Cabarete, Dominican Republic has been long renowned for its ideal wind conditions. However, we also receive a consistent Atlantic swell, providing waves roughly 350 days a year! These world-class waves attract surfers from all over the globe to this charming little town on the north coast. Despite Cabarete’s small size, it is bursting with incredibly talented and interesting individuals and has been the training ground for many successful athletes over the years. One of these incredibly talented and interesting individuals is Pedro Fernandez, one of Cabarete’s most beloved surfers.
Growing up in Santo Domingo on the south coast, Pedro was always attracted to extreme sports and spent most of his time at the local skate park. He noticed the surfers shredding the local break and, at the age of 9, he swapped his skateboard for a surfboard and learned to surf. As Pedro merged into the surf crowd, the young adventurer started hearing about this town called Cabarete, which offered far superior conditions compared to the south side. So when some fellow groms invited him on a trip north, he was thrilled to surf a new spot. Little did anyone know, this would change his life forever. This discovery led to many trips back and forth to Playa Encuentro, where he progressed most.
At just 11 years old, Pedro took part in his first competition in Santo Domingo where he placed 3rd in the juniors! Since then, he has collected an impressive list of results and titles including Master Of The Ocean Surf Champion, National Junior and Open Champion, and high rankings in World Surf Events. The most memorable event for Pedro was the World Surf League Event in Chile in 2009 where he caught some of the best barrels during his heat and could hear the commentators talking about the Dominican Republic, making him and everyone at home proud. This particular moment fueled his appetite for competition and desire to represent the Dominican Republic in surf competitions around the world.
That being said, competing hasn’t always easy for Pedro. Funding plays a huge role in following the World Tour and other significant competitions, which can be a drawback, but his passion has always helped him keep his head above water. His perseverance and talent led to being signed by the commercial whiskey brand “Dewars White Label” in 2009, which afforded Pedro the platform he needed to keep sharing his talent, and even resulted in some acting and modeling. Bonus! In 2010, Pedro worked with Villa Taina and Ivan Herrera, the Dominican Republic’s first professional surfer, to put together a fitness workshop meant to improve the abilities and performance of surfers. This venture was quite popular at the time and provided Pedro and fellow pro surfer, Manuel Selman, the strength and confidence they needed to continue in the World Surf League.
Since then, Pedro has traveled the globe surfing flawless waves, meeting inspirational people, and making irreplaceable friends, for which he is incredibly grateful. Still, there’s no place like home, and the familiar waves and positive vibes of Cabarete always bring him back. Alongside training and competition, Pedro now shares his passion through coaching others at Encuentro and has learned a lot for himself. Inspired by his hero and local community mentor, Papo Sone, one of the best fighters on the Island and owner of Jiu Jitsu de la Costa, Pedro has also been brainstorming with surfers from various countries and working on a program to improve surfing in the Dominican Republic. His goal is to use his connections and friends in the surf industry to help the locals follow their dreams, just as he did, by making surfing more affordable and accessible. Outside of surfing, Pedro has been working with Waves 4 Water, an organization dedicated to providing clean drinking water to communities in need around the globe. For the past three years, he has traveled all over the Island doing his part to ensure the people of our country have access to potable drinking water.
As we write this article, Pedro is representing his country and training hard in California until December when he will return to Cabarete. We can’t wait to admire his smooth and impressive surf skills during our swell season! He plans to spend some time working on PF Surf Camp, his business which offers surf trips, surf training, and surf coaching. Oh and with the exciting announcement that surfing is now an Olympic Sport in the 2018 games, Pedro will be working to get on board with the Dominican Republic Federation to organize and assist with curating a Dominican surf team for the Olympics.
Pedro is grateful for his sponsors Lost Surfboards, Electric Visual, Boardstix, and thankful for his family and friends who have supported him all these years. Having known Pedro for so many years, our hotel is proud of what he has accomplished and excited to see what the future holds. If you see Mr. Fernandez on the beach, don’t be afraid to say hello, or even ask for some top surf tips! We can assure you he will happily oblige.