In 1965, Felipe Pomar became Peru *and* Latin America’s first ever world surfing champion. He was 22 years old.
In 2016, at age 72 – after *58 years* of surfing – he’s still going strong, competing against surfers 30, 40, even 50 years his junior.
Just last week, Pomar was at the Laguna Real Estate Noosa Festival of Surfing in Australia, where he was joined by fellow Peruvian surf stars Piccolo Clemente (current world longboard champion), Carlos “Huevito” Ucanana (known as the “king of the caballito” in reference to the reed surfboards that have been used for fishing and surfing in Peru for over 5000 years), and Carlos Antonio Ferrer (chairman of the Huanchaco World Surfing Reserve).
Of course this accomplishment ain’t no thang to the legend. “I have friends who surfed at 93 and 96,” Pomar was recently quoted saying.
His trip dealt with more than simply riding the swell (as if that wasn’t enough.) Pomar also took part in a Peruvian Cultural Tour, bringing a “caballito” native Totora reed surfboard – famously used for fishing in the small town of Huanchaco, Peru – halfway around the world in an effort to recognize the fishermen of ancient Pre-Inca empire city Chan Chan as the world’s original surfers.
“There seems to be a distinct possibility that the embryonic form of modern-day surfing was born off the coast of northern Peru,” Pomar asserted. Global recognition for these OG surfers – a dream he’s been fighting for decades to transform into a reality – has started to slowly emerge since Huanchaco became a World Surfing Reserve in 2013.
Surf champion fighting to prove Peruvian ?? power? Did we mention that he surfed and survived a tsunami in the late ‘70s during an earthquake off the coast of Peru too? Outrageous. Truly magnificent feats.