DROPPING IN: Surfing website www.olasperu.com director Roberto Meza, former surfing world champion Felipe Pomar and Huanchaco World Surfing Reserve member Carlos Antonio Ferrer check surf conditions at Angourie Point.
DROPPING IN: Surfing website www.olasperu.com director Roberto Meza, former surfing world champion Felipe Pomar and Huanchaco World Surfing Reserve member Carlos Antonio Ferrer check surf conditions at Angourie Point. Bill North

Peruvian surfers drop in for world first

LAST year Felipe Pomar celebrated 50 years since he became the first Peruvian to win a world surfing title.

The 72-year-old is a picture of good health and on a mission to become the first person to surf at the age of 100.

"I have friends who surfed at 93 and 96," Pomar said.

"There are all kinds of things that contribute to longevity but lifestyle and developing good habits is a lot more important than people realise."

While Pomar hopes to bookend his own surfing career with memorable records, the purpose of his first Australian visit was to raise awareness of the caballito - or little horse in Spanish - whose story spans the full breadth of surfing's history.

"Most people believe surfing started in Hawaii," Pomar, who now lives on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, said.

"Modern surfing did get dispersed around the world from Hawaii. But thousands of years before that people in northern Peru were fishing and riding waves on the caballitos, which are surfboards made out of the native Totora reed."

Pomar was part of a tour group who entertained the local surfing and Latin American communities with an exhibition of the watercraft at Cafe Leche in Yamba on Saturday night.

After a meticulous operation to get six surfboard bags full of totora reeds cleared through customs, the tour began at Bondi Beach, where Huanchaco native and descendent of the ancient Moche Chimu culture, Carlos 'Huevito' Ucanan Arzola marvelled onlookers by making the first caballito ever made outside Peru. The world first will be televised on Bondi Rescue.

Next stop was Crescent Head, where another surfboard was made and was displayed during the evening at Cafe Leche.

The group were spotted checking out the large surf conditions at the renowned right hand break at Angourie Point on Sunday.

On Monday they continued onto the Gold Coast where they will visit other surfing areas and participate in the inauguration of the World Surfing Reserve at the Gold Coast.

They will also do exhibitions of the caballito at the World Surf League event and Noosa Surfing Festival.



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