When you’re surfing, it’s easy to forget that the rest of the world exists. When all your focus and energy is devoted to keeping your balance on a board, you’re not thinking about war or politics. You’re at peace.
Ramon Navarro is a different kind of surfer. Born the son of a fisherman in Pichilemu, Chile, Ramon had dedicated himself to protecting Chile’s unique coastline — particularly the legendary surf spot of Punta de Lobos.
The Fisherman’s Son — a short documentary produced by outdoor outfitter Patagonia and directed by Chris Malloy — tells the story of Ramon Navarro’s humble upbringing, his surfing achievements, and his activism on behalf of the rapidly changing Chilean coast.
The film begins with Navarro reliving his earliest memories of accompanying his father to the ocean. Navarro’s respect for the awesome, eternal power of the ocean is clear from the onset as he discusses his family’s trade, his early attempts to surf the beaches of Pichilemu, and his ardent defense of Punta de Lobos.
As a young surfer, Navarro made his way to Waimea Bay, the legendary surf spot on Oahu’s North Shore. He spent his days surfing the behemoth waves of the North Shore and selling homemade empanadas on the beach. After 10 years, he was invited to compete in “The Eddie,” a legendary surf invitational that attracts the world’s best surfers. He has since won numerous awards in surf competitions around the world.
Navarro now uses his status as an internationally known surfer to preserve the idyllic coastline of his youth — not just for surfers, but for traditional fishermen, wildlife, and future visitors. He works tirelessly with the Chilean government, Save the Waves, and the community of Pichilemu to limit development around Punta de Lobos and convert the area into a national park.
This 29-minute film is moving and beautifully shot. We recommend that you watch the whole thing, but if you’re just looking for some jaw-dropping footage of big wave surfing, jump to about 18:00.