by Niraj Prabhu

Two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is occupied by waterbodies. Yet, the human activities on land outnumber by a long way those in water! The land is getting crowded with most of it being developed for public infrastructure, housing and recreational purposes. It is high time, the attention shifts and intensifies to make use of the oceans, seas, rivers, back-waters and lakes like never before. This renewed interest, should also work towards conservation and preservation of nature as we depend hugely on the ‘life source’ in every way! If the Ocean health suffers, our ecosystem will go into a sharp decline and the best way to stay alive to the cause is to bank on the waters for business as well as recreation.

With love for a sports lifestyle,  armed with an adventurous attitude and an entrepreneurship goal, I took up a certification course in Kayaking and Life-Saving Techniques (Watersports Operator) at the Dona Paula-based National Institute of Watersports (NIWS) recently.

Fitness is a relative term and the difference between a fit person on ground and that in water, is immense. I learnt this demarcation just a couple of days into the course. I believe that challenges toughen a personality. Face them from within and you get the methodology to deal with the task at hand. I have always trusted my spirit to keep me buoyant in any situation and there I was, dealing with the relentless waves and want of minimum required competency (reflexes slowing aged 47 years), grasping  techniques to learn the new skill and thrill of Kayaking in Arabian Sea (Goan coast). The conditions were not easy as the Full Moon coincided with the course and the spring tide was in full force, the winds had picked up pace too.

Experienced instructor and ex-Defence personnel Sameer Kosbe and Rohan Suvarna, who is India international Stand-up Paddle (SUP) athlete, did an excellent job to provide the group of students with all the practical knowledge right from taking the Kayaks out through the Spilling waves to paddling way beyond into the swells, all the strokes, maneuvers and rescue technique. The classroom sessions were also very informative and engaging.

I faced my fears head-on, got thrown hard onto the shore, toppled in the sweep of the fierce waves and just failed to get the Kayak out on the first day at Sea. You can say, I was all at sea! Some tough words were hurled as the instructors raised the pitch to make the students understand the basics. As I struggled, the never-say-die instinct in me enabled me tame my anger; and made me swallow the urge to retaliate and return much stronger the next day! That’s what we all are made up of, tenacious – a defining characteristic that helps us lead a fulfilling life; and the trick is to survive or dodge the negative sentiment of quitting, which honestly crossed my mind for a split second. My instructors were happy to see me do better the next day and on the last day of the course, I thanked them from the bottom of my heart for firing me up to push myself to the maximum.

I am so thrilled that I could acquire a new skill that was so hard due to the Sea conditions (flat-water Kayaking is easier) and upgrade myself to being a water-fit person too! Moreover to my immense pleasure, was the realisation that NIWS is providing top-notch education and practical knowledge of watersports with an eye on the Tourism industry. The highly-experienced and proficient instructors under the guidance of former Defence personnel and training manager Ranjeet Singh, work their hearts out to make the students, who turn up from all over the country, understand the field holistically.

Being the host state and a tourist paradise, we Goans can draw tremendous benefit by taking courses at NIWS, which has 28 certifications in all, as there are plenty of opportunities for business and jobs to grab. 


  1. Beautifully written whole experience Neeraj 👌 feels like I’m reliving those 10 days of training. Motivated by seeing your perseverance during training. Whatever It Takes!!🤝


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