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Peru - interview + pics

Rider Profile: Peruvian Waverider Fernando "Wawa" Peroud

Posted Friday 4th January 2008

Photos, unless otherwise noted, by Kai Benson

The Best Odyssey sets sail on January 12-20th in Panama for the Pro Wave Invitational,  and when it does, Fernando "Wawa" Peroud, local Peruvian Best rider ... perhaps one of the world's best "yet undiscovered" wave riders ... will be on it, alongside wavesurfing legends like Will James and Ben Wilson. With three film crews, four magazines, and two photographers to document the event, we're betting that Wawa, a Peruvian surfing legend and a hotel owner and kite center in Mancora, Peru, is not going to remain "undiscovered" for long. After an impressive career as a pro surfer, Wawar started kiting in the 2002 recently ranked 5th at the PKRA Wave Invitational in Chile.  Below he answers some questions about his life, surfing, and kiting in northern Peru.

Rider Name: Fernando "Wawa" Paruad


Best Results:
Ranked 5th in Wave Kiting, 2007 PKRA World Championships in Matanzas, Chile

Pro surfer turned kiter in 2002

Del Wawa Hotel and kite center owner in Mancora, Peru

Where did you grow up, and where do you live now?
I grew up in Lima but since I was very young, I traveled to Mancora in northern Peru where I have been living for the past 14 years.

Married? Kids?
Single no Kids.

What was your first job, and how did you get from there, to owning your own hotel and kite center?
At first I used to trade seafood, once I finished studying I had the chance to either get a proper regular job or try to do something up north. Luckily, it worked well and I can take as much time off as I want.

How much time do you spend working versus on the water?  How involved are you in the running of the hotel and kite center?

There was a time when I had to do everything myself, all the way from catching the fish to cooking it. Now I've got a cool group of people who take proper care of everything, so I can go surfing, kiting or traveling as much as I want. Although honestly living here is like being on a trip and I very rarely find better conditions than what I've got at home. I like quick hit-and-run trips where you know you'll score rather than hanging around waiting for something to happen.

When did you start surfing? What competitions did you do?  Were you sponsored?
Since I was up north I only did the contests I really liked which were the ones with the best waves and waiting periods in Places like Pico Alto and Cabo Blanco. Sponsorships came light since I was up north caring most about surfing empty, perfect point breaks. I get wetsuits and clothes (Quicksilver), sunglasses (Fox), and boards (Klimax) but no serious sponsorships ... just local reps free stuff.

What was your best result in surfing, and do you still compete?
I won the Big Wave Invitational in Peru 3 times, once in Punta Rocas and twice in Pico Alto, which is the prime big wave spot in Peru requiring boards on the 9 foot + range.  I was a finalist on the Cabo Blanco classic 3 times - Cabo is regarded as the most perfect barrel Peru has to offer.

How did you get interested in kiting? How did you learn?
Kiting for me was like Wiley Coyote and the Acme stuff he used to order. I got my first kite and literally learned to set it up and use it by tips on the internet,  For 3 months, I didn't know what the chicken loop was for but still had fun despite a few close calls. After a few months I finally learned from Phil Alengrin, a French kitesurfer and friend who came to Mancora.

What kind of equipment did you learn on?
I learned on a mutant with a Airush Lift 9.4.

How long did it take you to learn?  Did you find it easy, or difficult?
I think as long as you have fun nothing is difficult.  It's always been fun and I don't think you can ever stop learning in kiting it's just limitless.

Do you do any freestyle riding (kiteloops, mobes, etc) or do you only focus on wave-riding?
Kiteloops are really cool. I love to combine them with surf moves - they come out really radical with plenty of speed for the next turn. Not much of the freestyle tricks though.

Do you ever ride a twin-tip, or do you just ride surf boards?
I ride twin-tips or mutants when it's flat which doesn't happen that often.

Strapless or strapped?

How did you become involved with Best, and when?
In July 07, when Jose Rosas, the Best rep in Peru, hooked me up with Lia (in Sales).

You're riding the 2007 Yarga.  What makes this a good kite for the waves?
It's a perfect all-round kite: it can handle the gusts and fly backwards like a bow yet is faster. They're tough, too.

What changes would you like to see to the equipment that would better suit hardcore waver riders?
Honestly I haven't used that many kites lately, like for example the last 6 months I have only used the

Yarga’s. I wish I could have used more kites to have a valid answer to this question. I have never tried any of the Waroos, Bularoo’s or HP's. For some places like Mancora, I'd rather use a C kite and on some of the side-off gusty point-breaks perhaps a bow kite would work better. Anyway the Yarga has been the perfect blend for an all-around kite.  They have been pretty tough, too.  Some of my kites have taken serious beatings, especially the 9 and they are still intact. It would be great if you could have a quad surfboard in stock.

Where is the best place you've kitesurfed, for waves, etc?
Matanzas in Chile was really good and Peru has a few insane perfect point breaks.

Who do you most admire or respect in the discipline of kitesurfing?
I have a lot of respect for Martin Vari.  He just goes cruising around and does the job without even trying.

How often do you get to kite?
At least 4 to 5 times a week.

How would you describe your style of riding?

How similar is the technique of regular surfing to the technique of surfing with a kite?
Either way you have this need to hit the lip or get barreled, With a kite is harder to get barreled but you get to do everything much faster, so I think both complement each other well.

Have you had any close calls ... waves closing out on you, etc.?
A couple of tangles and extreme gusts without the board on a unforgiving beach break in front of a reef wall.

What advice to you have for someone in that situation?
Try to go the opposite way of the kite to maintain tension, the last thing you want is a wave or wind gust to power up your kite while the lines are around you.

What is the best way for a freestyle rider to get into wave riding?
Do what you do in sync with the wave and try to link it with more until the end of the wave.

What is the windy season in Peru? And are there waves year round?
Where I live is windy from June to December but you can always go south where the water is colder and still have wind the remaining months. We've got waves year round since we get both south and north swells.

What are your goals as far as your riding goes? What do you want to be able to do, that you can't do? What are you working on?
I want to have fun and get to ride the most waves I can, being able to use the best equipment possible.  By doing that, everything will come along.

The PKRA Wave Championship was invitation only, limited to about 30 riders. How did you get selected?
Lately there have been so many kiters and teams coming to Peru that I guess some of them probably mentioned me at some point. Also Jose Rosas knew someone in Chile and finally Martin Vari suggested I should go and recommended me for a slot.

According to Jose, you were favored to win, but got a bit unlucky at the beginning of the comp in Chile. What happened?
I wouldn't call it unlucky; I would say it was just inexperience.  My first heat was actually my first kite session in Chile as well as my first kite contest with brand new boards. As the event unfolded, I got more comfortable.

What are your competitive and/or travel plans for 2008?
I'd love to go back to Tahiti, probably Indo too.  I've been there but only surfing. Panama and Galapagos are cool places too. I usually go every year when the swells are worth it. Definitely looking forward to the next Wave championship and plenty of traveling in Peru.  We've got such good places it's ridiculous. Many times I've travelled, and it's like "f&#* if I stayed at home I would have scored not only more but alone."

Hawaii - hilsen fra
Bali - surftrip 2007