Santaria Surf, A Cuban Surf Story.
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Imagine 30 days in Cuba with no swell and a heat even too hot for the devil…    Eduardo Valdes, President of the Cuban Surfriders Association leaves me on the porch of his house in the suburb of Playa to take a phone call. It’s 4.30pm on a boiling hot summer afternoon in Havana and I’ve been stuck here now for nearly a month. The days are unbelievably sweltering, the nights even worse; muggy and sticky beyond belief. You don’t get used to this kind of heat. You only learn to deal with it. Before the trip, Ed warned me not to come to Cuba in summer, they say not even the devil would visit during summer. I never listened, but every minute I spend in this heat I wish I’d heeded his advice. The power has been out all day around the neighbourhood because of the heat. It’s not unusual. Cuba’s electrical grid struggles to supply the people.   As I wait for Ed to finish the phone call, a few local surfers gather on his porch, as do some neighbours. Everyone’s talking about the power outage; they are over it. No-one slept last night since there has been no electricity since then. You can’t survive a night here without air-conditioning. Cubans speak fast and I lose any hope of understanding what is creating the bursts of laughter among them. Despite the language barrier, I struggle to imagine leaving this hell I have grown to love with all its […]

Surfing with the Enemy…
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Surfing With The Enemy is a documentary about a small group of surfers from Havana struggling to establish a niche for their sport in Cuba’s restrictive society. Guided by Eduardo Valdes, one of the country’s only shapers and the founder of the Havana Surf Association, two filmmakers from Venice Beach travel across the island to the notorious Guantanamo province, home to the country’s best waves. Searching for surf along this controversial coast, they discover a forbidden paradise just miles from the American border, and learn what it means to be a surfer and a citizen of modern-day Cuba. The film is narrated by actor Lance Henriksen (Aliens, The X Files), produced by Venice the Menace and presented by Polaris Global Media.

silence is golden… CIA VS Cuba’s SURFERS
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The story of CIA-backed Freedom House and its attempt to smuggle illegal satellite dishes into Cuba disguised as surfboards/bodyboards has again been revisited. This time by blogger Tracey Eaton in Havana Times. However, in the interview both Barry Fink and Robert Guerra declined to give details. Check out the story at http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=93369  Since Fink and Guerra have decided not to comment about the incident that occurred in 2008, we thought we’d  fill in a few blanks to help them remember. Fink entered Cuba with the intention of filming a documentary about local surfers. He brought with him 12 surfboards into Havana, surfboard accessories, tools for board shaping, plus filming equipment. While Fink and the Cuban surfers travelled around doing the odd bit of filming, during this period Fink also spent a lot of time splitting up technical items he had with him and dropping off packages in odd locations – such as in bushes and under bridges etc. The original Granma newspaper article states that a black bag which was to be dropped off under a bridge was not found at its location. The intended recipient was Cuban electronics technician Dalexi González Madruga. The reason the package was not found by Madruga was because when Havana’s surfers realised what was going on, they dumped the black bag in a neighbourhood rubbish bin. Perhaps silence isn’t so golden after all, but the truth undeniably is. Photos : Havana Times

Like the Revolution…some things never die
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Like the Revolution…Some things never die. “I will always remember the drive from the airport to Havana. The cars passing by, the people dancing in the streets, the Che billboards, and all this in the sunset light”  – Ozzie Wright (Sipping Jetstreams) On leaving Cuba, Ozzie left his board with the Cuban surfers. Many years have passed and the board still lives on in Havana. Now stored in Cuba’s national aquarium it is used by local kids who do not have boards of their own to surf.

“Hold a true friend with both hands.”
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Chantelle “Channy” McCoy is a Sydney Northern Beaches surfer, graphic artist and freak, who is about to give her heart and soul to South and Central America. On her travels, Channy will be heading to Cuba to spend some time with Havana’s Cubanitas, a few bottles of Havana Club and a handful of Cohibas. Cuba is visited a lot by both pro and amateur male surfers, so it’s about time Havana’s small community of female surfers are blessed with support from the likes of Channy. Check out what goes on in Channy’s head by checking out her Tumblr at www.http://wheat-barrel.tumblr.com  

Destination Havana – Surfer Magazine.
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Only 90 miles separates Cuba from American soil, but immeasurable ideological differences have kept Cuba a relatively untapped surf destination for American surfers. Last December, in the midst of peak Hawaii season, Ian Walsh traveled to a small village on the northeast tip of Cuba. Not knowing what to expect, Walsh discovered an empty cobblestone pointbreak and that the universal appeal of surfing can transcend politics. Not many people can say they have surfed Cuba, or even traveled there for that matter. Can you give us a little background on how this trip came about? The idea for the trip had been floating around for a while. When it started coming together, it began to look like a real possibility that I’d be able to get into the country. I went in December, which is a good month for waves in Cuba, but a time of the year that I am not used to leaving Hawaii. The timing was cutting it close with the Pipe Masters and Triple Crown. Luckily, the Pipe Masters ran within the first few days of the waiting period and I was able to get a flight the day after it ended to Mexico City. From there, I flew to Cuba and drove across the whole country in a couple of days. I ended up at a tiny village where these kids surf and make their own equipment out of refrigerator foam, resin, and fiberglass from the boatyards. They’d also piece together their own surfboards from […]

Surfing to Baracoa – A Red Bull film.
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Surfing to Baracoa is a beautiful little film that features Royal 70’s Cuban family and Havana’s surfing community. Featuring Arnan Perez Lanigua, Cuba’s first surfer to compete internationally, and US big-wave surfer Ian Walsh, it takes a look into the lives and struggles facing Cuba’s surfers.

Mamerto – Cuba’s surfing future…
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Yojani ‘Mamerto‘ Perez is a young surfer and skater from the suburb of Playa in Havana. Mamerto rips on both concrete and in the water and is destined to be Cuba’s next extreme sports freak. Check him out in this little Cubaskate film. Recorded a few years back by Miles Jackson at CubaSkate, it isn’t hard to imagine just how good Mamerto is today.

Surfing + Cuban Kids = Smiles
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Gathering a few of Havana’s surfers together and making our way east to Megano beach just out of Havana, we spend a day pushing  kids onto waves. Many of these kids hadn’t even swam in the ocean before, let alone attempted to surf. The smiles and laughter from these kids blew our minds and reminded us just how much happiness surfing can bring to the world.

Royal 70 is back…
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The last year or so has been a massive year for Royal 70. A few issues beyond our control forced us to drop off the radar for a while. Much of this was no thanks to some archaic politics the Cuban surfers deal with on a daily basis, but thanks to some hard work and patience we are back online and ready to get back to work supporting Cuba’s surfers and kids.