The Resano Girls & Cheboards
“My scariest big wave situation was a few years ago at Popoyo. I was so scared. I kept telling my dad I had to go feed the bunny because she was hungry! (Laughs). I caught this huge one and the I fell. An even bigger one came out the back and I dove under but it pulled me back. It took me down really deep and it was really turbulent at the surface of the water and I couldn’t get to the top. I was running out of air, my lungs were hurting so bad. Suddenly I saw a hand and it pulled me out of the water. I gasped for breath, but there was still another wave so I went under again. I sat in the channel for a while and then went out for my last wave.” Valentina Resano, 11 years old.
It’s a rare occasion that an 11-year old girl calls you off a 12’ set wave. Yet that’s exactly what happened during a large swell in July at Panga Drops in Nicaragua. Playa Colorado was too big and Popoyo was too far to travel with the remaining light in the day, so we walked 10 minutes north of Hacienda Iguana to surf the Sunset-esque outside reef of Panga.
The few tourists surfers were being washed through the shifty line-up and only occasionally would someone luck into a wave. Amongst all the moving water however, with every proper set wave that approached, 2 tiny blonde girls were always in perfect position. With their head down scraping into the peak, not only would they take off deeper, they’d rip the wave to the inside shorebreak. Had I done my research on heavy locals, I would have expected to see these young ladies. Having not, I was baffled.
The logo on their surfboards, however, was familiar. The girls’ boards were made by our good friend, Juan Diego Evangelista, from Cheboards. JD introduced us to Valentina and Candelaria Resano.
We followed up with JD and Valentina to find out what’s required to build high-performance shortboards for tiny surfers.
JD, “I had heard about Valentina (and her sister Cande) because she had been doing well in local contests. One afternoon I was working on a board in our factory when I got a friend request on Facebook from their dad. We made some boards for them and starting surfing together and the relationship has been really rewarding.”
Valen, “I love working with him (JD) because he treats me like a pro. He is always there for me when I need equipment. As soon as I ask for a new shape he’ll start off right away. He is also such a humble and nice guy, he is really open to new ideas for the boards and, listens super attentively to my feedback. It’s a pleasure to work with him.”
JD, “She likes flexible, light boards. Because she’s so small, we always calculate the weight of the materials to the last gram. This board is 4´9” x 15 7/8” x 1 3/4”. It’s very lightweight, 1055 grams (2.33 lbs), and very flexible. It has a thick, round tail with a single to double concave. It has subtle rocker because of its length. I layer 4oz on the bottom. We used carbon patches to reinforce the tail. The wide tail helps her to do close turns and gain speed on short distances.”
Valen, “The ideal conditions for the board are small steep waves. I don’t ride big waves on the board because it’s super fragile, so if any big wave falls on that board… I’m doomed! I really love the board because it is as light as a feather and I feel like I can do just about anything I think about. The board is so easy to move, you can fit a turn in anywhere. The glass is very thin so I can really sink my front foot into the board and i feel like i’m a part of the board. It was my magic board, and I had so many good contests with it.”
Valen, “It’s really cool to have a sister that surfs. She really pushes me to get better and she is fun to be with sometimes. The problem is when she beats me in comps (not often). She’ll rub in my face for a whole week and she’ll tell everybody in sight. I am never scared for her because I know she’s strong and that she can take just about anything. She’s pretty good with bigger waves so I’ve never had to rescue her or anything. Cande is definitively my biggest competitor, not because we surf at the same level, but because I always want to be a lot better than her. I know she’ll always look for the minor chance to prove me wrong so I do my best.”
“We surf almost everyday, usually in the afternoons after school for a few hours. On weekends we’ll surf when ever it’s good. We do a ton of other sports too; silks, dance, taekwondo, tennis, soccer, horseback riding, and yoga. We also do functional fitness to practice coordination for surfing. We use the same training system as Mick Fanning and Steph Gilmore.”
Valen, “Living in Nicaragua is awesome. The surf is really consistent, you know you will always be able to surf. There is almost always off-shore winds, sometimes even too strong. The more time that goes by the more groms that come down to surf. It’s also cool because I can enter big competitions, like the ISA and stuff. It’s a really neat life that I truly enjoy and I wouldn’t want to change it.”
JD, “Costa Rica has such fun surf for all ability levels, warm water, and great hospitality. I’d encourage anyone to come vacation, get to know this great country, and surf some amazing waves. Rather than the hassle of traveling with boards, you can just order a Che Board and we’ll have it ready when you arrive! Also make sure to check out our new shop in Tamarindo!”