The Queer Long Boarder from Saladita
Outdoor Lover, LuisFer

Can you tell us about yourself and your story
My name is Luis Fernando Sanchez but friends call me Fer or LuisFer. I'm from a little town called Los Llanos in Guerrero, Mexico, just a few minutes from la Saladita Beach.

What’s your personal relationship with nature? When did you realize it was so important to you?
I'm from a small town of just a few hundred people. I grew up playing in the rivers, hiking, having cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, ducks, and always being outside. Now that I've had the opportunity to go Mexico City and travel some, I've realized that I need to be amongst nature or I'm not well. Being in the water, active, and outside is my life.

When and where did you learn to surf? 
I learned to surf here in la Saladita, Mexico, about 6 years when I was 18, kind of late in life compared to a lot of my friends now. 

As a queer identifying surfer in a heteronormative sport have you been welcomed? Tell us about your experience. 
It was hard at first being gay in the water. There was a good amount of homophobic comments but with time I've been in the water everyday, not backing down, and improving my surf and no one can really say anything now. There is still the occasional visitor, or group of visitors, that makes comments or has a really outdated macho bro view of surf, but I can honestly say I have the support here of the Saladita community, wonderful friends, and I know also the support of the LGBTQ community.

Is there a local queer surf community?
Yes, I started surfing with two other gay friends from Los Llanos. They aren't surfing as much anymore but we really supported each other at first. There are gay and lesbian couples living in Saladita and a lot of gay surfers that come through. Honestly it is a pretty progressive and supportive town.

What does it mean to you to represent the LGBTQ+ community? 
I love that we are unique and we can embrace that we are special in a way that unites us. 

How can we celebrate Pride Month in a way that is inclusive and respectful in the global surf community?
I think by continuing to share our stories and our voices, diverse as they are and being empathetic between ourselves.

What encouragement would you give to other LGBTQ+ people who are looking to surf and connect with nature?
I would just say if you love something, if it excites you, follow it without worrying whether you fit in or what the reaction of others would be. 

When did the hola-hooping on a board start?
I loved hula when I was younger, before I started surfing, and I just thought it would be fun to try, to do something different. Its actually pretty hard, but it was fun. When I started wanting to compete I focused more on a classic longboard style, but the hula is super fun.

What time of day so you most like to be out on the water?
It depends a bit on the wave. Generally here in the morning the wave is at its best but I love the sunsets in Saladita and there is a fun vibe in the water amongst the locals that happens in the afternoon.

What are you doing to help protect the natural aquatic environment
Honestly in a lot of small towns here we don't grow up with a lot of knowledge on what to do with waste, if we can recycle, and compost. It might be old news a lot of places, but waste management here, picking up at the beach, recycling is something we are just working on. Our town is growing fast and taking care of our natural environment is essential. Learning about natural products, organic alternatives to many of the products we use, is also new. I hope to be part of that change in Saladita.

Are you aware that chemical sunscreens endanger reefs and aquatic ecosystem?
Yes I do, from documentaries I've seen online.

What’s your ideal #outwithutu adventure?
I dream of visiting the coast of Morocco and surfing one day.

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