Surfing in Cuba (via NY Times)

playaAn interesting article over at the NY Times about surfing in Cuba. excerpts:

“Surf wax, new boards or simple online surf reports are scarce. Cuban policies, combined with the American blockade, have made surfing in this country a complicated endeavor.”

“without access to information like videos or surf magazines (“We fight over a single page,” Valdes said), surfers in Cuba make their progress in the sport on a separate path from the rest of the world.”

“Most surfers had to use crudely shaped pieces of plywood known as pleybos, often ripped from discarded school desks and coated in black-market resin. Those who found a sizable piece of wood would staple a makeshift wood fin to the bottom and attach a length of clothesline for a leash. Candles were melted on top to substitute for surf wax. Shaping the board was guesswork … The lucky few to encounter a discarded refrigerator at a junkyard stripped it of its yellow foam and shaped a board using cheese graters and coat hangers — the closest thing a Cuban could get to a modern polyurethane board. Fiberglass scavenged from boatyards and shipwrecks coated the yellow refrigerator foam but made it heavy. But as refrigeration technology changed, finding even the yellow foam became difficult”

“For a woman surfing in Cuba, the men are very macho,” said Yaya Guerrero, 29, who is one of the few female surfers in the country. “So because of that, it is difficult for women to do the same things as the men do. They are a little territorial when it comes time to surf. Sometimes, since we are just learning and don’t know much, if we are paddling for a good wave that they want, they’ll say, ‘Get off!’ They demand that we bail right in the middle of it, and start arguing with us.”

Full article is here