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Long-Distance Kayaking? This Bihar Engineer Will Take You On Unique Expeditions!

After covering the waters near Karnataka, Sushant wants to travel down the coast of India, till Gujarat!

Are you one of those who anticipate the weekend only to sleep it off? Do you regret Sunday evening with the thought that you wasted two precious days, before the week’s grind starts?

Well, many of us live for the weekend, and even though returning to work on Monday is a staple, we want a small window where we can enjoy to the fullest, before getting back to our jobs. Now, you can stop making excuses for your weekend lethargy, and head to Mulki, in Karnataka, and row a kayak down the coastline, torching calories, taking in the lovely view, and being outdoors for a change! All thanks to this start-up that will help you paddle your blues away.

27-year old Sushant, an alumnus of the NMAM Institute of Technology in Karkala, Karnataka, was searching for a place to surf. At the time, he was still a college student, and surfing packages around the country were quite steep. He decided to let his course get over, and get a job to fund his surfing urges.

Well, fast forward to a few months, when Sushant was an employee in an organisation, had gathered enough money to fund a surf lesson. That is when he stumbled upon the concept of kayaking. Things then took an unexpected turn, and we, at The Better India, spoke to Sushant, to chalk out his highly interesting journey.

Sushant decided to explore the idea of kayaking in Karnataka. Image Credit: Kayakboy
Sushant decided to explore the idea of kayaking in Karnataka. Image Credit: Kayakboy

“I was lucky to get a work-from-home job, which allowed me to go to Mulki, around 350 km from Bengaluru. I had purchased a kayak for myself–a sit-on-top recreational model,” says Sushant, speaking of his early days, testing the water with a kayak.

Sushant had, as mentioned earlier, quit his desk-job, and had bagged a flexible role that allowed him to be work remotely. He chose to move to Mangaluru, specifically Mulki. While he was searching for a surfboard online, he came across a surf kayak. He bought it and then started searching the internet for videos on kayaking.

Sushant decided to move to Mulki, in Mangaluru, Karnataka in order to follow his passion. Image Credit: Kayakboy
Sushant decided to move to Mulki, in Mangaluru, Karnataka in order to follow his passion. Image Credit: Kayakboy

“It is relatively easy because it is a sit-on-top kayak, one meant for recreation,” says Sushant, adding that the basic techniques will take around 10-15 minutes to pick up. He found the experience fun and liberating and the activity, addictive.

It was the river Shambhavi that became Sushant’s preferred area of practice. It was here that he learnt how to paddle. Beginning with 2-3 kilometres, he slowly increased his distances, improving his endurance as well.

“After kayaking for a few weeks, I felt confident enough to go for a long, solo trip. So, I decided to find the start of the Shambhavi river,” Sushant recalls.

Kayaking is fun, and Sushant decided to explore the beauty of Karnataka with his kayak. Image Credit: Kayakboy
Kayaking is fun, and Sushant decided to explore the beauty of Karnataka with his kayak. Image Credit: Kayakboy

Well, the initial practice and hard work paid off. Sushant recently completed an 8-day expedition. He embarked on his solo journey from Buddha Beach in Karwar on April 15th to Mulki, on May 3rd. He also spent time exploring the beaches across coastal Karnataka.

Sushant, driven by his passion, launched Kayakboy, a start-up in Mulki, near Mangaluru. The company offers long-distance kayaking experiences. The programme is very popular among people from Bengaluru, who travel to Mulki during the weekends. The expedition usually lasts for two days–from the Shambhavi river to the Palimar village. People kayak for around 12 km, spend the night at the campsite, and return the next day, by noon.

Sushant, in love with kayaking, recently travelled to Gokarna, and rented a kayak, covering five beaches in around 6 hours.

Sushant travelled all the way to Gokarna, Karnataka, to kayak there. Image Credit: Kayakboy
Sushant travelled all the way to Gokarna, Karnataka, to kayak there. Image Credit: Kayakboy

“The beauty of the place was impressive. That prompted me to explore more beaches, the prime reason for taking up the expedition,” says Sushant.

During the expedition, he covered around two beaches a day, an average distance of 20 km, which sometimes crept up to 35 km.

Sushant would kayak for around 20 km a day, in the waters in and around Karnataka. Image Credit: Kayakboy
Sushant would kayak for around 20 km a day, in the waters in and around Karnataka. Image Credit: Kayakboy

Sushant rises early, with his day beginning at 6 a.m. He paddles into the sea and continues to do so until evening. Through the journey, he keeps himself fuelled with protein bars, apples and dry fruits. By evening, Sushant looks for empty beaches, where he can spend the night. If he finds a restaurant, he eats there, or cooks himself, with the stove, rice and dal that he carries.

The Bhatkal cyclone forced Sushant to take a week off, after which he returned to a calm sea, and continued his journey.

Sushant became familiar with the kayak, widened his horizons, and hopes to undertake an all-India expedition someday that would start from Gujarat, covering the east and the west coasts of the country.

Not just Karnataka, Sushant wants to travel down India's coastline. Image Credit: Kayakboy
Not just Karnataka, Sushant wants to travel down India’s coastline. Image Credit: Kayakboy

“I use a rigid kayak,” Sushant says, emphasising that inflatable ones are good for people who kayak twice in six months. The plastic kayaks are way more durable, and can withstand much more, he says.

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Whether in the river or in the sea, kayaking is not as simple as it sounds. You need a reasonable amount of coordination and strength, to row effectively. Sushant has picked up the finer points of kayaking, and through Kayakboy, plans to bring this pleasurable experience to more people who are itching to get away from mundane city life.

All Images Credit: Kayakboy

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

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