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Surfers of India - Aalap Kulkarni, 21yrs, Pune

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

Aalap Kulkarni is a Business Development Professional based out of Pune. Aalap started surfing when he was working in Bombay. Earlier Aalap used to think that is was a mountain person, but now he's not so sure anymore. Aalap loves how surfing helps him find his mental and physical balance.

AP Quick 5-

1. The first place you surfed - Mumbai Surf Club

2. Your go-to surf place in India - Mumbai Surf Club

3. Your bucket list of surfing areas in the world - Pipeline, Hawaii (to do) & Nazare, Portugal (to just see)

4. Your favorite surfing Instagram account - @redbull_surfing, @nathan_florence, @italoferreira

5. Any good books/ movies on surfing -

When it comes to movies it is mostly short films and documentaries on YouTube and Redbull TV. Although I have a book which I am yet to start reading which has won a Pulitzer, Barbarian Days- a surfing life by William Finnegan. I think I'll really enjoy it by what I've read about the book.

AP: What got you first interested in surfing?

Aalap: Surfing is a sport that is fairly uncommon in our country. Trying something absolutely new that is not done by a lot of people and the fascination I've had for the sport created through portrayal of it in pop culture.

AP: How did you start off? Your first experience.

Aalap: I had tagged along with a friend who is an avid surfer to the surf school that she often went to and fell in love with it right away. As it was my first time learning any sea/ocean related sport, I found just the playground to be absolutely charming.

Even though I caught only a few waves, just playing around and floating on the board was enjoyable. Sitting on the surfboard admiring vastness of the ocean was a captivating experience. The idea and hope of gliding across with the waves is why I kept trying and had a terrific time.

AP: Who do you usually go surfing with?

Aalap: Friends/ colleagues. Although, only the first time did I go for the company. Then it was always about the surf rather than the people I was with. Now mostly I go alone.

AP: What changed for you after you started surfing?

Aalap: The first few times when I went surfing, I could actually experience my posture getting better. Surfing is a great exercise for the back which was much needed in my case.

It helped me understand my body better and make me find both mental and physical balance. Respect for the nature definitely increased. It just made me more humble, as you have zero control over the ocean and waves, You just have to make the best of what you've been offered.

My love for the beaches and oceans increased. I was always a mountain guy which I am not sure of anymore. I had something to look forward to through the week. As the only practice you can do beyond actually being in the water is skateboarding, so it is also motivating me to take it up. (Although the motivation is yet to be acted upon).

AP: What are some of your favourite moments while surfing?

Aalap: The beauty of the sport is that you are actually on the wave only for about 10-20 seconds but every bit of that short duration is a feeling of pure joy. The first time I caught a green wave. The first time the lead instructor at the school said I am doing well.

As mentioned above, just sitting and contemplating on your surf board far from the shore.

AP: Till when in the future do you see yourself surfing?

Aalap: Till I can physically.

AP: What would be some advice you’d give someone who’s just starting out?

Aalap: Start as soon as possible, our country has a vast coastline so most of the potential this sport has is yet untapped. As a wise friend once said, this is probably the next big sport in India.

And it's a rare sport where your height, weight or other physical attributes won't stop you from having a good time. Just riding those waves lying on your surfboard is as fun if not more.


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