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Peruvian legend Felipe Pomar sits down to talk story

 

 

 

Surf History

Pomar will talk about health, crowded waves & his Peruvian tsunami experience

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 2 June, 2016 - Big-wave surfing legend, 1965 World Surfing Champion, and Master Health Coach, Felipe Pomar could definitely challenge for the title of “most interesting man in the world.”   
 
Pomar will deliver a unique presentation at Surfing Heritage and Culture Center. He will show a 20-minute video and give a talk about health, surfing to 100, and how to find uncrowded waves in a increasingly crowded world, followed by a Q&A session.  The 72-year old Pomar, who continues to charge big waves near his home in Hawaii, will also share how he surfed and survived a tsunami in Peru in 1974.  Admission is free for SHACC members and $5 for non-members.
 
Felipe Pomar continues to enjoy one of the longest running and most accomplished surfing careers, including surfing the past 53 winters in Hawaiian juice, where he was a four-time finalist in the North Shore’s Duke Kahanamoku Invitational.

One of Peru’s big wave surfing pioneers, Pomar won the 1962 Big Wave Championship held at Kon Tiki in Peru.  In 1965 he won the first official World Surfing Championship organized by the International Surfing Federation, defeating a stable of legends that included Fred Hemmings, Paul Strauch, George Downing, Mike Doyle, Mickey Muñoz, Nat Young and Ken Adler.  
 
Surfing a Tsunami Generated by an 8.0 Earthquake in 1974
The tectonic activity that has built the Andes mountain range continually threatens Peruvians. In 1974, Felipe had been training to ride big waves with good friend, Piti Block, suddenly “The ground was shaking and the walls were shaking…OK, it's an earthquake,” recalled Pomar. “And so I looked up to make sure no buildings were above me.  I had seen pictures of the ground opening up so I decided to hold onto my surfboard so if the ground opened up beneath me I could bridge it.  After the violent shaking stopped, I went to look for Piti.  The quake lasted a minute and fifty seconds, and I was wondering how big a tsunami it could generate.  We had our wetsuits on and our surfboards under our arm, so my first impulse was let's go surfing.” 

“So Piti and I paddled out.  We're sitting there waiting for a wave and he says there's a strong current pulling us out to sea and I think: that's not good. Perhaps we better paddle in. So I started paddling as hard as I could...and I was still going backwards. I sat up for just a few seconds and I was going backwards so fast that there was no sense in paddling anymore. So I started doing some deep breathing exercises, because I realized we were in deep trouble.”

Listen to Pomar recount his entire, harrowing tsunami story at SHACC Saturday, June 11 from 6-9 PM.  The evening includes a no-host bar serving Left Coast Brewing Co. beers, Longboard Vineyards wines, Kona Red natural energy drinks, and Hawaiian Springs water.

Author: 
Barry Haun
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