Saturday, May 1, 2010

¨Barbados opens doors to Cuba¨ by Ametza Nicholls

My journey to visit the Hispanic Island of Cuba for “PROJECT CUBA” was an inspirational first Pan-American Surfing Association’s (PASA) trip to open doors and develop relationships with our Spanish Speaking Caribbean Neighbour.



My journey to visit the Hispanic Island of Cuba for “PROJECT CUBA” was an inspirational first Pan-American Surfing Association’s (PASA) trip to open doors and develop relationships with our Spanish Speaking Caribbean Neighbour.
My Friend Icah Wilmot from Jamaica had been working on a discovery trip to Cuba for some time and was trying to get some sponsorship from various international Surf Companies and magazines. It all looked really good until the last minute….   It ended up being way too expensive so just about everyone backed out.  Maile Aguerre, the President of PASA, took the opportunity that Icah was working on Cuba to join in his initiative and help put together the first Cuban Surf Nationals and a PASA invitational in the Island at the same time as we were there.  Icah and I surfed the event representing our own countries against participants from Cuba and The Dominican Republic.  Those were the 4 countries participating in this, the first ever International Surfing Event in Cuba, which really meant a lot to the surf lovers of Cuba and to us being the first participants and hopefully the first of many.
PASA conducted a training/judging seminar lead by Marcos and Juca of Brazil, which was very well received by all of those involved in the sport there and our job was to showcase our talents as top surfers in our respective countries and to let the Cuban surfers experience the competition first hand. There were only two divisions for the competition. This was the bodyboarding and the open.  There were no girls participating and therefore I was asked to surf in the open. At the end of the prize giving I donated one of my personal boards to top Cuban surfer Umberto Rodriguez who had recently broken his favourite board and also a 7’ board given by Alan Burke of Burkie Boards, compliments of Nick Parker, to Yaima Espinosa who runs a kid’s surf training camp in Santa Fe, La Habana, Cuba.
The final of the open went as follows:
1st Icah Wilmot – JAMAICA – 2nd Junior Gomez - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
3rd Umberto Rodriguez – CUBA – 4th Ametza Nicholls – BARBADOS

The Association of Cuban Surfers – as it translates – is not yet recognized by the Cuban Government. It is run by self appointed Eduardo Valdes who makes, fixes, lends and donates boards to whoever cares to learn the sport if he happens to be in a position to do so.  Hopefully this can change soon.

There is also CubaSurf, headed by Luis Manuel Mazorra. This is a group of young surfers who pretty much do the same as well as make sure that any surfer coming to experience the surf of this island is taken to where they should go, told where they should not go, shown a great time, personally entertained and provided with an insight into the life of a Young Cuban Surfer.


Ametza Nicholls

No comments:

Post a Comment