Surfing Swami (Jack Hebner) - Founder
Surfing Swami (Jack Hebner) is credited as being the original pioneer of surfing in India, having first brought the sport to India’s shores in 1976. In 2002 Swami established Mantra Surf Club near Mangalore, Karnataka. Mantra Surf Club and the ’Surfing Swami have since appeared in over 100 newspapers and magazines worldwide since 2009.
During these years Swami also inspired the founding of the Surfing Federation of India (SFI) with local youth and became their patron, mentor, and coach for the Surf Team India.
In 2014 Surfing Swami singlehandedly began the work of the Surfing Swami Foundation (SSF), funding all its activities personally. As of February 2017, the Surfing Swami Foundation has been officially registered with the government of India and is presently poised to expand the activities of SSF with the help of our Co-Vice Chairmen Paddy Upton & Jonty Rhodes and the Directors Dhananjay Shetty, Kiran Kumar, and Shamanth Kumar.
Paddy Upton - Advisor
Well known in the professional world of cricket, Paddy Upton has exhibited his unique talent for coaching as the mental conditioning coach for the Indian Cricket Team which became No.1 in World Test Rankings and the team which won the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011.
In his spare time, Paddy can be found surfing one of his favorite surf spots in India or in South Africa. As a keen advocate of the sport of surfing, Paddy has paved the way for the growth of surfing in India by introducing surfing to many of India's top professional cricketers. We are honored to have Paddy as a Co-Vice Chairman of the Surfing Swami Foundation.
Jonty Rhodes - Advisor
In the world of cricket and in particular in India Jonty Rhodes needs no introduction, his legendary reputation as a professional cricketer speaks for itself. Since retiring from the field in 2003 Jonty has also become a legend in the arena of coaching such teams as IPL/Mumbai Indians, the South African Nation Cricket Team and the Kenyan Cricket Team.
In 2015 Jonty’s wife Melanie gave birth to their daughter whom they named India Jeanne Rhodes, thus Jonty in now also known as the father of India. We are both proud and honored to have Jonty as a Co-Vice Chairman of the Surfing Swami Foundation.
Rammohan Paranjape - Advisor
"Rammohan Paranjape was one of the earliest pioneers of surfing scene in India almost a decade ago and continues to push the surfing scene ahead in Indian sub-continent, as Vice President of Surfing Federation of India. He has constantly worked towards bridging the gap between surfing nations and worked towards putting India on the global surf map. Ram firmly believes India is one of the last few surfing frontiers on the planet and hopes to see India becoming a major surfing nation in Asia and beyond.
In the last few years, Ram has taken up ocean conversation and beach clean up campaigns as an initiative under the Surfing Swami foundation, created by his mentor Surfing Swami (Jack Hebner) who envisioned the need for conservation of our oceans, marine life, and clean beaches. Ram is also one of the most accomplished photographers and his surfing images have been widely published around the world. His surfing images put India on the international map and opened up various surfing avenues in India."
Shamanth Kumar - Director
Barely able to float or swim, Shamanth Kumar witnessed the vast Ocean and the big waves for the first time at an age of 8, which gave him the goosebumps. That’s when he decided and started his journey to become a professional surfer with one life jacket and a bodyboard under the legendary surfer and godfather for Surfing in India Late. Mr. Jack Hebner (Surfing Swami). Very soon he got his name and is a pioneer in surf coaching in Indian. Only Indian to hold both level 1 and level 2 coaching diploma from International Surfing Association (ISA) & a professional level 3 certified judge, he is also known as India surf Guru.
With over a decade of coaching experience & thousands of enthusiast’s surfers from Bollywood to Cricketers India Surf Guru believes in spreading the joy of surfing to everyone and aims to create a sustainable professional surfing industry in India.
Kiran Kumar - Director
Kiran Kumar is among the first generation surfers of India. Him, his brother Kishore Kumar and Rammohan Paranjape accompanied Surfing Swami during the initial surf expeditions and learnt surfing from Him. Kiran Kumar would soon change his complete lifestyle towards surf and its development. His first surf experience was in 2001, he has since then dedicated a greater part of 2 decades towards surfing, coaching and helping with overall surf development projects.
He has coached several athletes, taught surfing to thousands of students and continues to carry forth the surf stoke.
Gaurav Hegde - Director
Gaurav Hegde is the director of the Foundation. He is also an entrepreneur and an extremely respected person in the region. He came in contact with Surfing Swami and his students several years ago and has been a constant supporter to the cause of surfing and ocean development.
Ravishankar Paranjape - Creative Head
Ravishankar Paranjape is an adventure, travel, and camera enthusiast. He has been in the surf scene for over 14 years and was trained by the Legendary Surfing Swami Himself. He loves cycling, surfing, and visual storytelling via graphic design, photos, or videos. He has been instrumental in all of the visual and design needs of the Foundation and the tech side of things.
He has dedicated his life to surf and adventure activities and hopes to spread the love of adventure.
Nikhil Pratap Singh
Engineer turned adventure junkie Nikhil Pratap Singh founded "MEZO – Re-Engineering today for a Better Tomorrow" in the year 2019 after which he never looked back and has transformed a lot of lives living in remote locations of India through different projects under his banner. A professional mountaineer and All India Scout Trainer, an avid filmmaker, and photographer he has dedicated his life to environmental causes and captures the emotions to bring impact on the lives of people and the Planet. Passionate about automobiles and well versed with off-road driving he has a rich experience of handling experiential drives across the globe.