Colombia-born, California-raised, Bali-based FLKLR founder Mar Cubillos keeps a low profile — actually, low key is an understatement, if he wasn’t forced by commercial imperative to expose himself (if you will), this page would remain blank. But FLKLR needs to tell its own story so here goes…
Name: Mar Cubillos
Date of Birth: April 24
Home Break: Pleasure Point, CA
FLKLR board of choice: Tough one… I’d say it’s between the MarMar and the Messy Tessi, but again, the Nuki is so much fun too…
I was born in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, but I must have ended up there by mistake — Bogota is freaking cold and 8,000 feet above Ocean level. It's a beautiful brick jungle, but I always felt disconnected...
First Time on a Board
The first time I surfed was as a kid on a wooden door in San Andrés island, on the Caribbean side of Colombia. There were a couple of guys on the island who had boards but they were notoriously dickheads so we didn’t want to ask to borrow theirs. We stuffed the door knob with rags duct taped any exposed holes, then sanded the edges.
It was like riding a Cadillac with no steering wheel...
At 15, I left Colombia to live in California and that’s where I really got into surfing. I met Legend Johnny Rice RIP, the first native American shaper, he made my first log and I watched him shape it. Ever since then I fell in love with the fact that you can just take this piece of foam and just turn it into something you enjoy so much. Michel Junod is also a huge inspiration. He is such a stylish surfer and shaper. I learned a lot about surfing from CJ Nelson, Matt Tanner and other Pleasure Point locals.
I was constantly being pushed to surf better and better by those around me. I competed in longboard contests between 1999 and 2001, I was sponsored by brands like O’Neill Int, Pearson Arrow and Surftech, but in 2001 I quit because I didn’t like some of the negative elements of competitive surfing, and I didn’t enjoy "having" to surf.
I stayed with longboarding because I really wanted to master it. People have a misconception that longboarding is much easier than shortboards, I differ that, if you can master a longboard, you can master any other board.
Longboarding requires more technicality, as you have a few extra feet in front of you that you really have to keep in mind. When you’re riding a short thruster, usually you shred the wave to pieces, you don’t dance with it, you just tear it apart. That’s why for me, single fins and retro surfboards are so much more unique they teach you about style and about how to surf in any conditions, on any wave.
I have been working with templates from the 60s and 70s, like the single fins that Gerry Lopez surfed at Pipeline. The first time I shaped one of these single fins, I took it out and it really did not work, it did not want to turn off the tail like I wanted them to, but I kept modifying and changing until it finally turned with ease while hugging the wave.
I like the classic styles. I have also been working with single fins boards and styles from Wayne Lynch, god, that guy is a huge influence for me, he is so stylish, smart and kind hearted. Those kinds of souls inspired me to create a new movement. FLKLR.
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I started FLKLR in March 2012. I was so tired of looking at surfing magazines and seeing the same frigging story in every issue and the same chick with the same ass in every ad.
Initially the concept started out as a magazine.
I wanted to do something conscious, take a group of artists together and start something from surfers to surfers again. I had seen people monetize piece of shit surfboards and I thought ‘fuck this, let’s start making custom boards and try to revive this thing again’.
You’re unique and everyone should have their own custom surfboard.
And I also didn’t like the way that mainstream surfing betrayed women. I was raised by three strong women, my Mum is about 4’10”, she is a tiny warrior! It was really upsetting to see women demeaned, just sitting on the beach in the magazines and adverts.
That’s why I started sponsoring Lynn (Theisen), she has only been surfing two years but she is going to make it far. I will continue to empower women's surfing in any way possible.
One of the mottos behind FLKLR is ‘more trees, less assholes’ – that refers to the education system.
We need to educate people to be more conscious about the environment. That’s what I want FLKLR to stand for, I want to bring together a bunch of us who are going to do great things for the Ocean and the community. Because we simply give a shit.
"At the end of the day, all that matters is how nice we are to each other"
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Bali was so welcoming to me and FLKLR. I found our beautiful shop here in Canggu and from making the surfboards I started designing clothes. Now I am trying to work with alternative fabrics for our apparel line. What I want to do with FLKLR is to give back to the community and especially work with kids, they can change the new future that we all need. Bali has a big problem with garbage and the only ones that can change that is the youth. Bali grown-ups come from an era where plantain leaves were used for packaging and those could be disposed of anywhere, now plastic is used for packaging but that is still being thrown into the sea as if they were plantain leaves, and some find picking up garbage dimining. We need to change that mentality - ASAP.