Surfing isn’t widely understood—or even entirely legal—in Cuba, but that doesn’t stop these dedicated wave-riders
Lying in bed, Ariel Boschem is kept awake by a faint, rhythmic rumble. Storm-charged waves have begun their assault on the decaying sea wall known as the Malecón, which stretches along five miles of the Havana coast. The sound of the crashing surf echoes through the concrete highrise he calls home. Quick-tongued and tattooed, Boschem is the local surf report, and per instruction, he must call his best friend, Frank, to tell him that quality waves have finally arrived.
Before the sun rises, Boschem—a 20-something Havana native—sets in motion the word-of-mouth broadcast, then hustles out the door and onto a crowded bus destined for the rocky shore of Playa 70. As he shuffles his patched and tattered board through the bus doors, he’s greeted with a familiar mix of confusion and disbelief.