Cheyenne Patino-Ubeda has been surfing since she was six years old.
But her love for sports and fitness doesn’t stop there. She does gymnastics, goes skateboarding with her dad, does trail biking and even does total resistance exercises.
Cheyenne who is now nine lives in Buccoo, Tobago and is a standard two student at Tobago International Academy.
She told Newsday Kids, “I like riding big waves and sometimes, when I ride the waves, I see turtles.”
But even though she likes riding big waves, she admits it can sometimes get scary, especially if a big wave is approaching her and she can’t ride it. Luckily, she has a technique that helps her ride out the situation.
“When there’s a big wave, that you can’t ride, you have to go into a ball. To go into a ball, you have to hold your foot when the wave is coming towards you.”
Doing this reduces the chance of Cheyenne falling off her board when she comes in contact with the wave.
Coach Jason Apparicio, who runs the JASA surfing academy, helps Cheyenne sharpen her surfing skills. Last year, Apparicio entered Cheyenne in a virtual surfing contest that included other young surfers from around the Caribbean. She placed first in the Caribbean in the girls under 12 category and won a surfboard from world-renowned US surfer Kelly Slater.
Cheyenne is a member of the Surfing Association of TT and was the youngest competitor in the association’s 2018 Scott Tucker Memorial surfing event.
She loves being outdoors and sees sports as a way to spend more time there.
While surfing comes with lots of thrills, you might be surprised to know that Cheyenne finds total resistance exercises more difficult.
“I think stretching (while doing the exercises) is the hardest because sometimes it can hurt a lot when I do splits, and some positions may hurt.”
However, she understands sports isn’t always easy and will push you outside your comfort zone. It’s a feeling she wants all kids to experience. She encourages them to get outdoors and get active.
Cheyenne also snorkels. On any given day, you can find her snorkelling on Tobago’s reefs – when the beaches are open, that is.
It’s a skill she learned when she started swimming at age two.
“I go snorkelling at Mt Irvine reef and Grafton. I like to be in the sea because it’s nice. I like to see the fishes on the reef.”
Beaches are currently closed because of covid19 restrictions and it’s no surprise Cheyenne is sad and will miss her surfing community.
For now, she will turn her attention to drawing, practising her piano skills, continuing her other non-water related sporting activities and focusing on school work.
She’ll also be brushing up on her language skills as she also speaks French. Her dad is French and he has been teaching her the language.
Looking to the future, Cheyenne knows she can do it all and isn’t limiting her goals.
She hopes to represent TT at the Olympics in surfing and also wants to get involved in wildlife conservation because she loves animals. She’s proud to say that she’s held a snake and an iguana.
Cheyenne is thankful to her dad, Gregory Ubeda, and mom, Lamani Patino, for their continued support and says her dad laid the foundation for her athleticism.
If you want to keep up with Cheyenne’s surfing adventures, following her on Instagram @cheyennemiasurf