Surfing Swami - Godfather of Indian Surfing in India
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 through his travels and by establishing India's first surf club - Mantra Surf Club in 2004 near Mangalore, Karnataka.
Swami as a teenager was one of the first generation surfers back in Jacksonville Beach, Florida in the early 60's. Back in the old days, Swami was a member of North Florida's first surf club, Oceanside, and was among the pioneers of surfing on the East Coast of the United States.
After establishing Mantra Surf Club formally in 2004, Swami and his students who were among the first generation surfers in India began to pioneer the sport in India through many innovative ways. A comprehensive website [current Surfing India website] was launched in 2005 with all the info and details for traveling surfers on where to surf, rent, and stay thus pioneering the early surf tourism in the country. In 2007, Mantra Surf Club began to teach surfing for anyone who was interested in learning to surf, thus becoming the first surf school in the country.
Under the guidance and vision of Surfing Swami, various other initiatives began i.e Importing top surfboard equipment into the country, A National Governing Body of Surfing was formed by establishing Surfing Federation of India in 2011 thus facilitating the development and growth of surfing in India under Swami's guidance.
Swami and team discovered world-class surf breaks and newer surf locations around the subcontinent of India which resulted in the world recognizing India as a new surfing frontier. Mantra Surf Club collaborated with various renowned surf filmmakers and surf magazines in the world which put India on the global surf map.
During the same time, Surfing Swami and Mantra Surf Club appeared in over 300 newspapers and magazines around the world from Washington Post, BBC, Times of India, Der Spiegel, Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveller, Redbull, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Economic Times and number of TV Shows across India, thus popularising the sport of surfing and paving way for surfing culture in India.
In 2014 Surfing Swami single-handedly began the work of the Surfing Swami Foundation [SSF], funding all its activities personally. As of 2020, Surfing Swami Foundation is an established nonprofit and non-sectarian organization dedicated to helping teach surfing and environmental awareness to society irrespective of caste, class, gender and age.
Inspired by Surfing Swami, his life, journey and teachings the members of Mantra Surf Club will forever remain grateful for his efforts in promoting surfing, community living and high standards of high thinking and simple living.