Local Legend: Risa Mara Machuca

Local Legend: Risa Mara Machuca

Local surf coach goes viral and hopes to shine light on her filmmaking dreams! Watch the viral video here.

Full name: 
Risa Mara Machuca

Where are you from and how did you arrive in Sayulita?
The first time I visited Sayulita was back in 98’. It was a pit stop on the way to Puerto Vallarta while hitchhiking with some girlfriends from Canada and New York. They were visiting me in San Blas, where my family is from. The entrance to Sayulita always caught my attention and we discovered so much magic here…back when the fishermen and locals outnumbered foreigners. When I lived mainly in the US, Sayulita became my getaway after visiting my father in San Blas. It was an easy trip to the airport and a gorgeous vibe.

When did you decide to move here permanently?
Years later, while working in film production in the US, my father fell ill and I returned to Mexico to care for him. Leaving my film and production work for months, I found myself feeling further away from my dreams of filmmaking. My father passed a few months later and I had make a choice to stay in Mexico or go back to the US. With 300usd to my name, I decided to stay. 15 years later I’m still here and grateful for that choice every single day. My father always wanted me to return to live in Mexico and it has somehow turned into the ultimate way of living in a more authentic way. Growing up between San Blas and Liberty, New York was also a blessing. I truly believe being bicultural can be a super power. It teaches me to be able to pivot in many situations, as well as enjoy many levels of life.

What got you into surfing?
Surfing was a big deal growing up in San Blas and I always wanted to do it. As a child, I allowed body shaming and bullying to keep me from exploring the sport more. But once I moved to Sayulita, I was truly able to have the opportunity to surf more than ever, and was old enough to disregard the body shaming.

Tell us all about your work, business and passion. 
Coaching was something that came naturally so ending up with the business “Surf It Out” was wonderful. That goes for my bathing suit line as well – “Belle Curves”. And also father/daughter retreats, women’s retreats (Surf Your Soul) and most recently supporting the experience for individuals affected by suicide (The Light Within).

What are you here to talk about today?
The Sayulita Film Festival Sayulita was major inspiration to keep my filmmaking passions going. People in Sayulita might see me as a surf coach and have no idea that I’m an award winning filmmaker and producer. I’ve been marinating and giving purpose to an authentic voice as a creator, and have been working on 3 major projects for 15+ years. I have a feature based on my award winning short film Así Es, along with a female surf documentary series and an animation project. These Biopics are full of female empowerment and shining light on Latinos.

What’s your goal for this coming year?
My goal for this year is to solidify investments for these projects. I put my heart and soul into everything I do and am so very much looking forward to creating projects with purpose!

Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you to Sayulitalife for the opportunity to share, and thank you for being community members. We need more consciousness for Sayulita, and the surrounding area, now more than ever. Sayulita is being sold off left and right, and we hope people can be aware of what some are contributing to all around. We love “local” living as much as possible, and support the community members that truly give back.

To watch Risa’s short film “Asi Es” click here.