History of Surf in Cuba

Did you know there were even waves in Cuba?




Surf was first introduced in the late 90's as tourism started opening up and the first generation of adventurous surfers visited the island. It took a while for the Cuban people to pick up on the sport and lifestyle but a small Cuban surf community began to emerge over the next 20 years despite much tension from the Cuban Government.


"If you can imagine, until recently, surfing in Cuba was illegal. Those in pursuit of the elusive barrel were made outlaws, risking their boards being confiscated or getting arrested. These surfers took the sport into their own hands, passionately shaping surfboards out of refrigerator doors, ceiling tiles and whatever else they could find." - MAKEWILD, THE CUBA UNKNOWN



 Pictured above: Yaya Guerrero by Marco Bava [MAKEWILD]


The first generation of surfers were making boards out of old school desks and refrigerator doors. This resilient community would catch waves against all odds and make do with what they had. There has been a small accumulation of second-hand surfboards left over from traveling surfers but the total number of rideable boards remains incredibly low. It was only in the last few years that the number of surfers has been able to grow with nearly 100 Cuban surfers across the island with a population of 11 Million.

If it floats they will ride it.


 Above images: Frank Gonzales shaping surfboards by Corey McLean [MAKEWILD]


Many people don't realize that Cuba has some of the best surf locations, with pristine white beaches and breaks that you wouldn't even think to exist.


With Havana's location on the northern part of the island, the swell is dependent on major cold fronts in the winter and hurricane systems from the deep Atlantic in Summer. This does not stop the Cuban people for their perpetual search for waves.  



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