is an offshoot of surfing where you stand and use a paddle to propel yourself on the water. If that doesn’t appeal to your higher senses, I’m sorry, but you’re plain boring.

2. There’ll be music all around…

The festival is, at the end of the day, earthy and organic, and the music here is a reflection of that. There’ll be artists like Sitarsonic, Thaalavattam and more playing a variety of genres. There’s not much that can surpass the feeling of live music on the beach. Except maybe a sacred bonfire in the night with jam sessions leaning in to the wee hours!

3. As well as a whole lot of art

There’ll be art installations, art performances, projection mapping, the whole shebang. Basically, just things that go perfectly with the vibe of the place – free, environmentally friendly and beautiful.

4. There’s also designated skateboarding and longboarding zones

Itching for a bit of extreme sports but don’t feel like getting into the water for some reason? Try your hand at a bit of skateboarding, it’s a fucking rush!

5. The place is a haven for photographers

If you have a penchant for the lens, this fest is a godsend. You’re guaranteed at least a few million great shots just of the surroundings, and they’ll also have workshops at the fest itself.

6. There’s also going to be a Surf Cup

Asian Surfing Championship is going to be sanctioning The ISF Surf Cup which will be held from the 12th – 14th of November. Watch the pros ride the waves and get gnarly (or whatever it is the kids are calling it these days).

7. It’s certainly not just for dudes

There’s an overarching theme of freedom and equality running through this fest, and it’s brought home by Girl Power. This ‘action based celebration’ advocates the worldwide abolition of propaganda about women being weaker in any format of life.

Sun, sand and surf. That’s the goddamn dream right there, brought to sweet, glorious reality. I, for one, can’t wait!

Pictures by Sabyasachi Jana and Gyaltsan Wangdi.