This fall the Solid Surfboards team decided to continue to support the Puerto Rican surf community that we love by donating a surfboard to a young Puerto Rican surfer. We partnered with the Puerto Rican Surf Federation, surfer Juan Carlos Gerena, and artist Sean Santiago. We created a unique surf scholarship. Most surfboard scholarships reward only athletic ability. Since our mission at Solid is all about sustainability and community, we decided to switch it up. High School age surfers submitted essays about sustainability in order to win a brand new custom surfboard. The winner, Esteban Otano, also organized a beach cleanup at Playa Golondrinas. The Solid team participated and we were able to haul away a ton of trash.
During the beach cleanup, we hand delivered Esteban’s new board and he’s been ripping on it in the local competition circuit. Esteban started competing this year. Since then, he’s placed at his four most recent contests. Esteban is from Playa Jobos, which is one of the most competitive waves in Puerto Rico. It is also an area under rapid commercial development. Esteban’s essay stood out to the team because of his concern for the local environment.
Unfortunately, Esteban doesn’t have to look past his back yard to see the environmental problems that plague Puerto Rico’s beautiful wildlife. He wrote: “An example of the people destroying our island are the people actually constructing right next to my house. They’re destroying the dunes and chopping down trees and ruining a natural ecosystem for the animals. We have to step up and fix this immediately because if we keep doing this we’re going to ruin the island.”