Surfing banned in Cuba | Al Dia News

Surfing and other water activities have been banned for decades in Cuba and are viewed with great suspicion by the authorities. This is how the documentary site Free Havana explains the situation on the island. The new film tells the story of two Cuban surfers who build their surfboards from scratch while tenaciously fighting for the culture of the sport on the island. They are Frank Gonzales Guerra and Yaya Guerrero.

“The former is one of the most established surfers and, for many, the best surfer on the island. While the second is a community leader and surfer who has made it her mission to ensure that the next generation can surf freely. When surfing was announced as the official sport of the Tokyo Olympics, they saw an opportunity to bring their sport out of the shadows and bring it to the world stage. What follows is the story of underground surfers who build their own boards from the ground up, dodging the authorities as they travel the island in search of the perfect wave. The film chronicles their struggle in the face of political oppression, confronting borders and outdated ideologies along the way,” reads the synopsis.

The documentary examines the emotional, moral and political dilemma that the two must endure when invited to participate in international events abroad. It involves being forced to undertake an illegal journey, taking risks and being separated from family.

Frank and Yaya met with the director of Free HavanaCorey McLean, during his trip to the island in 2016.

“When we took our first production trip, we embarked on a three-month trip with Frank and Yaya to shoot a short film about shaping surfboards. We had read a 2013 New York Times article on the subject and we thought of it as a way to spend time in a country we’ve always wanted to explore,” McLean said in a statement.

The director, who is also a musician and artist, said that thanks to these surfers, he and his team were able to capture a social, economic and political vision of the island and its inhabitants, impossible to read in the newspapers.

The director realized that the production would open the eyes of the whole world to understand the human reality lived, felt and breathed in Cuba. What was originally intended to be a short, ended up being McLean’s feature debut, who has previously made shorts and screened them at the Mountain Film Festival and the Camden International Film Festival.

Free Havana was filmed for three years. It is produced by 1091 Pictures, in association with the World Surf League and the Surfrider Foundation. The film recently premiered at the Santa Barbara Film Festival and will screen at other festivals across the United States. It will be broadcast on VOD this Tuesday, March 22.

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