While all eyes were on the drama of the big waves of the Eddie Aikau contest, another moment made headlines in Peru and Australia. The first known surf craft in the history of mankind was being rebuilt and mounted on Bondi Beach in Australia. Despite more than 5,000 years of archaeological evidence showing that the Moche people of Peru surfed the Caballitos de Totora long before Machu Picchu was the product of the Inca imagination, this was the first time that all of this was demonstrated. outside of Peru.
âOver a year ago representatives of the Huanchaco World Surfing Reserve and Peruvian surfing legend Felipe Pomar were invited to Australia by Andy and Megan McKinnon, who were working on an app for the Gold Coast is recognized as a world surfing reserve. They had the crazy idea of ââbringing a Caballito de Totora de Huanchaco to the other side of the world to take a magical history tour in Australia â, laughs Carlos Antonio Ferrer of the Save the Waves Vision Council, a panel international which selects the world’s surf reserves.
Huanchaco, a small town with ultra-constant waves, is famous in Peru for the graceful Caballitos de Totoras (seahorses) that glide across the beach each morning with their catch. But it wasn’t until becoming a World Surfing Reserve in 2013 that Huanchaco began to be recognized globally as the oldest cradle of surfing in the world.
Andy McKinnon explains: âMy partner Megan and I visited Peru a few years ago and we were fascinated that this old surf craft is still in use in Huanchaco. We thought Australians would love the opportunity to experience a Caballito de Totora firsthand. And what better time to have this cultural exchange than the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve dedication day ceremony at Snapper Rocks.
Accompanied by Australian surf superstars like Midget Farrelly, Dave “Rasta” Rastovich,
Rusty Miller, Rabbit Bartholomew and Cheyne Horan, the award-winning surfer and craftsman of Totora – Huevito UcaÃ±Ã¡n, took a look at the Australian formations to show how to ride the line – the pre-Inca way. 500th descendant of the Moche civilization, Huevito is known in his hometown as the King of Caballito, where he uses him daily to make a living as a fisherman.
Huevito said: âIt is a great honor for me to share and demonstrate the ancient traditions of Huanchaco surfing in Australia. This is my first time traveling outside of Peru so I wasn’t sure what to expect but everyone here was so excited to learn how my people build and ride the Tortora.
It’s not just any sport that can claim 5,000 years of history, and one of his ancestors shows how he still uses it to earn a living and surf his local spot.
The Peruvian tour is in its final week of demos and parties and has covered nearly 1,000km of iconic Australian breaks.