Sofia, a former woman’s world surfing champ, inspires the next generation them to follow their dreams.
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- [Steven] If you had a choice to pack up all your things and paint a picture of the world we live in what would you do? You ask yourself, what do I have to lose? ♪ Baby let me follow you down ♪ ♪ Follow you down ♪ ♪ I'm all in pieces just waiting for you to come 'round ♪ ♪ 'Round ♪ ♪ The singing the song ♪ ♪ Baby let me sing you the song ♪ ♪ And cigarettes in his heart fingertips ♪ ♪ I'd sacrifice to love you this ♪ ♪ Song ♪
- [Steven] We find ourselves living on this planet we call home yet we are so disconnected from it all, we feel like complete strangers. The pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of love, the pursuit of adventure, the pursuit of freedom. My name is Steven Friedman and this is the story of Chasing the Sun. My journey begins like an empty page in a book as it's waiting to be filled with words that your eyes have seen during the course of the day. So no page will be the same as the words will create a story to the journey. The people add the color to these words as a destination like Lima, Peru and the interesting souls you surround yourself with. When we seek to discover the best in others we somehow bring out the best in ourselves. Nowadays, it seems like it's hard to come by selfless people helping others but when you do you feel the urgency to pay it forward as a kind act can change everything you just don't know it yet until you do it. I hooked up with a guy named Harold and he's kind of like this surf guru of basically Peru really and he works for Sofia Mulánovich and she's a former world champion surfer and she started this whole organization to help kids with surf development and yeah basically linked up with him and he took me to no idea what the spot is called.
- [Harold] I'm Harold Koechlin, we are here in Lima, Peru in Nabisco Peurto Vihecle that is south of Lima more or less 60 kilometers south of Lima. And we are here with Peratos Sofia Mulánovich you have training day. Right now we are working with eleven kids. All year round. During the weekdays while it's summer it was quite intense. From Tuesday to Thursday all day, two times a day, we do the video analysis. And now that it's winter time and they started their school during the week they go surfing with us twice a week Tuesdays and Thursdays. In the afternoon. And then Wednesday they have a physical training. And then Saturday like today they are with us all day and we can go surfing here South of Lima where the waves are better, less crowded, and they have more time to practice. Yeah yeah, they are very close. They are all like laughing. They are friends, very close friends. When they are not training with us they are hanging out together, going surfing together. They know each other from before, because you know surf city in Peru is not that big. And they are always competing in the contest. They are always competing each other. So it's fun, it's very health, it's really cool. And it gets you pumped also for surfing you know.
- Yes I'm here with my project it's about coaching some kids here in Peru with my coaches. We're all trying to help them become better surfers and yeah it's good. Yeah Harolyn go go great you know like they are like super important for me you know. 'Cause I still travel a lot so I'm not here all the time. So they're here all the time making sure everything's taken care of. When I come back it is great to see the evolution of the kids.
- [Steven] Sofia is a former world surfing champ. And she's also such a passionate person and she's so passionate about her country. And the thing with Sofia she was the first ever world champion in anything in Peru history. And because of that like she's kinda like the Queen of sport in many ways. And a great ambassador for the country and her setup with the kids it's great. It's really really good to see someone paying it forward like that. I couldn't think of a better person than Sofia to be that role model for these kids.
- [Sofia] We had a process for selection. First there were like sixty eight kids and we had to go to ten. So it was a long process of selection different beach breaks and point breaks. And by the end we have just ten kids you know. Some of these kids are like had already sponsors but some of them have never had sponsors or any support. You have a mix of everything.
- [Sebastian] When I got selected to train here on the beach I was so excited because I was in Hawaii. And Harold sent me an inbox and told me hey you are in the group and I was so excited. Yeah it's fun to surf with Sofia because she was the best surfer in the world. I'm so excited to be with her and she is my trainer. I like it. The house of the practice is amazing because it helps you be more motivated to be a better surfer. It's a good house. Has lot's of stuff to practice more.
- [Sofia] Yeah yeah, we have a really beautiful house. You know it's really great for them feel comfortable and be able to train.
- [Harold] There are many things to consider you know. That it is not just surfing it's also mental strength. So there are some kids that are really talented and really good in surfing. But when it comes down to competition they get nervous, they get anxious. So we try to work with that. They all have the potential to be professional surfers as I see most of them. And they just have to be focused and train. Train hard, stay focused, and don't lose the aim. That's it we have really good kids in the project like Sebastian that you may know like Johnny and Andres we have two Andres actually a Hosantonio. We have a lot of kids that are really good surfers also the girls. They're looking up to Sofia and they are trying to follow the path you know. Hopefully we can get one or two into the world tour someday.
- [Sofia] Yeah the girls are on it you know. They are really surfing well. They're here to train you know they really have a good attitude and they really wanna get better.
- [Steven] These kids honestly have the best future ahead of them. If they become pro surfers or not the factor is that they're always going to have surfing behind them in the last stop and what it represents. Because it's more than riding a wave it's everything.
- [Harold] It's really fun you know it's been already like five months that we've been together, and we've become really tight. The kids are improving their surfing. They're having fun. And that's all about the meaning of the program. No integration between different social backgrounds. And you know be one and the same in the water, out of the water. And think of the friends that you're making in surfing are the friends that are gonna be with you all your life. You know so that's a very strong tie.
- [Steven] Harold's friend Yeager runs a surf and and more type program called Alto Peru for the underprivileged kids if Lima.
- [Harold] Alto Peru is the heart of Diego it's because he grew up in that neighborhood. Seeing the reality of kids that didn't have the opportunity. And Yeah he started this project. First beginning with surfering and then different workshops like art, like skateboarding also. And now he has this multi-school which is really cool though. The kids are really talented. There are a couple national champions. There is one that is going to fight for South American crown. There is another one that has been in Tia Land. So yeah it's pretty cool and with results also.
- [Yeager] I know Harold from many years now he thinks I don't know how much but I see him all the time in Lalaruda our surf spot in Tarias it's one of the best places in Lima. He was always in the inside and I wanted to get there and I was afraid that I make it in the water. It's nice to surf with him. He's a very nice person. He's not fighting for the waves. He's just waiting for the one for him. And there is a lot of them that is for him. And the ref for all of the kids that grow in Taria because he's a very good surfer. A very good person. We went we meet we meet at the make our friendship. My name is Diego Villaran. We are in Peru. This is our social project in Taria, Lima, Peru. And this is a multi-area. We are working now with the kids from our school. Now we have like fifteen kids. They started here for free from now to competition time. So we are gonna see our hard training in a few minutes. They all the kids mostly come from our neighborhood that in Peru. It's old. It's sanded down. For say something and there is a lot of family that's working in the fish area. Some of then are fishermen. It's a poor neighborhood. With little economic resurface. So this could have few opportunities. Not much education. Not much activities to do. So like in 2008 we start giving them free lessons of surf and multi. And now we are seven years after that and we still are working with the kids. We have national champions in multi and we have several kids that are working with Sofia. They are in a good track. Now we have some instructors that are they grow with us you know. So they are like our instructors hundred percent from here not of Peru. In my opinion the national champion last year and I think this year is gonna do it as well yeah. I grow in the neighborhood in Peru. I grow there and I have seen many history of people in my age going to jail and many other activities that are not good for them. And drugs, delinquency, prostitution. I don't know but it's a hard neighborhood. It's hard to grow there. So we have tried to give them some opportunities and seeing that sport is one of the things that can make a difference for them. Because they can put all that energy that they don't know how to do to kinda like or to focus that energy. And you put them goals. Surf well, fight well, I don't know but they start to think you know the possibilities. I think it's very good for the life that they have and physically they have an activity. And they can develop everyday. A safe environment, because in the street there's non safe environment. It's very hard. They find like another home here. They want to come and we are always make our activities, cleaning activities. After that we eat. And we go to other games to championships. We are like a big family now. When I see a kid that is responding well to his environment and to his life and making the right decisions. And if we are helping a little bit for him to make that it's a very warm feeling. I think it's important for my life to see that because if I haven't seen that I wouldn't be still doing this. I have already choose another activity and forget about it. I have seen many kids are making good decisions and they're making a real life for them. So I'm still here and I wanna live for a while. We have a Nashambule very nice it's very nice gym. The kids here they are very great with that. I think that the Peru multi school and surfing school is gonna have something to do in their future life. Make some names.
- [Steven] Yeah Harold's busy working on this documentary called Double Barrel and it's basically just educating people of what's actually happening up north.
- Well Double Barrel is a movie that we are doing to create awareness and try to bring support to this region you know. For me Northern Peru is a very special place, as a surfer. And as a tourism business man. Because of the potential of the area you know. The quality of the waves that we have there are the best in Peru. And are between the best of the world. It's a world class destination. It has a lot of threats you know. As the environment you know because of the oil exploitation in the area and also the construction. And purified and plant constructions because these beaches are sandy bottom beaches mixed with reef that gathers the sun. So there's a very big sanding process. With the soil potters and the wind. The sand moves a lot in this area. So during one time of the year it could be like a rocky bottom point for example. And then you come back six months later and it's all covered by sand. Completely covered by sand because just off the wind and the soils. One digs and the other brings the sand. So it's a very very very particular place. I think it's one of the few places in the world that happens east. So that makes it also very fragile. The project is to try to protect all of this, all of this area you know. And create a world a surfing reserve.
- A world surfing reserve is a activity that the Save the Waves Coalition gives to certain spots around the world that fill up some requirements. So we try to, we will try to do that in the process we are making a movie. And eventually I'm going to move up there to help people that is already working the area. To create a better future for this place. Well we all need to get together you know and do it now before it's too late.
- So it's been great Harolds really shown us around. I got to meet Nina that musician she was lovely. Meeting Sofia again and chatting to her and seeing what her project is all about. Diego and what he's doing in this community, and especially the kids of the community, and also the surf community. From like the one surfboard shaper and yeah a lot of the locals around this town. It's been a really amazing experience.