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Roxel Perez Becomes first woman president of the Oaxaca State Surfing Association


Translation: Heido Sundstrom

Nationally recognized Bodyboarder, Roxel Perez, is a woman of strong character with a lot of energy and intense emotions. She is a businesswoman, wife, and mother and has now taken on another great responsibility—being the leader of the Oaxaca State Surfing Association. We’re also witnessing a first in Mexico’s history, as Roxel Perez becomes the first woman to take on such a role in the surfing world, showing that Oaxaca continues to bring new and innovative ideas by rotating and leaving direction in new and very capable hands. Planeta Surf caught up with Perez recently and here’s what she had to say about her new position.


1. How long have you been bodyboarding?
For the last 18 years or so.

2. Have you ever been National Champion?
Yes, just once, when I won first place in the Puerto Escondido National.


3. How were the elections and how did you get elected President?
There were two meetings; the first one was on the beach and only a few surfers attended. But that meeting was just to spread the word about the second meeting, which was very well prepared by Adrian Davo and Edwin Morales, who chose a very nice and comfortable lounge. The meeting began on time and members present were given all the necessary information.

The meeting was convened through social networks and the majority of those present included young surfers and bodyboarders.

I was a little sad that my adult counterparts were not as responsible or committed to their partnership and that they weren’t there to participate. On the other hand, I was very happy to see that so many young people attended to give their opinion and participate.


4. Who is on the board?
Humberto Olvera is Vice President and Manager of the Association, Soledad Fernandez is Secretary, Citlalli Calleja is a Councilwoman and the official Spokesperson, Christian Corzo is the Treasurer, Alejandro de la Torre is the Delegate, surf events and public relations, Cesar Garcia is a Councilman and the youngest member on the team, Jose Ramirez is the Head Judge, Edwin Morales is in charge of Press and the Media, Roger Ramirez is in charge of Public Relations and Imaging, and Silvestre Raribay is an Honorary Member, as he was one of the founders of the first Oaxaca State Surfing Association. There’s also multi-champion, Heriberto Ramirez, who agreed to participate and support the Association with all his experience.


5. Your term lasts two years, is that correct? What are your plans in two years since, I believe, the term is four years in other Associations?
I think four years is too long, so we’re going for periods and will hold elections to see if we will continue or change positions. There’s a lot of projects on the horizon and among the most important are the studies in coordination with professionals from the Universidad del Mar so we can know for sure how to stop the deterioration of our beaches and implement measures (with study in hand) to help protect what’s left of them.

We also want to take a regular census and train surf instructors so that surf lessons in Oaxaca are of quality.

We would also love to host the World Bodyboarding Championship again and at least one big surf contest.


In Puerto Escondido, we have the Junior National in October and will once again be part of the organizational side of the event.
Also, returning frequently (at lease once a month, we hope) are the small, local events that are so important to improve the level of competition.

We want to have a complete registry of Association affiliates, promote surf clubs and have events in other localities in coordination with surfers and bodyboarders throughout the Oaxacan coast. I can keep giving examples of things to do but there are so many ideas and a lot of work to do!

We have the full support of municipal authorities, which is very beneficial because without support of the government, things move slower.


6. You’re going down in history as the first woman in that position and it’s a challenge as well as a commitment, what does that mean for you?
I’ve been fortunate to be on two boards of directors, one right after the other, so the challenge and commitment aspect of it is already ingrained in me! I hope to follow up the work that has been done for years but, above all, I want to show that the work we do must be done by several people working together. Don’t think of me as “the President” but as a team in which we are all pulling together and that everything that is done has implications, not only for now, but for a long time to come.


7. What do you think are the obstacles to overcome?
The terrible division that exists between surfers, since feuds and grudges only weaken and delay the progress of surfing.


8. Would you like to one day be the President of the Mexican Federation of Surfing?
Sure, why not?


9. How did you get involved in the organization and who were your mentors?
I worked on my first board of directors when Joe Estrada was President and he, along with Brandy White, taught me a lot in terms of public relations, the organization of mass events, physical work, and the challenges and commitments that you gain from being part of a working team.

10. How many kids do you have and what are you dedicated to professionally?
I have two daughters, Joy (7) and Romy (2). I’ve been a Bodyboarder in Puerto Escondido since 1996 and we run the Bazar Puerto Escondido, which is a craft shop on Zicatela beach. (http://puertoescondidogosurfing.com/?lang=es)


11. What would you say to the girls that have started or want to start practicing the sport of surfing?
That it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me! And that they should see it as a healthy lifestyle that helps you to focus on taking care of your body and mind. I’m happy because here in Puerto Escondido, there’s a new generation with a lot of girls that are starting to surf from an early age and that put the name of Puerto Escondido and of Mexico on high.

12. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
Yes, I want to thank God for giving me this beautiful life, to be able to surf every day and for having a husband that’s a super good surfer, who has supported me in everything and who I really admire, on and off the water.