Surgery for El Salvador Surf Champ

Brian Perez grew up a few hundred yards from the waves at Punta Roca, El Salvador’s most famous point break. His family still lives in the little cinderblock and tin row house on the outskirts of La Libertad, where fishermen mend their nets and hogs root in the muck. It’s not fancy, but it might still be Central America’s richest surf real estate, and Perez, 17, has recently emerged as the small nation of 6 million’s brightest young surfing talent. Perez has the skills—the slashing cutbacks, towering aerials, and quiet humility—to compete at the top rungs of his sport, but he needs help recovering from an injury.  

The El Salvador surfing community is raising money to help pay for his surgery. Brian suffered a knee injury which lead to a serious infection in his femur last year. That time, we were able to raise enough for his surgey and he healed enough to start surfing again. Unfortunately, the infection has come back and has led to a condition called osteochondritis dissecans. He needs another surgery ASAP. 

Please donate anything you can so he can get back to surfing and keep representing his country!

If we can help Brian get surfing again soon, he will have a chance to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics, the first games to feature surfing. 

(The house where Brian grew up.)

El Salvador is in the midst of an epidemic of drug and gang violence. The situation has earned it the inauspicious title of the most dangerous country outside of a war zone. An uneventful day last February drew international headlines because it was the first time in two years that the country had gone 24 hours without a murder. To be clear, El Salvador is a safe and inviting surf destination for foreigners who stick to tourist areas like El Tunco. But the violence is real for the people who live with it daily in the barrios. Perez’s one-year-old sister was killed by a stray bullet that came through the family home three years ago. In order to avoid gang conscription, Perez had to drop out of high school and move to a new area. If it weren’t for surfing, Perez could easily be one of the thousands of young migrants who turn up at the U.S.–Mexico border each year.

But instead, he has a rare opportunity to become a professional surfer and bring positive attention to his country’s growing surf industry. Brian has worked his way up to being one of the best surfers in Central America. 

We need to make sure he gets healed completely with this surgery so he can keep up his accent in the sport and bring much needed positive attention to his community. 

Thank you to sponsors Stay Covered, Tropical Freaks, Chemistry Surfboards and Brixton for helping keep gear and medical costs to a minimum.

Funds will cover surgery, rehabilitation and Gofundme transaction fees. Any addtional funds raised will be used to help get Brian to his next competition. 

Funds Management

Ethan Schaffer is in charge of the funds raised in this campaign. He lives in Seattle, Washington, and is the founder of multiple non-profits and businesses. He has an MBA and is currently the treasurer of the non-profit Food Action. He will ensure funds are accounted for and distributed properly.
  • Kiayu Sun 
    • $186 
    • 58 mos
  • Carlos Cedillos  
    • $10 
    • 60 mos
  • Guilherme Vasquez 
    • $20 
    • 60 mos
  • Jonathan Woolley 
    • $20 
    • 60 mos
  • Mike Dooley 
    • $75 
    • 60 mos
See all


Ethan Schaffer 
Seattle, WA