Surf's up: Peru’s shrine to big-wave boarding

Thirty miles south of Lima and well off the tourist trail, Punta Hermosa is the go-to summer getaway for Limeños. For decades it has attracted surf fanatics in search of the perfect wave. I love visiting, as surfing is so much more than just a pastime here – it’s an inherent part of the community, and surfers young and old come together to bond over the best breaks in the country. They join Peru’s surfing star, Sofía Mulánovich, winner of the World Surfing Championships in Hawaii in 2004, who calls Punta Hermosa home.

The Kon-Tiki Surfboard Museum is a shrine to Peruvian surf culture. It’s just off the beach, and is in the 1950s home of veteran surfer José A Schiaffino (father of leading Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, of London’s Malabar fame). This is the place to really soak up what surfing means to the locals. Kon-Tiki is named after the notorious break that gives Hawaii’s waves a run for their money, and visitors are welcomed with pisco sour.

The walls are adorned with surfing memorabilia from Peru’s famous Waikiki Surf Club, and from around the world, and José guides visitors round his extensive collection of vintage and modern surfboards – donated by legends of the sport such as Nat Young, Mark Foo and Mulánovich.

While most historians credit Hawaii as the birthplace of surfing, there is evidence that Peru’s first surfers were riding waves 2,000 years ago.

International visitors are rarely aware of how important surfing is in modern Peruvian culture – another reason that a visit to Kon-Tiki can add colour to a trip.

The Guardian - Marisol Mosquera

We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…