Pichilemu will once again become an international surfing capital

Chile’s top spot for boarders and ray-catchers was hit hard by the February earthquake and tsunami. Now it will receive more than US$220,000 to reestablish its former glory.

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The small seaside town of Pichilemu, about 4.5 hours by bus from Santiago, has all the conditions necessary to offer the perfect wave for any class of surfer who might happen to visit.

The seabed is just right – from the beach which runs along the front of the town; and the tributary which extends into the ocean a short walk further to the south – to generate all different forms of waves. There are beach breaks, there are waves generated by rocky seabeds, and there’s a punchy amount of swell coming in from the deep sea.

These conditions, combined with the crystal-clear skies and beautiful nature around the coastline of central Chile, put Pichilemu clearly on the map as one of Chile’s top tourist destinations, and a principle stopping point on the backpacker trail.

Following the February 27 earthquake, Chile’s governmental agency dedicated to promoting business (Corfo), via an initiative of Innova Chile, organized a public competition for the “innovation and strengthening of reconstruction capability.”

Shortly after, Chile’s agency to promote rural and social development (Codesser) alongside Alianza Creativa, presented a study to the competition’s board, winning the $106 million peso (US$ 222,000) budget. The study argued that a good route to the further development of Chilean tourism is to establish ‘hot-spots’ of sports, such as surfing, in this case.

January 2011 saw the first planning meeting about the route ahead. “The idea is to create the right conditions for Pichilemu to become a key international destination,” Barbara Saez, head of the project, said in an interview with El Mercurio. “We are now working on studies to see how we can improve the area and take advantage of what it has to offer.”

The program will last 15 months and is now underway as of February 2011.

This post is also available in Spanish