This award winning international level Kayaking champion will be kayaking solo from Mumbai to Goa, all for charity. Know more about the sport from the expert himself. Meet Kaustubh Khade and learn how he got into this relatively unknown sport.
Kaustubh Khade went on a casual trip to Goa, and like any other tourist, he tried out some water sports. Little did he know that one simple kayaking trip will make him fall in love with the sport so much that he will take it up as his career and win medals at an international level.
After Khade returned from his Goa trip back to Mumbai, this product manager took a sabbatical from work and started concentrating on the sport full time.
“When I did Kayaking for the first time Goa, I fell in love with it. I took the Kayak very far and saw such amazing things in the sea. It was a great experience,” he recalls.
Now Khade has been Kayaking for five years and has many accomplishments to his name including having represented India in two Asian Championships, finishing 5th at the Asian Sea Kayaking Championship for solo kayaking and winning two silver and one bronze medal at the Asian Dragon Boat Championship.
“It is like a passion now. I travel 35 kms one way for training. The couple of hours that I spend in water are amazing. If you just go a few kilometres ahead in the sea, you get to see beautiful dolphins, big fishes jumping in the water and so many other amazing things. It makes me feel privileged to be at places where not everybody can go,” he says.
When it comes to Kayaking as a sport in India, it is still very uncommon and not many people take it up. And Khade believes that it is the fear of water and lack of awareness that stops people from pursuing this sport.
“The challenge is to get people on the water. They are scared of it. Also not many people know that Kayaking too is a mainstream sport – just because it is on water does not make it any different,” he says.
“The first step to follow in case you want to start Kayaking is to just go out and experience it yourself. That is how it worked for me,” he adds.
Kayaking being still a lesser known sport, there are very few opportunities where interested people can actually take it up seriously. To this, Khade says: “India has 7,500 kms of coastal area. There is so much water; if we really want to do it there is nothing missing. You find kayaks on all the major seas and coastal lines.”
You can buy a kayak yourself which costs around Rs.35,000. “It is a one-time investment as the kayak lasts for a very long time. Also, four to five people can share the cost and use it because one person can only practice for a couple of hours in a day. So this way it does not work out very costly,” he says.
Khade also talks about the technique which requires full body strength and coordination. “Most of the people just use their arms strength which is the wrong way. This way they get tired very soon and their body starts aching too. Use full body strength and you will be able to run the kayak more smoothly,” he suggests.
As he talks about opportunities in the sport, Khade remembers an incident which he can never forget. He was on one of his trips on the sea. When he moved further in the sea, he saw the most amazing sight of dolphins doing high back flips right in front of his Kayak. “These were the kind of flips we only see on TV or at the water parks. I had never seen something like that in the wild. It was breathtaking,” he says.
And if you want to experience the same, Khade believes that you have to break the inhibitions and explore it yourself. “Don’t be scared. You have a life jacket that will keep you safe and floating for many hours. There is nothing to be afraid of,” he says.
Khade wants to take his passion of Kayaking to the next level and do solo Kayaking on the entire 7,500 km coastline of India. “I think kayaking has a good future in india as many people are now looking for alternative sports,” he says.
Khade will soon be Kayaking solo from Mumbai to Goa, an expedition of 500 kms, to raise funds for Magic Bus, an NGO which helps underprivileged children break out of the poverty cycle using sports and outdoor activities.
“I chose to support Magic Bus because I attended one of their sessions and was amazed at the kind of energy they brought into the lives of the kids,” he says. Read more about Magic Bus here.
He has started a campaign on crowdfunding platform Ketto to raise funds for the same. You can support his cause by donating here. “Your support of just Rs. 1500 can get a child on the MagicBus programme and out of poverty,” he concludes.
Watch this amazing video on Magic Bus –