Surf Cerrito was founded in November 2021 by Brayan Hilario and Daisy Hill-Norton. Brayan, a professional surf instructor from Cerrito de la Virgen, wanted to share his love for surfing with the children from his community so that they can reap the same benefits he gains from the sport. Daisy, from the UK, was also keen to share her love of the water and surfing with the kids of Cerrito de la Virgen, hoping to use surfing to create connections with nature, mental health and one another.
Initially, it was almost impossible to convince the parents to allow their children to go surfing, as it is not a common sport amongst the families of Cerrito, and many had never entered the water, despite living minutes from the sea.
Surfing has a particular connection to this part of the world, as it is argued that the first evidence of surfing has been found in Huanchaco, the town next to Cerrito, nearly 5000 years ago. The ancient fishermen surfed their caballitos de totora (reed boats) into the beach of Huanchaco after hauling in their catches. Therefore, we believe that it is essential that the local children have the opportunity to access a sport that was first practised by some of their ancestors.
After two months of successfully running weekly surf classes which increased in popularity each week, with the help of the Founder Family, we built a Surf Academy in the heart of Cerrito de la Virgen, where we could run our sessions and store our surf kit. Since then, we have built a fully equipped bathroom and outdoor platform to allow expansion of the classes. We now have 30 kids regularly attending our surf lessons, and have started to offer alternative classes within our Academy to increase our reach within the community.
We hope to introduce even more children to the sea and increase our positive impact within the community of Cerrito de la Virgen.
'Sharing the waves of Huanchaco, a World Surf Reserve'
1. We hope to one day have an International Surf Champion from Cerrito de la Virgen.
2. We aim to give every child from Cerrito de la Virgen the opportunity to experience the incredible benefits of the ocean by learning to surf the waves of Huanchaco; a World Surf Reserve.
Empowering the young people of the North Peruvian community of Cerrito de la Virgen and beyond through surfing.
Where are we?
The heart of Surf Cerrito is in Cerrito de la Virgen, a community on the outskirts of Huanchaco, a World Surf Reserve on the north coast of Peru. The majority of the inhabitants of Cerrito de la Virgen arrived seeking refuge after being displaced by the El Niño phenomenon of 1997/8. When they arrived at Cerrito, each family was given a small piece of land, limited food and materials to help construct their new homes. There was no running water or sewage system when they arrived over two decades ago, and the situation has not changed since despite countless promises made by the local government to install these basic essentials.
Cerrito de la Virgen is a very welcoming community that has supported our work since the beginning, and invites people in with open arms, despite facing difficult living conditions. We hope that through Surf Cerrito, we can unite the community even more and encourage the children of today to be positive and influential leaders of tomorrow, to lead the people of their community in developing their town and surrounding communities into places that foster positive change and promising futures.
Huanchaco, which boasts world class waves, is located a 10 minute drive from Cerrito. It is a hotspot for travelling surfers and is home to world class ceviche restaurants, funky hostels and a laid-back vibe that often traps wandering travellers. Located a 20 minute drive from Trujillo, Peru’s third largest city, it is easily accessible by bus or plane from almost anywhere in Peru.
Meet the Team
Here is our wonderful team that make the magic happen