Here at BikeWale, whenever we come across an opportunity for an upcoming motorcycle ride or an adventure trail, we are always raring to go. However, this time when we received an invite by Jawa Yezdi Motorcycles for a recreational festival coupled with activities like surfing, music, and fitness, we were mystified. With puzzled notions of what awaited for the next three days, I packed my riding gear and beachwear to witness the 2022 iteration of the Covelong Classic Festival! Now, with Jawa and Yezdi being a paramount associate, it guaranteed to ride the new range of Yezdi motorcycles. So, read on to know how I splice the motorcycling adventure with the most unusual combination, surfing!
Day 1 - Riding the Wave
Taking a break from the Mumbai monsoons, we landed in warm and pleasant Chennai at around 7:30 am. After savouring the hearty and lip-smacking local delicacies and freshly brewed filter coffee, we made our way to the Yezdi showroom where a bunch of Jawa and Yezdi motorcycles awaited us.
The retro charm, gleaming chrome fuel tank, and the low seat height of the Jawa Standard enticed me and so, I chose it for the first leg, with an odd 30km ride from the showroom to the Kovalam beach, the venue for the Covelong Festival. And this cruiser impressed me with its light weight and nimble handling. Pottering through Chennai’s traffic was effortless and when on the open stretch, the 300cc motor did a commendable job of keeping pace with other folks riding the bigger Yezdis.
As the clan reached the Kovalam beach, we were informed about the surfing lessons arranged for us by the Surf Turf team. Switching to our beachwear and swimming being the only known skill to me, I was confident and excitingly looking forward to learning the new sport. Our tutor, a thorough surfing professional, was also one of the participants in the ongoing surfing competition. Being novices at surfing, we first had a dry run on the beach before we could attempt and take on the rising waves.
The instructions were clear and simple. Carry your surfboard to the water, lay down, look straight, and paddle your way towards a rising wave. As soon as you spot one, jump to your feet sideways on the board, bend your knees, take a fighting stance, and surf the wave. Sounds easy, right? Well, far from it!
As anticipated, I fell. And that continued for seven consecutive futile attempts. While this was easy to try on the beach sand, nearly all of us struggled while implementing it in the waters. Although paddling up to the approaching wave seemed doable, the real task was to learn to balance oneself while riding the wave. And I only learnt this after gulping a few ounces of salty water during all those hasty attempts of standing on the board. However, once you get the technique right, the sense of accomplishment and posing for the shutterbugs indeed felt great. In fact, if you wish to try your hand at surfing and happen to own a Yezdi or Jawa motorcycle, Classic Legends in association with Surf Turf will soon offer surfing lessons across several locations in the country.
Day 2: Beach Adventure
How often have you ridden a bike on sand? Well, I had never tried it until my fellow journo friends proposed we take the motorcycles for a beach exercise the next morning. It was probably the eagerness that made us rise before the sun, kit up, and head to the beach with the bikes. Sure, traversing the Yezdi Adventure through the loose sand was tedious but once on the shore, the experience was sublime!
With barely any experience, I learnt beach riding the hard way. It’s entirely different from riding on the smooth well-paved tarmac. The surface, although slightly hard, is washed frequently by the waves and it’s when the backwash flows towards the sea that you tend to lose grip on the wet sand. While my colleagues were helpful to winch me out every time I buried the rear wheel of the bike, I soon realised that riding on the beach coincides a lot with surfing. It’s about how you lug your body weight, balance the bike (or the board while surfing), and in this case, use the throttle and clutch judiciously.
While we were busy roving the bikes on the beach for quite a few hours, the sun came up and with it the contenders to participate in the National Surfing Championship. To give you a rundown, the two-day competition was held across several categories: men, women, international, and even teenagers under 16years. Each heat session lasted 20 minutes and the competing participants were rated based on the variety of manoeuvres and length of the wave ride.
That’s not all! With surfing being the highlight, this three-day event also hosted some brilliant live gigs, fitness and dance workshops, and food stalls. After the enthralling day, as the sun set and the surfing heats halted for the day, the beach transformed into a different place altogether. With the stage on the beach decked up with vibrant lights and the crowd swaying with the mesmerising tunes of the music bands, the Covelong Classic witnessed its peak turnout on this day. I, however, was drawn to the pop-up stores that offered an array of handicrafts and mouth-watering culinary delights.
Day 3: Back to Basics
On the third day, when we were scheduled to depart by afternoon, we came to know of the off-road ‘Trail Attack’ being organised by Classic Legends. It was an owner engagement program to help the Yezdi motorcyclists better understand their machines and improve their off-road skills. With Rs 2,000 for a good six-hour session that gives all the basic off-road tips, two meals, and a chance to enjoy riding your motorcycle in its true habitat, I was sold.
We reached the venue, ‘The Farm’, got registered, and took a quick bite. We were then instructed on the basic but crucial off-road techniques before we could take our motorcycles around the course. While most of the turnout comprised Yezdi Adventure and Yezdi Scramblers which possess decent off-road capabilities, I rode the cruiser alternative, the Yezdi Roadster. After the initial briefing that included lessons on how to pick your motorcycle, tips on balancing body weight, and encountering different terrains, we set off on our bikes to explore the trail.
Armed with the off-roading tips, the first test was ‘Walking the Motorcycle’. As the name goes, we were asked to slot the motorcycle in the first gear, modulate the clutch with two fingers, and walk the bike, literally. The only hindrance for me during this test was the bar-end mirrors on the Roadster that intruded on almost every turn. The next obstacle was riding over a hump and then through a pit. While the first one was relatively manageable with the newly learnt technique of shifting the body weight, the latter was a bit tricky. However, with Yezdi experts around, guiding with proper techniques and maintaining all safety protocols, it turned out to be a smooth affair. Due to limited time on our hands, we had to rush to the airport soon thereafter.
That said, back at the Kovalam coastal town, the National Surfing Championships had reached its finale and Ajeesh Ali bagged the champion title. Along with the prestigious award, the youngster also won a new Yezdi Scrambler that was customised to carry a full-sized surfboard. How cool is that?!
Not often do we see automakers getting associated with such a unique sport and this offbeat collaboration by Jawa Yezdi Motorcycles will certainly draw copious benefits. The three days we spent at the Kovalam beach attending the Covelong Classic 2022 gave us an opportunity to ride the Yezdi range on different terrains and enjoy recreational activities. Moreover, it also introduced us to the emerging trend of surfing as a sport in India. And now with the basic surfing skills assimilated, I am more than inspired and zealous to get into my beachwear and ride a rising wave the next time I am at a beach. But wait, let me buy a surfboard first!