Israel Barona | Surf coach, Photographer

From Ecuador

What is your role?

I’m the host & surf coach of the Surf Training + Mindset camp for men in El Salvador. My objective is to share the knowledge I gain through years & years of surfing and competing in order to help you improve your surfing technique, so you can perform better and faster. But mainly, I want to make sure you have fun while surfing, because it is such an incredible sport.        

I am also the photographer of the Salty Souls Experience in Ecuador and my role is to capture the best moments during the Experiences.

What’s your background and how did you acquire those skills?

I was born in a small surfer town call Montañita in Ecuador and I started surfing at a very young age. At 16, I started competing in international events representing Ecuador in several ISA, WSL, ALAS and PASA events. Throughout my surfing career, I had the opportunity to learn and train with various coaches that taught me the proper techniques to surf fluidly & powerfully. Surfing is not only physical, but also mental and requires discipline, patience & self-confidence. I’m also the surf coach of my sister Dominic Barona who is one of the best surfers in Latin America and has great possibilities to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games.

What’s your biggest challenge?

Surfing is a damn hard sport to learn. Struggles and frustrations are inevitable, no matter the level you’re at. That’s why my biggest challenge is to keep people motivated and their mindset positive even if they have a bad session… Everyone has shitty sessions sometimes, even pro surfers! 

Ninja super skill people don’t know you possess?

I would say my super skill is patience (in the water only though)… I can wait an hour to get THE perfect wave! 

Favorite place in the world? 

My favorite countries are Indonesia, Salvador and Ecuador. I love the waves, the hot weather and the food is really good!

What gets you the most excited in life?

Surfing around the world, discover new waves, get barreled, push my limits every day more.

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

In Ecuador, there is not a lot of surf culture and definitely not a lot of support for surfers, especially for someone like me that grew up in a small village in a modest family. So I guess believing in myself and in my surf enough to keep on doing it even though some people were trying to discourage me. Now, I can surf everyday, enjoying what I love most.