In Summer of 2018, The Inertia traveled to El Salvador with Kassia Meador, Leah Dawson, and Lola Mignot, three outstanding women who are inspiring the next generation of ocean lovers through their alternative approach to both surfing and life. Each has developed a powerful voice in surfing and has managed to do so on her own terms.
“We’re in a very powerful time in history,” said Leah Dawson. “I’ve felt for a long time that the women’s story has been a bit misguided by the men that have run the surf industry. I feel like for myself, I have a duty to nurture our culture, because I love it so much. Because it’s given me so much happiness and opportunity throughout my life that I feel like a mother. I want to be a mother of our surf culture, because we need as many mothers as we can get.”
“To any of the young girls out there or even to women getting into surfing at a later time in their life, it’s such an empowering tool,” said Kassia Meador. “It’s something that’s so beautiful to gain your own personal energy and strength and push yourself and own every aspect of yourself. Surfing helps give you the tools to navigate that and navigate life in different ways.”
While surfing in Las Flores, we had the good fortune of meeting Sindy Portillo, the only local female surfer in her community.
“Pretty much on the first day we met Sindy out in the water,” said Dawson. “She had the biggest smile on her face. 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 of 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,” said Sindy. “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.”
Thursday, we’ll launch Alternativa on The Inertia for all to see, and as part of the project’s launch, we’re also launching a GoFundMe to make Sindy’s dreams come true. We’re hoping to raise enough money for her to represent El Salvador and participate in the Mexi Log Fest with Kassia, Leah, and Lola next year.
All photos by Connor Guest and Ryan Trautwein.