The container full of donated surf gear that barely made it to Peru

May 9, 2017 | Surfing
Peru: land of fantastic waves and warm people | Photo: Surfers for Surfers

Never before has the Surfers for Surfers Foundation faced this many challenges on one mission.

Clearing the freight container from harbor customs turned into an exhausting trip that cost the team greatly. However, after three months of extremely hard work and perseverance, the team managed to get it done - a miracle some say.

Almost 1,000 items have finally been released from custody and are now ready to be distributed amongst the 21 selected surf organizations along the Peruvian coast.

It would be an understatement to say that things didn't go according to plan. Due to heavy floods, the once very cooperative authorities suddenly had to shift their priorities. Entire areas of Peru have washed away, submerged and unreachable, many of those areas included locations where the donations should have gone to.

To make matters worse, the whole team eventually faced illness due to a lack of clean drinking water, even four days with no water at all. 

All of this resulted in frustration, but above all, it triggered a feeling of despair. Something the team fought with daily trying to remain positive with a clear end goal in sight: "No matter what it takes, these donations will get a new life here in Peru; it can't be for nothing."

Mother Nature wasn't the only one making this a tough mission. A combination of small mistakes with official paperwork snowballed resulting in time consuming and expensive consequences.

Peru: checking the surf gear at the customs | Photo: Surfers for Surfers

What should have been a distribution trip alongside the coast, turned out to be a one location maze and back-and-forth game.

The team had to stay in a hostel in Lima throughout the entire duration of the trip, spending hours and hours in taxis to customs, local services and ministers trying to negotiate the release of the container. All the time the costs kept on rising. 

When boarding the plane to return home after one month all that was left was unfinished business and disbelief: "How on earth didn't this work?

But after a few incredulous nights, the fires were reignited. "This project has to succeed!" They picked up the phone and fired off the emails.

Finally, a message from the harbor customs of Lima arrived: "Levante Autorizado" - the container had been cleared. 

In reality, it is the first container to be allowed into the country in 10 years, and the only one cleared so quickly. A special moment and a relief, but above all, a very convincing start for the foundation in Peru.

Words by Surfers for Surfers

SurferToday uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. More info: