A step forward…
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Cuba will increase salaries and benefits in its sports sector, a decision adopted by the Council of Ministers as a necessary step, despite the difficulties that the country is undergoing which have been worsened by the current world economic crisis. According to the Granma newspaper, this measure has as its essential objective an improvement in current salaries for personnel connected to sports and will come into force in January, 2014, although in the case of baseball, it will be implemented when the National Series begins in November, 2013. New steps will be taken in coming months to improve this sector, generate income sources, seek quality and rigor in competitions, increase salaries gradually and guarantee that everybody receives what they deserve, according to the work they perform, Granma said. A high-performance athlete is one that is entirely devoted to practicing a specific sports discipline and his/her income depends on the results attained. In the case of work abroad, participation in the main yearly competitions held in Cuba would be taken into consideration, the newspaper says. Monthly payments in CUC, “foreign currency or convertible pesos, currently received by active and retired coaches, for medals won” and other payments in CUP (the Cuban peso, national currency) will be added. Granma also says that this way, retribution based on the socialist principle: “from each according to his/her capability and to each according to his/her work,” will reach its highest expression after competitive results, as agreed to at the 5th Conference of the Cuban Communist […]

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  

Ola Libre – A Waterlust film about surfing in Cuba
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It’s an amazing feeling when your footsteps are noticed by others and someone chooses to walk beside you. The New York Times story ‘Before the waves, the hurdles’ helped to create some much-needed awareness for the Cuban surfers. One person who was moved by  the story in the NY Times and felt compelled to help was San Francisco’s Mike Gibbons. He packed his bags and headed to the island to educate himself first-hand on the struggles facing Havana’s surfing community. He documented his journey on a GoPro. Check it out… Ola Libre – A Waterlust film about surfing in Cuba A film by Mike Gibbons & Patrick Rynne aimed at exploring and supporting the emerging surf culture of Cuba. The non-profit organization Royal 70 (royal70.net) works to create opportunities for Cuba’s youth through extreme sports, music and art. Made possible by Jimmy Lewis Surfboards (JimmyLewis.com), StayCovered surf equipment (staycovered.com) and GoPro cameras (GoPro.com)    

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.

Cuba doesn’t have waves…
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Havana surfer Frank Gonzales Guerra prepares to slot into some Havana heaven… 

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.

A Cuban love story about surfing, spies and espionage…
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In 2008/2009 CIA backed anti-Cuban government groups used surfboards to smuggle satellite equipment into Cuba in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government. After 50 years of endless terrorism against Cuba and its people, surfboards are now listed as a national security threat because of these actions. Two years later, Royal 70, a non-profit Cuban collective used surfboards to bring smiles to Cuba’s surfers and kids. Our project in theory was simple. We were travelling to Cuba with 18 brand new surfboards in tow with the help of Pan American Surf Association. We would cycle from Havana to Baracoa, taking kids surfing and giving away the boards along the journey, as well as documenting Cuba’s much needed support for their surfers. Three days into our trip we were robbed. Now trapped in Havana due to a lack of funds we took some time to document another one of our goals: Cuba’s environmental and coastal concerns. We retrained our focus on setting up a program to educate the island’s kids on this issue with the help of Joel Harper’s book All The Way To The Ocean. Including music by The Cuban Cowboys, Burning Spear and Joel Harper plus more.        

Cuban surfers make the NY Times…
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Check out New York Times Journalist Nick Corasaniti’s piece on Cuba’s surfers.  An honest and heartfelt article on the struggles the Cuban surfers face everyday.   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/sports/cuban-surfers-face-hurdles-before-catching-waves.html?smid=pl-share