The history behind the US and Cuba has always been rocky at best thus keeping Americans out of Cuba. More specifically American surfers out of Cuba. This is all coming to an end as are the ancient cold war ideals that have passed. On December 17th President Obama and Raul Castro announced they are re-establishing diplomatic ties and subsequently, the Cuban flag was raised at the embassy in D.C. as well as the American flag at our newly reopened embassy in Cuba. We hope that (for the sake of all surfers) this continues peacefully in a positive direction.
Pro surfer Ian Walsh made it into Cuba back in 2013 and found just how surfing can bring people together regardless of nationality. Upon return, he sat down with Surfer Mag.
How did the Cuban culture compare to other places you’ve traveled?
The Cuban culture was pretty cool. Everyone was nice and helpful and accommodating for everything we did. It was insane how time seems to have stood still since the ‘50s or ‘60s. All the buildings and cars are from that era, they refurbish them so they have fresh paint jobs and new engines. It’s an awesome Latin American country and really tropical, warm and sunny with nice beaches. It’s pretty rad how close it is to the U.S., but of course you can’t really get there easily. It’s a trip to see it, because there is so much history with everything Cuba has been through in the last 50 years or so. You see how much a few key incidents can effect an entire country over the course of time.
You mentioned the potential for waves in Cuba. Did you have an opportunity to explore the coastline?
I got to check out the coastline around the northeast tip by the village where the kids surf. There are empty pointbreaks with tons of potential. I started geeking out on Google Earth, checking out all these setups that could be incredible on the right swell. These kids have a wave playground entirely to themselves over there.
Check out the full article at Surfer Mag!
Photo cred: Munoz