Words Anna Stephens
I grew up in a very British household in Brighton, and was introduced into the surfing world at about 8 years old, when my brother helped me to stand on a long board in the cold West-England seas of Cornwall and Devin. By the time I turned 18, I was sure about my passion for surfing from the experiences I had had in the UK and France, but I had never left Europe. Then, one day I got a message on my phone from my parents, which said they had got a job in Peru and were going to move there. I was supposed to start University a year later, so before getting into that, I decided to take a year out. I felt the call from South America, so I made a plan to meet them there.
Landing in Lima, Peru’s capital, at the age of 18, I had few pre-conceptions of the country, other than the images of alpacas and Machu Picchu that were floating around my naive mind. My mum went to work, and I ended up left in a strange, modern flat, in a misty foreign city where I didn’t speak the language. There was, however, one thing I had heard about which drew my attention immediately: Lima was renown for long, glassy, reliable lefts. Whilst it may not have the same glamorous appeal as Bali or South Africa, I gradually came to understand that Peru is actually surfers paradise. I knew what I had to do. I grabbed my shortboard, squeezed it into the front seat of a a collectivo (the Peruvian alternative to a taxi) and headed down to the coast. That decision changed my life, and soon a new version of Peru opened up to me, and replaced my naivety with a longing for surfing long lefts.