One fateful day, a surfer visiting the small Chilean town of Punta de Lobos gave a broken surfboard to one of the local kids playing in the shore break. This child was Ramón Navarro, the son of a subsistence fisherman born and raised on the ocean, and he would go one to become one of the top big wave surfers in the world. For years, Navarro chased waves in some of the most remote and famed locations from Antarctica to Waimea Bay in Hawaii. Though he’s established himself as a world-class surfer, he’s never lost the connection to the craggy coastline where he first discovered his love for the ocean. And once those waters were under threat from a planned sewage pipeline, Navarro dug his heels into the sands to protect Punta de Lobos. “The Fisherman’s Son” a new short film and book from Chris Malloy (produced by Patagonia in partnership with Save the Waves) tells the story of Navarro and his community’s fight to protect their homes and livelihoods.
Punta de Lobos is just shy of four hours from the capital city of Santiago and boasts what is considered a world-class wave by the surfing community. Navarro grew up with the wave in his backyard. Assisting his father as a fisherman and learning to dive for shellfish as a child, Navarro quickly developed a respect for ocean. As Chile began to experience rapid economic development, environmental protection was put on the back-burner in favor of quick, inexpensive construction. As the sewage pipeline threatened Punta de Lobos, Navarro’s love for the ocean galvanized his role as an activist. Drawing on his global notoriety and working with his community, Navarro was instrumental in protecting the coastline as well as the plants and animals that live in and around the chilly Pacific waters. Now, Navarro is aiming to get Punta de Lobos designated as a World Surfing Reserve to ensure it’s protected for future generations.
“The Fisherman’s Son” will be shown at select Patagonia stores and surf shops this spring with the book available later this month. Visit Surfline to stream the film in its entirely for a limited time.
Images courtesy of Patagonia