5000-year-old surfboard design

Peruvians take to Noosa waves on ancient surfboards

A GROUP of Peruvians may have attracted some weird looks from Noosa surfers out at First Point this morning as they hit waves on boards made from reeds.

The boards, known as caballito, have a history that can be traced back over 3500 years and take a bit more skill to ride than your average mini-mal.

Huanchaco World Surfing Reserve member and caballito expert Carlos Antonio Ferrer said the boards were built entirely out of reeds that grew in swampy pond water in Peru.

He said he and his team had bought two surfboard bags full of the special reeds to construct a caballito in Australia and surf them at different events including the Noosa Festival of Surfing.

"This is the first time ever we've made callabitos out of Peru," he said.

"It takes over a year to grow it and harvest and when it's done they dry for a month and then they are built in about an hour and half and are ready to go."

Mr Ferrer said the boards were more difficult to ride compared to modern surfboards but a few of the Australians that had given it a try had done quite well.

"It can be hard to ride but it depends on the experience of the surfer," he said.

"We built one in Bondi Beach and one of the lifeguards rode it straight away and Sally Fitzgibbons (professional surfer) got it right away too."

The delegation of Peruvian surfers had travelled up the east coast of New South Wales and Queensland promoting the caballito with Noosa their last stop before heading home.

"It has been fantastic," Mr Ferrer said.

"We started at Bondi Beach and had a great welcoming committee with beautiful elder aboriginal people and then we went to Crescent Head and had 100 kids from the primary school and they were thrilled with the making of the callabito. From there we went to Yamba and Byron and then we arrived here in Noosa where we are happy to be."

Mr Ferrer said Carlos "Huevito" Ucanan, known as the "king of the caballitos", had managed to paddle into a few waves at Noosa this morning and the group were hoping to get a few more before they left on Monday.

The public can check out the caballito and watch a demonstration of how it's surfed tomorrow at 5.30pm down at the Noosa Festival of Surfing Village at First Point, Noosa.

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