The less traveled road brought me to live in a small coastal town in Chile, where I met my friend Majo. Chile is renowned for its diverse and stunning coastline, offering a wide range of waves for water sport enthusiasts. It is a very long country, where the Pacific Ocean pounds the coastline with cold water waves year-round. Spots like Pichilemu and Punta de Lobos have gained international recognition for their quality surf waves. Punta de Lobos, in particular, is famous for its massive and challenging waves, making it a popular destination for big wave surfers.
Chile's coastline provides excellent opportunities for surf, stand up paddling and other water sports. SUP surfing in particular has gained popularity in recent years, but isn’t yet mainstream in the area. That's why seeing Majo charging cold, heavy waves by herself caught my attention right away. She is soft spoken, seems to always be in a good mood, and loves riding any kind of board including surfboards, snowboards, skateboards, and - of course - SUP boards. She is the only SUP surfing woman I know here in Chile, and has no fear in charging big swells.
Majo's love for the outdoors and her passion for water sports is deeply rooted in her connection with nature and the profound experiences it offers. From an early age, she immersed herself in the natural world, observing its beauty, and feeling a sense of belonging within it. She recognizes and appreciates the cyclical nature of life, understanding that everything follows a pattern of growth, change, and renewal.
One of Maria Jose's greatest loves is the ocean with its dynamic energy. She finds herself captivated by the sight of the waves crashing forcefully on the shore, as it emanates a powerful energy that resonates with her. Engaging in sports amidst this environment creates a unique connection between her body and the sea. She tells me, “It feels like I’m entering a profound trance, tapping into something much deeper, almost as if accessing glimpses of past lives. These sensations are incredible. They renew my spirit, bring me calmness, and a deep connection with the natural cycles of life”.
Majo is currently 32 years old and will turn 33 in October. She initially began as a regular surfer before discovering SUP. Transitioning to SUP surfing presented her with a significant challenge both physically and mentally. Through her own journey, she aims to showcase the endless possibilities and joys of this particular water sport to those who have not yet had the opportunity to try it. While it may appear easy and boring from the outside, it truly captures one's heart and becomes the perfect complement for any surfer.
“Mastering a larger board with increased dimensions required me to overcome frustrations and push myself to new limits. The physical demands of paddling and the longer rides on the board tested my endurance. However, this journey also allowed me to grow personally and mentally, freeing my mind and unlocking new sides of myself as an athlete, and ultimately leading to my decision to pursue a career as a professional SUP surfer here in Chile.”
Traveling is another of my dear friend’s greatest loves. She frequently travels around South America to compete in various events and to search for new waves and experiences. Her first surf trip abroad took her to Peru and Ecuador, where she had the opportunity to explore different breaks and learn about local culture. In 2018, Majo participated in her first Pan American competition which was held in Peru. This event allowed her not only to compete, but also discover new areas and surf big waves like Punta Rocas in Lima. However, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted travel and halted the general movement of SUP and surfing for a few years. Despite these challenges, Majo was nominated to represent Chile in the South American Beach Games in Santa Marta, Colombia, a great venue for showcasing her dedication and talent. These experiences not only expand her horizons as an athlete but also allow her to appreciate and value what Chile has to offer in terms of waves and natural beauty.
As an athlete, Majo has several goals she aims to achieve. One of her main aspirations is to work on her spirituality and cultivate virtues such as calmness. She recognizes that being able to observe and choose the right time to act is crucial not only in surfing, but also in life. She works hard to open doors for the next generation of female water sports enthusiasts in Chile, particularly within the field of stand up paddle athletes. She aims to professionalize the sport for women, becoming a role model and encouraging more girls to participate in this beautiful and challenging water sports activity. Majo understands that developing as an athlete can be tough, but she wants young girls to know that they are on the right path and that hard work will pay off.
"Remain faithful to your principles and do not abandon your goals. When you believe and feel that the end has come, prepare to grow much more and move forward. You are no longer the same person you were yesterday. Understand that the most beautiful thing you can do for yourself is, without a doubt, not to stop believing that you will always be able to achieve it.”
Her greatest achievement as an athlete is becoming a national champion in the discipline of SUP surfing. Additionally, she has achieved the title of national runner-up for two consecutive years in the same discipline. She also holds the accomplishment of being ranked 5th in South America. Another significant achievement is being nominated for one of the most important world surfing events, the Pan-American Santiago 2023, representing her beloved country, Chile.