Havana Libre

These Cuban surfers catch some pretty gnarly waves.

Surfing has been considered illegal in Cuba, because of how many of its inhabitants have tried and failed to make their way to America. A slogan says: “Sport-a right of the people,” “but surfing is not a sport,” they say. But that government doesn’t realize it is a sport.

Frank, Yaya, Yoan Pablo, and Ariel are the surfers planning to legalize the sport. They need the tools, the locations, and a chance to prove to their nation how worthy the sport is. It’s all about the experience of riding the waves. That’s what the documentary “Havana Libre” wants to convey, and even in its short length of 80 minutes, it still wants us to care about these surfers and their lives and dreams. And in the end, we do care about them.

Their chances increase when they make a surfing video that goes viral, and are invited to Hawaii to surf. The rest of the film takes us to the island, where experience the sights that Americans get to see, and learn about more about the gifts of surfing. Of course, there are some clouds, but they’re still optimistic enough to prove to The National Institute of Sport, Physical Education, and Recreation (INDER) that they are capable of surfing, regardless of where they’re from.

“Havana Libre” has the interviewees and surfers saying that we should watch this doc and acknowledge their lives in the country and how they’re more than meets the eye. I am watching this doc, and I do believe in them 100%. I didn’t get everything in their stories, but I still admire their passion and spirits. And they all tell their sides like they are.

Anyone who surfs, watches surfing shows and movies, and knows anyone who surfs should see this movie for its own representation of underdogs. They should see how beautiful the oceans and waves are photographed, and how the surfers are able to ride them. And they should also see the similarities to skateboarding, as demonstrated earlier in the film. Kudos to director Corey McLean and editor Seth Brown both deliver on the appearance and atmosphere of the film. And yet, the surfers’ journeys are only the beginning.

I’m not an expert, but I have surfed a couple of times in my life, and it was fun and inspiring for me to see these real life characters putting all their efforts in making boards and riding them. We should also feel bad for their realities and good about how they’re able to overcome them. Give these surfers the B.O.T.D. please.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Streaming on VOD and Digital Platforms

Categories: Documentary, Foreign

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: