The theme for this year's World Ocean Day is "Gender and the ocean". Vilassini Sundar, a swimmer turned surfer and stand-up-paddler who speaks about her love for the ocean.
We asked Vilassini, "What does World Ocean's day mean to you?"
She replied, "It is like celebrating Mother's day! I have no identity without her."
Vilassini Sundar, a 23-year-old surfing champion speaks about her journey from being a national level swimming champion to one of India's top surfing athletes. She trains at Covelong point at Kovalam, Tamil Nadu. She said, "In this village, none of the girls are allowed to swim. It is a taboo for girls to enter the water."
Often, Vilassini participates in ocean clean-up drives. Recently, she participated in a Stand-up-paddle rally conducted by the Tamil Nadu Fisheries Department and Coastal Security Group on June 1. Participants brought back nearly 5kg of plastics in a 6km stretch between Marina and Elliot's beaches in Chennai. Addressing the gender inequality in water sports, Vilassini said, "Fellow male surfers from Kovalam village tell me they would be different from their parents and that they wouldn't stop their girls from pursuing their dreams."