Surfing to survive

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

To some, a film named Las Chulas starring young women surfers in El Salvador may conjure up scenes of a flotilla of bikinied, bronze beach bunnies.

No way, says Brendan Kiernan, the producer/writer of the documentary in progress. He and his partner Frank Pickell of Rattlecan production studio in Boulder, Colo., describe the storyline as “a character-driven documentary about coming of age and finding a place in post-civil war El Salvador.”

The film follows three women: Maria, 18; Yoselin, 15; and Erika, 14, and as they navigate the challenges of living amid gang violence, drug use and poverty. Residing in a coastal town near La Libertad, the women discover surfing as a way out of despair and a spark for the courage to pursue their highest dreams.

“We focused on this subject because of their audacious ambitions. Surfing in Salvador, and the tourists that go there for it, has been male dominated,” says Kiernan.  “We were really impressed and inspired by their courage.”

Maria’s (nicknamed La Chula) ambition is to become a computer engineer. Another wants to start a school for surfing. “They may be diminutive, but they have the fight of tigers, and know what they want to accomplish” Kiernan says.

You may not see the documentary on your local screen for a while.

“We want to follow the girls through their graduation from high school,” Kiernan says. In addition, the filmmakers are currently looking for funding to finish their project.

To view the a Las Chulas trailer, visit the company’s Web site at


You must be logged in to post a comment Login