Surf created many winners

08:35 09 de mar├žo de 2022 Por Daniel Oiticica

Jaime Delgado was born in El Tunco, one of the most paradisiacal beaches in El Salvador and he always liked to surf. He began by receiving tourists in his own house and today he owns a complex of two hotels, a board factory and a shop dedicated to sports. On the walls of his local, in El Tunco, he proudly displays photos of surfing icons, signed by themselves, such as Adam Replogue and Sam Hammer, the unmistakable sign that Jaime is a sports man. Now, with the Surf City project he has good expectations to continue growing. In this interview he shows his vision about the development of surfing in El Salvador.

Jaime Delgado: "Now this administration noticed the potential of this beautiful activity". Photo: Fabio Lima.

How did Papaya Surf grow?
The best way to promote is word to mouth. My clients are touring Central America and they recommend me. Suddenly, someone appears here and says "hey, here is Papaya, someone sent me, so-and-so was here and told me that you are cool and all that." This is how we grew. I own two hotels, a well-established surfboard factory, a surf shop and experience organizing international surfing events. I always keep in my mind to continue growing.

Which is the importance of Surf City for the growth of the sport?
People said that surfing was never going to be able to federate, and I made it happen. I was part of the community development of El Tunco, founder of Adesco (Associations for Community Development). I am currently a member of Adesco in the East area. I have tried to get involved in everything related to sport. I have advised the Ministry of Tourism on surfing issues, attended shows, conventions, showing people and tourism service providers that El Salvador has a lot of potential in sport. And now this administration noticed the potential of this beautiful activity. Many are jealous because they think surfing is only about waves and they make a mistake. This is a win-win project model. Surfing means a source of income for the transportation industry, restaurants, lodgings, artisans, food service providers, service providers of office equipment, refrigeration, heating, etc. There is tourism for meetings, conventions, and all that. Surfing goes a long way.

Which are the advantages El Salvador has on the subject of surfing?
I brought the topic of surfing in every convention, in every tourism event. I visited about 30 countries and as a surfer I was able to notice out potential, the quality of the waves, the ease of everything. We have an airport 30 minutes away, the capital city 30 minutes away and world class waves every 5 or 10 minutes. Why not take advantage of this resource? 95% of the beaches in El Salvador are suitable for practicing sport. One of the pending task is further promotion and support in infrastructure, electrification, good streets, security, environmental issues and equipment to all the beaches, so that people can also visit them. To invite our friends, you first need to clean the house.

What is the recipe for a good development of the surf industry?
There are things that must be worked on with the communities, especially with the communities that have had experience in the development of this activity. Sports pioneers, national and foreign icons, that in some way deserve recognition because they trusted sports, and this activity. And today this is a State project. For surfing to be a total success, it also has to be sustainable. You have to be very careful with development. I really like Hawaii, because they have the same history as us. They fight for their culture, for their traditions and the subject of surfing is something very big there.