Longform

Surfin' F-L-A

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AXN nevertheless liked the South Florida pair's proposal and gave Jose $6,000 in December to film a pilot. Parya asked friends for the names of surfers who would qualify. Several people mentioned Kristy. The two had never met until they boarded the plane for Lima in December. When the surfers arrived, the entourage boarded a yellow VW bus painted with purple flames and drove to San Bartolo to find Peruvian surfer Karen Gamarra, whom Jose knew. The 16-year-old joined the expedition.

Recently, Parya hosted a party to air the 15-minute pilot at her apartment. "Oh, I'm so stoked," Kristy said as she sat on the sofa with her parents, Pat and Cloty. For the soundtrack, Jose laced the video with Peruvian blues and rock music in Quechua. He mixed in footage of native Peruvians riding the surf of Huanchaco in caballos de totora, long narrow boats made of reeds that many Peruvians believe anticipated surfboard design.

The pilot is upbeat and fast-moving. Clips of the girls napping, running into the surf, and climbing a rock wall in a bar are spliced together and speeded up to crunch time. In one sequence, Kristy unknowingly eats a cow's heart. "It kind of captured the adventure of a trip," Parya explains. "You are always doing things for the first time, learning about the culture. There's frustration and excitement."

The women skateboarded with some local kids in the Peruvian mountains on the way to a whitewater rafting trip in Huaraz, downed beer at the bar of a hitchhiker they picked up along the way, and visited ancient ruins. They also surfed.

Parya and Jose showed the tape to AXN soon after the Queen of the Peak contest. Two weeks ago, Jose, who is in Costa Rica, e-mailed Parya. An AXN executive told him to make a list of equipment he'll need for the project. Now Parya wants to find amateur surfers from five countries to go on a three-month surf trip.

Parya says it will be different from the MTV version of the same idea. It will be homegrown, for one thing. "This will be real people on a real trip where nothing's planned," Parya says. "We just want it to be completely natural." Kristy has already signed on. "She has to come," Parya says. "She is so stoked about everything.



"We want to make it so that everyone involved comes out of it with a once-in-a-lifetime experience," she says. "It's about traveling, finding new spots to surf, meeting the locals, and learning about the culture -- just a really, really nice, long surf trip."

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Susan Eastman
Contact: Susan Eastman