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THE WAIKIKI CLUB, MIRA FLORES, PERU

Can’t quite recall where I first came across this image of the famed Waikiki Club on the coast of the Peruvian capital, Lima. I had heard stories of it and was lucky enough to visit there in 1994. Peru was one of the great pioneering surf nations along with Australia and the US, hosted the second world contest in 1965 and produced some of the great surfers of the day, like their world champ Felipe Pomar. Surfing was a rich man’s sport in Peru in the ’60s, out of the reach of the lower classes, and the Waikiki Club was like an exclusive country club. Uniformed attendants would fetch your board for you, wax it, store it after a session. When I visited it in ‘94 surfing was a much more egalitarian past-time and Peru was coming out of the shadows of years of civil war and would soon produce another world champion, Sofia Mulanovich. What impressed me when we atended a huge party at the Waikiki Club to mark the end of Summer a special table was reserved at the front of the room for the recognised pioneers of Peruvian surfing, a dozen or so silver haired gents who every Peruvian surfer knew as their founding fathers, the first generation of board riders in their country. Not many surf nations have that sort of regard for their shared history. How many Australian surfers can name the pioneer surfers of this country, beyond Midget and Nat? Not many I’d guess.

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