Residents in the low lying Ram Nagar area in Chennai were surprised on Thursday seeing a surfer paddle on waist deep waters on their streets. Appu a Surf Coach was not practicing surfing but was carrying a thermocol box with vegetables on the paddle board to be delivered to a customer.
As pockets of Chennai got flooded, the Bengaluru based vegetable and fruit supply start-up Gourmet Garden hit upon this idea to reach out to it’s customers to keep up it’s delivery commitment, while few other platforms found it difficult to serve these areas as motorbikes of delivery persons couldn’t reach these locations; nor all could wade through waters.
Anjali George, a marketing professional in the inundated Velacherry neighbourhood was surprised. She told tellMyStory.in “I am impressed at their initiative to stick to the delivery schedule. I live on the first floor and I didn’t know this at that time, only later I understood seeing on insta”. She added “There was waist deep water”.
Co-founder Vishal Narayanaswamy, a surfer himself and an aviator turned entrepreneur, roped in Ocean Delight Surf School, in Chennai so their team could help paddle consignments. He says “Drones can’t be deployed in this condition. I love surfing. I learnt 10 years ago. In 2015 we used stand up paddle boards to rescue people and this time its not that serious and we thought we will use it to deliver essentials”.
Appu, Surf Coach, who turned into a ‘delivery man’, says, “It’s a collaboration for a good cause. Its very dangerous to walk in this condition and its easier to deliver using a stand up paddle”. He added “I also want to promote surfing this way”.
So far, the team has delivered to more than 100 customers in areas around Velachery, traditional inundation hotspots, as they have been built largely on Lake beds. The start-up says it does not charge any additional service fee though it involves deployment of additional resources.
On Sunday, the 7th, Chennai received 21cm rain till 8:30 am, the highest since the 2015 floods. In the last week alone, the city received more than 50 cm rain and in October, Chennai received more than double the average rainfall.