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“Machuca” nos cuenta algunas historias…


Jorge Figueroa, born in Puerto Rico in February 23, 1953… ..better known as Machuquita, or Machuca… the first Puert Rican Surfer that represented the island in competitions and as free surfer around the world… Hawaii, Dominican Republic, USA and Australia were some of the places he visited and got exposure he started surfing when he was 12 years old… he was recognized since the beginning for his ability and radical maneuvers, winning trophies in Puerto Rico and other countries…When he was thirty three years old he had an accident caused by a car that left him out of the ocean from then on.. For many years he was out of contacto with his friends in Puerto Rico and around the world… Ten years ago, thanks to his family, he was able to reconnect with the community and friends where I got the chance to meet him… With this visit I wanted to take some of the vibe of the beach and his friends to his house after a few years and share some experiences, photos and surfing videos… First of all I wanted to thank you Jorge, let me fix your hat one second… are you better?? Yes, yes, thank you… Thank you for receiving me at your home to talk a bit about your history…I’ll show you a series of images.. photographs of you… old photos from when you were young to talk stories through them Some of this photos I’ve gathered from magazine cutouts, friends from California, New Jersey I believe there’s also people in Hawaii and Australia that talk about you… This a picture taken by Dick Catri in 1968 of you… where I started surfing the longboard was at Stop Eight …and this are some pictures from a contest held around 1965 at stop 5, or stop five and half. Did you like that wave? yes I like it, I like it around 4-6 feet and maybe more it starts getting good to take off on the outside and go all the way in… surf it like it should be.. On one of the old magazines I read that you liked also to surf in the Capitol break.?? No, it’s was dangerous over there…When it gets big it start getting more dangerous then, ok… Yes, yes… You know your friend Guille Real, he was somewhat of a mentor for me on the longboard we shared a lot of time surfing in that area Another of the shots I wanted to show you is this cutout from a magazine here it talks that you like the movie, Beach Party.. is that right? Did that movie motivate you to start surfing? No, we were surfing for a while before that movie was in the theaters, yes, I remember At what age did you start surfing? I was 12 years old then.. It was a bit late because by ten years old you can already start standing up and surfing by yourself Yes, but it says you we’re only 14 years old and you were already in magazines, interviews, etc They are already talking here about Corky Carroll’s trip to Puerto Rico for an international competition in 1967 they were all talking about you and your ability, because you were already a great, radical surfer at that age Look at that great picture holding your trophy That is at stop two and a half, the first contest I won and I got first place Also today I received and email from Corky Carroll where he asked me first of all to say Hello for him he mentioned he was part of the Hobie team as manager and they came to the island before the 68′ contest and he saw you were such a good surfer with good potential that they gave him a board from the team and he gifted it to you.Yes, thats true..! Did that board last long? No, only 2 or three months Yes! Then Jose took it and I don’t.. look there it is..!!! that’s the one..!! So cool right, that’s Corky Carroll’s super mini model .. its awesome.!! It shows that you loved that board hugging it and everything Did you like that boards? Yes. Did it last for long you said..? No, only two or three months or so You surfed it a lot and got damaged by use right? here we have another of those shots were Corky appears with his sunglasses, and a few other waves there you are super excited with your board, the first one right? Yes, without paying it or anything, yes it was..WOW.. that’s awesome.. give me a high five there..! He mentioned he got first place but he had to battle it all the way because you were a great surfer and that’s when he decided to leave you his boards, that awesome. It was one in Florida and the second in Puerto Rico. First in Florida I got second and the in the island I got second again against him. I really enjoyed seeing those being some of the original documentation of your career, there’s you with your beloved super mini. it only lasted a few months because it was already used by Corky…Yes, Corky… this other shot is a little later but still riding the longboard.. Yes, that is Crashboat!! Crashboat?? wow so beautiful.. that’s an uncommon sight in this time; surfing uncrowded waves there.. This picture is from the Hobie team where I think your there in the top left corner still as a young kid right? Wow… Wow… That’s awesome!! If I’m not mistaken there’s also Jose Rodriguez in the top middle and somewhere I think Lester Camp among others. I think their team was at a few points in time here surfing around the island? Yes. That’s very cool!! What do you remember from this one? Look thats Candy Chase right there…Which one is she? the one in the middle or where? Yes, the one in the middle. Wow so pretty and elegant. and Stephanie Cabrera also… Yes, Stephanie Cabrera was one of the local surfers right? Yes. There you are in the middle of the boys hanging out. Do you remember where this was? Maybe Isla Verde or Pine Grove? Wow, I don’t remember.. It was so long ago right?? Yes, Yes… I really like that show because it shows how the boards were already changing in that era. This other one is part of Guille Real and your brother collection, Guille fixed it a little and I think he mentioned it was at stop 8 or stop 5, around there. You guys surfed a lot together right? He mentioned one time that you guys would compete in Jobos that you would compete in Jobos, stop 8 among other spots, thats awesome… This is at Crashboat. Really? Crashboat? Yes, I left the pier area and went to the other side and caught a left Wow, thats one of the things I wanted to know.Because most people say, aside from your radical maneuvers, that you could also surf switch stance. So this is really in Crashboat and your nose riding switch stance, that’s epic. I really like that shot; I have it on my shaping room signed by you from when I got to meet you for first time. I’m really stoked you said that because I really wanted to know about that. This other one is where you can already see that the board are already very different, look at yourself back there.Thats you there in the middle and the board is just about a foot over your size. This was already announcing the surfers that qualified for the World Contest of 68′ Stephanie Cabrera was there, Bloomquist and Gómez. Do your remember who was Gómez? Yes, Darryl Gómez. Which one of those am I? Your this one, the fourth one towards the back; your there hugging your small board that is almost your size, pretty impressive. Darryl Gómez was one of the other good surfers from the island right? Yes, Darryl Gomez was better than me in bigger waves. And how did it go for you on the contest? Which one? In the 68′ World Surfing Contest? because I know you had won multiple contests before that, but in the Worlds, how did it go? I couldn’t surf it like I wanted…Nerves got to me man, yes, and that night I hanged out drinking a bit, yes, yes…(laughs) you hanged out too long with all the boys and the waves were big which wasn’t an easy thing right? On this one they were talking about your potential being the guy to beat in the contest and possible winner. You were already surfing smaller boards, making radical maneuvers, your surfing was at their level. Who was your favorite surfer at that time? Barry Kanuipuni, he would only surf at Sunset when it’s big. And did you get to surf with him in Hawaii? was he your friend? mmmm.. No, not really, from afar only. He asked me for wax and when I was going to give it to him, he left. Really.?? Wow, maybe it was because you were such a good surfer that he felt the competition.. (laughs) Here, this is a cutout from Surfer Magazine if I’m not mistaken. sorry, Surfing Yearbook and it’s a photo at Domes with a small board. but in the text it where the talk about when you already was well known and they were announcing the contest and they say you were a real probability to be winning the event, even at your young age. I got scared because it was really from all over the world, I got really scared off but still I went out to surf. I know, but you were a child, in the magazines they always quote you mentioning that you got nervous on contests but literally you were a little kid, you had 14-16 years old.One of the things that they mentioned was that at one point when you still didn’t have a board, your passion for surfing and at the end it’s beautiful because they say they asked you about going to Hawaii or other countries and your response was something like: “but what do I do about school and stuff what I really needed was a board” because you didn’t have your own and your friends did let you borrow their board all the time.Where did you start surfing? In Pine Grove with Willie Juliá and one of his friends, yeah… Awesome, and did you enjoyed Pine Grove with the shorter boards? Yes… Yes. When you started traveling one of the places you went was the Dominican Republic and there was a contest that you won. Do you remember it? Was it a good contest? You know what happened? one of them got “cocky” and he thought he would win over everybody So we said let’s go to Santo Domingo then and see if he can win over me.. yes… wow.. So that’s you sitting there among other competitors from that contest, you finished winning the event, very coo.l I really liked this photo because it show admiration from the other guys, competition is dificult. Were the surfers at that contest good competition? Mmm…Not like here that they had style and everything like that.. So maybe they were just starting to surf in the island by then, being younger surfers, etc. I’ll show you another one.. hmm… Here we are. Do you remember this lady? Yes, Maria.! wow.. Was she the one that took care of all the surfers? She enjoyed giving gifts and selling stuff to us, the surfers, from her house We were I think the first ones that she sold us sodas, cookies, bread and cheese for breakfast en everything.. When did you start going to Rincón? Was it for the contest or before? I had gone before and I really like it, yes, and I still do.So beautiful. I remember on the Legends contest when I met you that we put you in the shoreline on the water and your excitement and love for the ocean came back. This is another shot from Maria of what you mentioned, selling a soda to one of the surfers, it says back in 65′-66′; even before the World Contest. When you started traveling, right, you have been to Australia, Hawaii, California and the Hatteras… First it was Australia, then California and Hawaii. Which was your favorite place? Hawaii, I really liked it. The waves and the people or what made you like it? Who was your favorite surfer at that time you said? Barry Kanuipuni, he surfs sunset only…Wow, many memories. Which was your favorite wave over there? Do you remember? Sunset, when its good, ohhhh….blue waters, offshore winds, wow, its beatiful… it’s something that you have to experience to be able to understand I’ve been in California and have been able to surf a lot the coast there but one of my dreams is to get soon to Hawaii.. This wave is at Hatteras, at North Carolina in the east coast. You were already surfing small boards there, did you like to get in the tube?? Wohoo, that I would leave for Lopez, Gerry Lopez, becuause he would get in the tube and never get out…Only after the spit came out. Awesome, thats the best feeling right? Yes, yes it is… I really like this shot, it was the second page of a Surfer Magazine right? Yes, it was the content page (laughs) Look at me there (laughs) At that time what type of music did you like, you look like a rock star? (laughs) Did you like rock music or what? Yes, I liked rock a lot, I like The Rollingstones. Really, thats Awesome.. Yes at that time it was my favorite. They are still very famous musicians, very good music… Wow! This picture if I’m not mistaken is at Sebastian or Cocoa Beach in Florida. I don’t remember correctly. But it’s pretty cool because it show your particular style; it showed you were already comfortable with yourself. And is this one in Puerto Rico or elsewhere? At Domes, no sorry, at Jobos in Isabela. t a party or sort of festival or a regular day? Well, I really like that pic and this other one ‘cause they show you have a particular style at the time… with your afro, with your friends… That one I think was near Isabela, right? As you had told me… I..I had just woke up … Just woke up? … Yes… Were you camping?.. Ah?.. Were you camping? yes, yes.. haha… Cool! … haha … At Isabela, what was your favorite wave? … At Isabela? yes… Jobos, Middles, we had Middles also… Yes, had short boards already so Middles was more… right? Yes… This is one of the last pics I wanted to show you, it’s one from Aníbal Santiago where boards were already much more modern… doing a bottom turn, pretty radical… Ehh… Other than that trip to the Republic (Dominican)… which other place you remember traveling?… You did Hawaii, the Republic…Florida, Florida… Florida, right? The Hatteras… and Australia? You did get to surf Australia, right?.. yes… and, did you like Australia? … I liked it but it was too cold… Too cold I guess, there were no wet suits yet? … We did use wet suit.. Do you remember where you surfed in Australia? …Bell’s Beach… Bell’s Beach? Wow!!!! The really long point..Waves were really long, right? .. yes… and which was your favorite in Hawaii??? … Sunset Beach… and…. That’s, that’s María’s right? María’s? It possibly is, it resembles the wave at María’s from the rock… oh… it really does! .. I couldn’t see it but now that you say it, it’s very possible.. What were your favorite conditions? You liked big waves, medium waves… Glassy waves with offshores at around 6-8 feet.. Wow, so you did like the power… Yes 4′ to 6 to 8 footers. That board and that picture look really cool.. Right? Yes it does look good..!! You had a well defined style. I’ve heard the story that Machuca, the surf spot and it’s name came out from a day that you surfed there so good that your buddies said it was: Machucas Garden. who was with you in those days? I was with Jose, that day we went searching for waves, we were in a Jeep, and when we found this spot… you know the river mouth over there, we surfed it, “La Boca”, first… Yes, at La Boca where most of the time the water is brown and a bit dirty..Then I came out for a it and walked around the corner and got surprised.. Wow.. what a cool place! And it was Machuca. I can really identify, because you still have to go through the river because that land there, where the “Machucas” wave is located is protected and is like a natural reserve, so they won’t build in that space so that will always remain like a natural spot… Like a garden, yes… Machucas Garden… I wanted to show you a video from an uncommon day that I went with a friend and surfed by myself the whole morning… and he had his cameras, and a drone.. the small helicopters… and we made a pretty cool surf video.. That.. that’s my shop, where I make my surfboard shapes.. Basically we documented the journey of getting to Machuca to the private land trails which opens during the weekends..This are their natural, well conserved lands.. look at the tide pools over there in the back.. Wow.. Wow.. Look, look at that wave… Thats me knee paddling the longboard… Ohh ohh ..Here a little bit of a nose ride… For me thats one of the most beautiful views and coastlines, that space is basically untouched… Look another nose ride… Did you like to nose ride yourself? Well.. No, not much really…But you had the ability to do it even switch stance right?… Yes, yes I did.. Because at that Crashboat photo you were nose riding switch stance with so much style!! Awesome, thats pretty cool..! That video was made with a friend of mine called Pitipua Productions and it came out good right? That place for us as surfers is still very special and its and honor, right, that it goes by your name.. ehhh…. that shows that your legacy is present, the people remembers… That it true..!! I will show you… I think I have another video from friends saying Hello…oh no.. look… this picture is from when I first had the opportunity to meet you; because I always heard the stories of Machuca and Jorge… and in the event in Rincón that you went we had the opportunity of hangin out with you, right… Nat young was there.. Fred Hemmings, Omar Foglia, Nestor Ramirez… lots of friends of yours right? Do you remember some of the local shapers?? …..(…)…we have to start again, you know, now I want and I would like to start again so that the people can see me in the beach once again..That is also part of the idea, I would like to come back one day and maybe take you to the beach or one day soon Because the idea of this project is that people can see and hear some of your stories… this little special anecdotes that you have shared with us from those pictures and those days… That day we took a very special picture…Ehh… (laughs) It’s pretty cool right?? Yes, yes it is..!! That’s you over there right??… Yes, there in the right corner (laughs) Yes, now I remember this photo… That was a picture with all local shapers… Ohh… That was a very cool day… give me a moment, I’ll try and go back for a sec.. We’ll, no… We were there with Nestor Ramirez, from Pelicano Surfboards.. Ernesto Zambrana, who was younger but has told me some stories about you… John Damm… good surfer right.?? Yes, yes he was… .. and Omar Foglia, he’s a good friend?… Yes… John Damm and Omar are welcome in my house anytime…I brought you a little surprise here in a little bit..ehh… I brought you some messages from some mutual friends that sent me something here for you… Hi Jorge! I love you very much and I m iss you very much. I’m sorry you can’t come now but I send you a very big hug and I always have you up here… Hehehe , how nice right? (Machuca in the background)… Hey Jorge! .. We love you, here from Rincón., visiting… take care! Surfing! Hahahaha.. How cool, right? I have this other one, which I think is one of the nicest videos…. I wrote to Omar (Foglia) and told him I was going to visit you so he sent some words for you and a story..short.. Good morning Jorge!… good morning Omar! Hahaha… Wait, wait..let’s start .. let’s start over… Good morning Jorge, don Jorge Machucha… hey hey… Here to say hi.. and send you a warm hug… from the distance… a life long friend.. a grommet who met you long time ago, I remember… I was just fifteen and they talked to me about Jorge Machuca..I was just beginning to surf and.. wondering who Machuca was… sitting there in Pine Grove I suddenly see this strong built guy who’s running towards the beach, lots of muscles with his afro… with a short board, at the time short boards had just started, and he was running shouting don’t rock my boat! Don’t rock my boat! Haha… and singing Surfing USA… and throws his board to the water, starts running, jumps on the board and does a 360! And me, just staring… I go, what’s that??!! The guy by me says: “That’s Machuca!”.. Since then, my admiration for you begun, my dear brother,….. But aside from all your talents, you taught me where could surfing take us, tricks and such… competitions… the most important thing you left in our hearts is your humbleness… competitions… the most important thing you left in our hearts is your humbleness… You always were and wanted to be one of us… no more than or less than, Nevertheless, you were the star, you were a Roberto Clemente… but you were always with us, so humble, I’m here, the same grommet, (laughs) a bit older…and, I wish I could be there now and give you a big hug, you know we always think about you… nd I wanted to show you something…here we are… this is another surprise he has… look, he’s going to show us his new shaping room… I wanted to show you something, Jorge..Here, now in my old days I decided to shape boards again..haha… but I want to show you something… here, in this poster, the same I had in my 70’s workshop… and here, in this corner, are you, and Stephanie… and you will always be here with me… watching from up there, making sure I do the railings correctly and put the fins where they’re supposed to be… and I’m sure I’m gonna hear you say “Hey Lampi! Lampi! Give it a bit more rocker!.. so, I also wanna show you is… here I am with some of my heroes from the time, here is Nay Young.. Fred Hemmings.. but here is, .. and it is when I was with you after so many years without seeing you after so many years… So… this workshop… I dedicate it to you…and… I hope to see you soon brother.. a very warm hug … from here, Kara, me and the girls from the distance but our hearts are in PR.. and we always admire you Jorge… a big hug..We love you… Hi Jorge, the surfer with many talents, board wizard, versatile and charismatic… Hi Jorge, the surfer with many talents, board wizard, versatile and charismatic… everybody’s friend… I congratulate you for being chosen as the first for the PR’s Surfing Hall of Fame .. Fred Hemmings is coming, the champion… Eric Nuuhiwa whom you remember liked to nose ride… and the Australian Nat Young.. to celebrate 50 years of the Rincon’s World Contest… The event is this Wednesday .. so cheer up and go… all us surfers want to see you there… a big hug from me, your buddy.. Jose… Well, Machuca… thanks so much for giving me the chance to chat with you… this project was sharing a bit of your stories … and… not to forget your legacy… Machuca, your beach, is still a protected beach; which you told us a few stories… and through this videos and stories I wanted to share with you the love and admiration your friends and we feel for you… …we would love you to start seeing once again close to the ocean, at the events, thank you so much for your time Jorge, it was a pleasure sharing this time with you.!! .


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