Pacific Ocean Surfers

If not for the humpback whales that come to the warm waters of Nuquí in September, nobody would have heard of this lost point virgin forests, muddy rivers and wave surfers navigated by children.

It’s a surreal image: Pacific waves of these afro children arise, as 80% of the population of this town of Choco, riding their beds tables as surfboards and plunge their hands into the dark sea. Poor children in the most forgotten department in the Colombia, fading away from their hard reality.

In some rural areas Nuquí is planted with landmines, after the demobilization of paramilitary groups; since 2011, according to a report by the Ombudsman, are increasing threats and extortion. In its pages we read: «There is high risk of forced displacement or confinement since its territory is used as a strategic corridor to transport illicit drugs to other areas.»

Several illegal groups operating in the area, seeking to appropriate the golden filled rivers or have facilities to bring cocaine into the sea. Two groups vying for power in the coastal towns of Choco: the criminal gang the AUC Gaitanistas -ACG- or Urabeños and Cimarron resistance against the Western bloc -ELN- National Liberation Army.

The people, despite the wealth of natural resources, suffer from hunger. According to the Center for Research on Social Dynamics of External University of Colombia, Nuquí is one of the municipalities where there is more risk of starvation. The probability of death from malnutrition is 1486.99 per 100,000 births.

And so the choirs of the clarions, the songs of birds and monkeys, sunsets glow rainy over the shrimp boats and lush jungles that are lost in dark labyrinths, come young surfers. Holding on their wooden tables and surfing the waves.

Santiago Valencia Mosquera 14 years old. He was born in Hot Springs town, just minutes south of Nuquí along the Pacific coast. His mom cares a cottage for tourists and dad is small boat captain in the Pacific carrying passengers between the districts.

Santiago has eight brothers, lives in Nuquí with some of them. Together handle home because their parents do not live in Hot Springs. The youngest brother is five years old and the oldest 25.

Some years ago, foreign tourists came to the area to ride their boards. Santiago knew there surfing and became interested. First it was in the tables on her bed or timber found around. The important thing was to try.