“There Is a Connection”: Uncover How the Local Surfing Community of Puerto Rico Is Taking Cues From Its Surfboard Shapers

Published 08/19/2023, 12:30 AM EDT

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Imagine a place where the salty breeze carries the laughter of surfers riding the crests of waves, or a place where the sun-kissed shores resonate with the hum of creativity. Yes, such beautiful places exist in the surfing world. It is Puerto Rico—a heaven for the craft of shaping surfboards.

Beyond the allure of the turquoise waters is a secret tale that local artisans have woven. These craftsmen are the guardians of tradition and innovation, shaping more than just surfboards; they shape identities and a deep-seated bond between the sea and the island’s culture. It delves into the boards that have become a canvas for the soul of Puerto Rico’s surfing community.

The surfing world’s cultural cornerstone

Surfing in Puerto Rico transcends mere recreation. According to AFAR News, it’s a language spoken by the waves and a dance that embodies the spirit of the island. Amidst this vibrant coastal culture, surfboard craftsmen are the unsung heroes, bridging the gap between nature’s artistry and human creativity. Their hands bring to life more than just surfboards; they craft stories, heritage, and a deep-rooted connection to the sea.

Concurrently, Mika Ramírez, a maestro of wood and waves, stands as a torchbearer and says, “When you buy a board from outside the island, there is a disconnect between you and the shaper. But when you order a board from your local shaper, there is a connection. We live on the island, know our waves, and create a board tailored to your surfing style.”

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From Isabela, Mika’s journey is a tribute to his grandfather Néstor’s legacy. It is a testament to the generations that have shaped Puerto Rico’s surfing heritage. With each stroke of his hands, he carves not just boards but pathways to an identity intrinsically tied to the ocean’s rhythm.

Echoes of heritage, Ripples of resilience

Delving deeper into this world, we venture into the workshops that breathe life into surfboards, shaping more than just equipment. Néstor Ramírez, a veteran with over four decades of shaping experience, embodies the essence of this craft. As waves molded his legacy, Néstor imparted wisdom and heritage with each creation. Mika, following in his footsteps, not only carves intricate designs but also bridges the gap between surfer and board.

In a surfing world where commercial brands frequently rule, this artisanal approach has a strong resonance. Néstor and Mika’s work symbolizes authenticity and a connection that transcends oceans. The surge of pride felt when riding a locally crafted surfboard showcases a bond between the surfer, the craftsman, and the island itself.

Watch this story: Amidst the Wavepool Arms Race, Surfer Explores Finless Surfing With the Biggest Standing Wave in the Continental USA



Written by:

Harshita Chawla


One take at a time

Harshita Chawla is a US Sports writer at Essentially Sports. Having contributed to college magazine as a sports writer, she comes with a staunch knowledge in content creation for the sports industry. Along with this, Harshita is a huge fan of Gymnastics queen Simone Biles and has a penchant for writing about her favorite athlete.
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