Icons: Felipe Pomar
Felipe Pomar's win at the International Surfing Championship in 1965 earned his reputation as a trailblazer for a new generation of Latin surfing stars. Pomar conquered the tricky conditions at Punta Rocas after 18 months of intense training in Hawaii to beat out the some of the world's most accomplished big wave riders. Born just 22 years earlier, Pomar picked up a surfboard at the age of 14 and won the Peru Invitational 5 years later. He was known as a perfect gentleman on land and as an aggressive competitor as soon as he entered the sea.
On October 2, 1974, Pomar's fame soared when he surfed a tsunami and lived to tell about it. While riding waves with his longtime friend Pitti Block on an island off the coast of Peru, a violent earthquake struck the area. Both friends were swept out a mile into the sea, but were able to paddle towards a reef called Kon Tiki. From there, they rode two triple overhead swells back towards land. Pomar remembers thinking that it might be the last wave of his life. Felipe later worked to rewrite the surfing history of Peru, using evidence of fisherman riding reed boards in 3000bc to make the case that surfing originated in Peru rather than Hawaii.
Felipe Pomar, second from left, with surfing legend Eddie Aikau to his right.
Pomar in the center of crowd after his World Surfing Championship win in 1965.
Pomar on the cover of Caretas after his World Surfing Championship win.
Still surfing giant waves at 66.