Ramon Navarro grew up on a rugged section of Chile’s central coast known as Punto de Lobos. It’s a craggy headland that extends from cacti- and pine-covered mountains into a long fingernail of cobalt-blue bay. It’s also one of the best cold-water big-wave surfing breaks in the world.
Navarro, 36, grew up in these South Pacific waters. As a kid he accompanied his father, a fisherman, on family fishing and diving trips. He eventually became one of Chile’s first professional surfers, and one of the best big-wave surfers in the world. In the process he’s become an activist and a local hero who has stood up to attempts to develop and industrialize his home. He once led a rally of thousands that were protesting the construction of a nearby pulp mill, fearing waste would end up in the ocean (the protesters won). Much of his inspiring story has been documented in the recent film The Fisherman’s Son.
We spoke to Navarro by phone, while he had a layover in Holland, about his arc from the family fishing biz to pro surfing to ocean advocacy. Here’s an edited and condensed version of what he had to say.
“Mostly people rode horses”
“I was very lucky to be born in ... Read more