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Ram Mohan Paranjape is a surfer and surf photographer. A closer look at his off-beat journey. 

By Kali Sayak Mukherjee on 22 August 2013 in Redbull

Surfer on the waves, Lens-man on the shore

© Rammohan Photography

By Kali Sayak Mukherjee on 22 August 2013 in Redbull

Ram Mohan Paranjpe is a surfer and surf photographer. A closer look at his off-beat journey.

“Catching your first wave is always a cherishable moment in your life and after that there is no looking back because you get hooked onto surfing” beams Ram Mohan Paranjape. He is a surfer, and moreover he excels at capturing rapturous waves through his lenses. We caught up with him to know how wavy his journey to the top has been.

“Literally speaking, I have no certificates from any top university or school. I dropped out after completing my high school. I realised early that I wasn’t ready to pursue a typical career or a desk job” says Rammohan and adds, “I really wanted to explore myself by doing things which I wanted to do in my life. My actual education has come from extensive travelling, meeting interesting people and of course reading books.”

The Bangalorean spent his early years in Mysore. His introduction to surfing was in the year 2004, when Surfing Swami [a.k.a Jack Hebner] had initiated the Mantra Surf Club. “It was India’s first surf club and I was part of the club at the very beginning with my childhood friends, Kishore and Kiran. I loved surfing when I started, but my greatest passion came when I started shooting surfing.”

Indian surfers at the year's biggest swell

Indian surfers at the year’s biggest swell © Rammohan Photography

Since then Rammohan has worn his passion on his sleeve and scripted a life around surfing on the waves or while capturing them from a distance. While youngsters in India are taking a strong liking to the sport, it was about time that the advances were documented. And that, Rammohan believes, has been a contribution that makes him proud. “My first and foremost contribution has been my surf photography over the years which has captured the growing surf scene in India. My images have put India on the global surf map and it continues to attract a lot of international surfers, magazines and film makers”.

With a sole interest of putting India on the international surf map, Rammohan started collaborating with international surfers to explore more of India’s coastline. This quest, soon found him hanging out with pro-surfer Craig Anderson on the coasts of Lakshadweep. And behold, if you have been following foreign wave riders, Craig Anderson was not the first international surfer here.

“Before Craig Anderson, we had Dave Rastovich, Kalani Robb, Mitch Coleborn visit us, when they came with Taylor Steele to shoot for “Castles in the Sky” surf movie. That’s when I met Dustin Humphrey too, the legendary surf lensman. He’s had a great influence on surf photography in the modern era. It was a great learning experience for me to see how he goes about capturing surf images.”

Surfer's Path at Lakshadweep Islands.

Surfer’s Path at Lakshadweep Islands. © Rammohan Photography

However, the defining moment was in 2011 when Craig Anderson, Daniel Jones, Trevor Gordon came to India and Rammohan took them to the Lakshadweep Islands. “The journey was amazing, they ripped hard and I had great time shooting these pro-surfers in action. The best of all was definitely watching Craig Anderson surfing with such style and elegance which makes him currently one of the top freestyle surfers in the world.”

Rammohan Paranjape is not just a surfer and photographer; he is also a key member in the National Governing Body for Surfing in India. “What that means is that we as an organisation are entitled to help promote and develop the sport in India by following various programmes and guidelines set by ISA. SFI is also responsible to hold national and international surfing events in the country and to bring a certain structure to the sport in India.”

Spice Coast Open- Federation's first event at Kovalam

Spice Coast Open- Federation’s first event at Kovalam © Rammohan Photography

“We work closely with the government, corporate houses and media to make surfing a very popular water sport activity in India and ultimately pick talented Indian surfers to represent India internationally. We have been successful in roping Jonty Rhodes to be our ambassador to promote surfing in India.”

Surfer Chadd Ripping Hard at Lakshadweep Islands

Surfer Chadd Ripping Hard at Lakshadweep Islands © Rammohan Photography

His journey is a testimony to how passion can give wings to what one truly desires to achieve. Having said that, there are many tumultuous tides to tame if Rammohan has to create a clan of surfers in India. He is of course mindful of this and persistent on taking steps in the right direction.

Currently, his team is working on having a dedicated surfing magazine for India, which would feature a lot of stories, articles and photos of the Indian surfing scene.

One can only hope that he moves as mightily towards his dreams, as the waves he conquers.