I was born in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, but I must have ended up there by mistake — Bogota is cold and 8000 feet above ocean level.
The first time I surfed was as a kid on a wooden door in San Andrés island, on the Caribbean side of Colombia.
There were a couple of guys on the island who had boards but they were notoriously dickheads so we didn’t want to ask to borrow theirs.
We tied rags around the door knob and used duct tape to cover any holes, then sanded the edges. It was like riding a Cadillac with no steering wheel.
At 15, I left Colombia to live in California and that’s where I really got into surfing.
I met Johnny Rice, the first native American shaper, he made my first log and I watched him shape it. Ever since then I fell in love with the fact that you can just take this piece of foam and just turn it into something you enjoy so much.
Michel Junod is also a huge inspiration. He is such a stylish surfer and shaper. I learned a lot about surfing from CJ Nelson, he and Matt Tanner.
I was constantly being pushed to surf better and better by those around me.
I competed in longboard contests between 1999 and 2001, I was sponsored by brands like O’Neill Int, Pearson Arrow and Surftech, but in 2001 I quit because I didn’t like some of the negative elements of competitive surfing, and I didn’t enjoy "having" to surf.
I stuck with longboarding because I really wanted to master it. People have a misconception that longboarding is much easier than shortboarding, but if you can master a longboard, you can master any other board. Longboarding requires more technicality, you have a few extra feet in front of you that you really have to keep in mind.
When you’re riding a thruster, usually you shred the wave to pieces, you don’t dance with it, you just rip it apart.
That’s why for me, single fins and retro surfboards are so much more important because they teach you about style and about how to surf in any conditions, on any wave.
Because waves require thinking.
I have been working with templates from the 60s and 70s, like the single fins that Gerry Lopez surfed at Pipeline.
The first time I shaped one of these single fins, I took it out and it really did not work, but I kept modifying and changing until it did.
I like the classic styles. I have also been working with single fins boards and styles from Wayne Lynch, god, that guy is a huge influence, that guy is so stylish and smart gentleman.
Those kinds of guys inspired me to create FLKLR.
I started FLKLR in March 2012. I was so tired of looking at surfing magazines and seeing the same frigging story in every issue and the same chick with the same ass in every ad.
Initially the concept started out as a magazine. I wanted to do something conscious, take a group of artists together and start something from surfers to surfers again.
I had seen people monetize piece of shit surfboards and I thought ‘fuck it, let’s start making custom boards and try to revive this thing again’. You’re unique and everyone should have their own unique board.
And I didn’t like the way that mainstream surfing betrayed women. I was raised by three strong women, my mum is about 4’10”, she is a tiny warrior!
It was really upsetting to see women demeaned, just sitting on the beach in the magazines and adverts.
That’s why I started sponsoring Lynn (Theisen), she has only been surfing two years but she is going to make it far and Flora (Christin) has been surfing less than two years and she is charging too.
One of the mottos behind FLKLR is ‘more trees, less assholes’ – that refers to the education system. We need to educate people to be more conscious about the environment.
That’s what I want FKLR to stand for, I want to bring together a bunch of us who are going to do great things for the Ocean and the community.
"At the end of the day, all that matters is how nice we are to each other"
Bali was so welcoming to me and FLKLR. I found our beautiful shop here in Canggu and from making the surfboards I started designing clothes. Now I am trying to work with alternative apparel for our clothing.
What I want to do with FLKLR is to give back to the community and especially work with kids, they can change the future.
Bali has a big problem with garbage and the only ones that can change that are the kids.
The adults grew up in a different era where plantain leaves were used for packaging and those could be disposed of anywhere, now plastic is used for packaging but that is still being thrown into the sea.
Here's a short on the making of our boards. Made with love.
Have a look, you might like it a bit much.
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