Support our GoFundMe for Sindy here.
There was one local woman out in the lineup at Las Flores in El Salvador.
You couldn’t miss her.
Perched at the nose of her board, with her shoulders back and hands behind her waist on one of the biggest waves that wrapped through the point that day, she had a huge smile on her face.
Her name is Sindy Portillo. She’s seventeen, and her dream is to represent El Salvador in surfing competitions around the planet.
We were there shooting our latest release, Alternativa, starring Kassia Meador, Leah Dawson, and Lola Mignot. Our intention was to profile three women who are leading surfing into the future on their own terms. We wanted to better understand their approach to life and the example they set by simply being themselves. We also wanted to meaningfully engage El Salvador’s beautiful culture, and when we met Sindy, the goal posts shifted.
“She had the biggest smile on her face,” said Leah Dawson “You couldn’t not see her. We were communicating back and forth really finding out about women and life in El Salvador, and by day three or four of our trip, we realized that Sindy was the purpose of our trip.”
“For many, it’s difficult to be a woman in El Salvador,” Sindy told us. “Women work and struggle to make a living. It’s not easy most of the time. My dream is to be a longboard champion and represent El Salvador and Las Flores all of the time.”
So we figured, let’s do it. Let’s see if we can help make a young woman’s dreams come true and support the women’s surfing community of El Salvador in the process. It was hard to believe that she literally is the only local girl who surfs in her community. The waves are very good. And women surf there daily. They’re just all visitors.
So brainstorming with Kassia, Leah, and Lola, we decided to set up a GoFundMe to send Sindy to Mexico to represent her country and compete alongside her heroes at the annual Mexi-Log Fest. In just two days, we hit our goal. We can’t thank you enough for your support. And our friends at Global Surf Industries offered to donate longboards and soft tops to help support the burgeoning women’s surfing community in El Salvador. As Sindy told us, “I would like for more girls to surf with me. The more local girls who surf, the more respect we’ll get as girls. That would be incredible.”
Our GoFundMe is still live, and any additional money we raise will go first to purchasing more clean water filters to be distributed in the local community by Leah’s Changing Tides Foundation and next to help develop the women’s surfing community in Sindy’s hometown.
“The seed is planted,” said Kassia Meador. “Now it’s just going to sprout.”