Interview with Bodyboarder Ruben Villegas
Ruben Dario Villegas Ochoa is a 28-year-old bodyboarder from Colombia. Ruben has competed and placed on both the Panamanian and Colombian national circuits, gaining recognition in the sport of bodyboarding. He started winning competitions quickly, placing first in Panama in 2010 and 2011. With experience and sponsors behind him, he became confident “boogieboarding” was a becoming serious sport, but he didn't always see it this way. " I started bodyboarding in Colombia when I was 14 years old, in the beginning I wanted to surf. I didn't know bodyboarding even existed. I asked my granddad to bring me back surfboard from California. He was traveling there, and said he would bring me a present for Christmas. When he got back he gave me a boogie board. I was disappointed. I thought it was a toy, to play with in the white wash, less serious than a surfboard." "When you are a kid, you've got to play with what you are given. So I started going to the beach and surfing whitewashes with my "boogie”. This was at Pradomar the beach close to my house in Colombia."
"One day I saw Diego Insignares bodyboarding and he was on fire! He was doing back flips and air maneuvers with ease. That is the day I discovered what bodyboarding was about. Today we're best friends and both on the Colombian surf team."
One might have a similar revelation watching Ruben Villegas glide though the waves. Though Ruben does not compete anymore, he still bodyboards traveling all over the country. His favorite surf spot in Panama is Bocas Del Toro.