Santos, Edwin


Top Puerto Rican surfer from the mid-'70s to the mid-'80s. Santos, the son of an engineer, began surfing in 1968 at age 12, after watching the World Surfing Championship, held that year on Puerto Rico's west shore. He was a already pool diving prodigy, and a star basketball player, but after buying a second-hand board for five dollars, surfing went to the fore. Santos dropped out of school and "disappeared" to America after making his decision to become Puerto Rico's first world tour surfer. He painted houses to support himself before getting a Puerto Rico-based sponsorship in 1980.

Santos never broke out of the middle of the pack during his years as a travelling pro, but did earn a footnote in tour history by beating Dane Kealoha in a prelim heat of the final contest of the 1979 season, thus denying the heavily favored Hawaiian a world title. The victory was a huge upset, as 1978 world champion Wayne Bartholomew later remembered. "You would have got 100 to 1 on Edwin before the heat." Surfer took a kinder view, saying the win showed a "progressing ability to think out the right moves while under fire." Santos was featured on the cover of the August 1983 issue of Surfing magazine.