Surfing Is Not Legal In Cuba Because The Government Is Afraid Of This
Over the years, Cuba’s government hasn’t been the kindest to its surfers, or surfing.
The sport isn’t technically legal in Cuba, it’s heavily frowned upon, and there are only around 100 surfers in the country.
If Cuba considered surfing a sport, the government would provide funds to its athletes.
Instead, the government classifies surfing as a recreational activity rather than a sport, meaning Cuban surfers are often forced to make their own surfboards. Cuban designers usually have to craft a board out miscellaneous materials, like foam from old refrigerators or salvaged fiberglass.
However, Cuba’s government is wary of surfers because they believe they could be trying to flee the country.
As the New York Times reported, Cuba’s government has always been suspicious of surfers because people normally defect from the country via the waters. Cuban surfer Eduardo Valdes told the New York Times that the country’s earliest surfers, from Baracoa, were arrested for attempting to leave the country.
And the government believes surfing is too closely associated with U.S. culture.
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Cuban surfer Arnan Perez Lantigua told Surfer how Cuba associates it with the U.S., saying,
“They also consider it an American sport, which is a problem for the government because they see RVCA and Quiksilver and all the companies as private American companies, which they don’t want to support. So that also makes it pretty much impossible to be sponsored by an American company.”
But the country’s surfers want to represent Cuba in the 2020 olympics, so they’re fighting these stigmas.
Thanks to the current political and social evolution in Cuba, surfers are attempting to change the government and the people’s perception of the sport. They’ve established a petition, which people can sign here, and they’re working to legitimize the sport by making the public aware of what surfing is.
And a documentary is capturing this pivotal time in Cuba’s surfing culture.
Despite being unnamed as of today, the documentary is currently scheduled for a 2018 release. Tons of great information is available on their website, which you can check out here.
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