Kiran Kumar, Captain, Indian Surf Team
By Kalisayak Mukherjee on 3 September 2013 in Redbull
Kiran Kumar Surfing 15 foot plus in Mangalore Port © Rammohan Photography
The journey of a web designer, from the web to riding the waves along the coastlines of India.
25-year-old Kiran Kumar is the captain of the Indian surf team. Kiran was merely 12 years old when he joined the Surfing ashram in Mulki, Karnataka. Before the ashram, Kiran used to swim a lot and compete in local competitions and take part in a few state-level competitions. “Surfing Swami (Jack Hebner) introduced surfing to us. It was enthralling to us and blew our mind away! We rented a place in Mahabalipuram for two years, surfed local breaks and explored lots of spots for surfing. After two years of surfing, we went on to exploring more surfing spots in India. We started our surf exploration in the year 2002 from Chennai to Kanyakumari and from Kanyakumari all the way up till Goa. We found lots of amazing surfing spots in this exploration until 2004. After traveling for two years Swami thought of having a Surfing Ashram in Karnataka and settling down. We started that in 2004 and formed a surfing club called Mantra Surf Club (India's first surf club) and my brother and I went on to starting Ashram Surf Retreat, India Surf Shop, India Surf Tours and Surfing Federation of India” says Kiran.
At Spice Coast Open. © Rammohan Photography
But all was not hunky-dory for Kiran when he started riding waves! “There were no surfboards in those days in India when I started out surfing in the year 2000. Back in those days having your own board was a surfer’s dream.” He has ridden a long way since then and it has mostly been without hiccups. He has scaled waves, scripted stories on them and each time, set his eyes on something higher. After these many years, the hunger for more remains insatiable “Well, many times I have heard from friends and Surfing Swami that getting barrelled is the ultimate of surfing! When I caught my first proper barrel in Lakshadweep I clearly remember that catching barrels is all I wanted to do.”
Cruising in Lakshadweep Islands. © Rammohan Photography
“I have surfed pretty much all the breaks in India starting from reef breaks, short breaks, point breaks. I surfed in Lakshadweep Islands, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Goa and in many other different countries like Bali, Seychelles Islands.”
Heading for a barrel in Lakshadweep
Kiran is also a web-designer by profession but is now tilting towards investing all his time and energy for surfing. His next milestone is to take the Indian Surf Team to compete in the International Surfing Association’s (ISA) competitions. Hopefully, he’ll get sponsored to surf and travel and do nothing else.
Heading for a barrel in Nicobar Island. © Rammohan Photography
Above and beyond everything, Kiran Kumar’s passion lies in riding the growing wave of Surfing in India and making a difference to the scene to the best of his abilities.