Local Riders Los Roques
Diony Guadagnino (AHD / Loftsails) had started an extremely worthy cause in Los Roques, Venezuela, which aims to promote a healthy lifestyle to the islands kids, while keeping them away from the lure of drugs, which is a habitual problem. We recently caught up with Diony to find out more about his new initiative. You can find out more about Local Riders Los Roques below:
Can you explain in short what your project is about?
Local Riders Los Roques is about supporting kids of the community with a vision to create a healthy mind linked with water sports. Los Roques suffers badly with drug trafficking, which is obviously is a huge problem. We need to fight back with our project to keep the health of the Archipelago in good hands. Thankfully Sports and Nature combined is the number 1 cure against these negative problems.
Why did you start this project?
I started this because when I was a kid, beautiful people gave me the opportunity and helped me to get into the sport. They directed me through what I can say at my own experience into the correct path in life which was windsurfing and beach culture. The healthy lifestyle became our daily life and it has given me everything, thankfully.
So I wanted to give the same opportunity to the ‘local riders’. Otherwise I was going to feel selfish. So I want to give the opportunity to the 700 kids of this BLESSED and MAGICAL Archipelago called Los Roques.
How do you fund all the gear and who is helping you with giving windsurf/kitesurf and surf lessons?
I donated everything myself; over $12,000 - gear between kids equipment, wave and some slalom, surf- and paddle boards.
This all started a few years ago when I began to send all the gear little-by-little to Los Roques on the artisanal fishing boats. Thanks to them they supported us to transport the gear to the Archipelago, which is a difficult thing.
My good friend Oscar Cisneros is a local surfer and windsurfer, he helped me teaching the kids and trying to educate them when I was not there.
It was a challenge because in the lagoon of the main Island called Gran Roque suddenly all the kids wanted to windsurf and paddle! There was just not enough gear for them all, we needed to change something and make a plan. So every kid could attend, we had to make sure not one kid was being left out. In the meantime there were 700 kids in the Archipelago!
After the first Beach Culture World Tour (BCWT) I organised, thanks to Brian Talma who came to show us his vision, the waterman event, which was a complete success! Since the first BCWT in 2017 we had the entire community backing us up, between all the native fishermen, hotels, local businesses and restaurants!
The second year we had more support from the industry; Adventure Sports, (JP & Neilpryde), Nahskwell Foil & SUP. AHD Boards and pro windsurfers Deivis Paternina & Brian Talma started to also support the kids with gear, I’m very sure more and more will be supporting this project.
Which goals do you want to achieve?
We simply want to create a vision and path for all our kids with equal opportunities for them to accomplish there dreams in life. This will make Los Roques a healthier and safer environment. Our main goal is for them to become professional athletes (watermen) Olympic Athletes and also professional instructors as the Archipelago of Los Roques offers world class conditions for all water sports and disciplines!
I’m forever thankful to all the amazing individuals that form part of this amazing project:
Oscar Cisneros, Jhossua Montilla, Carolina Chopite, Brian Talma, Joseph Topel, Javier Salazar, Vivi Narvaez, Teresa Salazar, Enielito Narvaez.
Are there already local riders that have already potential to be on the PWA World Tour?
Yes, guaranteed! We already have a couple of kids that absolutely rip in the waves and started to do freestyle. They already do aerials, one handed aerials, backloops, flakas, forward loops and they are trying goiters, 360's and takas.! The kids are also good surfers and fishermen; outstanding kids that learn to do everything themselves.
Why do you like this so much?
This is what LIFE is about! Giving from your HEART is LIVING, receiving is a BLESSING...but taking breaks the HARMONY and MAGIC!
Tell us some stories about the local kids?
There are a few stories. This one isn’t a funny story, but just things that happen during the week. Sometimes the kids stay out till dark windsurfing between the Islands and we all got very worried. There can be speedboats on the water with no navigation lights on, they sometimes crash into each other. That’s why I always tell the kids to at least sail together, just in case something happens. But they are kids and have no fear at all! Because I started this project, I am the one the parents look for. Thank God they always come back safe!
Another story about an 8 year old kid. We were surfing with all the kids at the point one day. It’s a point break full of coral and fire coral with loads of sea urchins. There was one very young kid, about 8 years old, surfing. At one moment most of us went out to our surf shack to take a break and eat lunch in the shade. At this surf point there is only one safe exit, as everywhere else it’s like a 'death path’ with razor sharp reef and waves breaking. This 8 year old kid came straight through the ‘death path’ on a foamy wave under his surfboard and laying on it all the way up until he was safe…instead of exiting the safe path, this kid was nuts, when he showed the bottom of his board there were no fins anymore and peaces of coral were stuck under his board. He was so lucky to not to get hurt. It was at that moment I understood how the kids of local riders were destroying all the gear so rapidly that was given to them when they where learning, but now as they have more level they are learning that the more they take care of the gear the longer they can be on the water.
Good luck with the Local Riders at your home spot and we hope to see one of your local kids on tour one day!
From the entire Local Riders family we thank you for this opportunity and we hope to be on the PWA World Tour one day very soon!
You can see a video featuring the Diony and the kids of Los Roques @ https://youtu.be/JNFgcUIog6o to learn more about this fantastic initiative.