Few surf competitions inspire as much awe as the Big Wave World Tour (BWWT). Two dozen of the world’s most skilled surfers chasing the largest swells on the planet, dropping in on waves that most participants in the sport would balk at — a spectacle is assured.
Chile’s edition of the competition, the Quiksilver Ceremonial by Subaru, has been running since 2009, and takes place at the world famous break at Punta de Lobos, near the surf town of Pichilemu. A serendipitous combination of bay protection and a natural reef produces a clean wave that stays at several meters for most of the year. As Chile approaches winter, the crest enters official big wave territory, coming in at over 10 meters.
“The big swells in the Northern Hemisphere stop with the end of winter. Fortunately at the same time, they are just getting started in the Southern Hemisphere as their winter begins,” Gary Linden, Big Wave World Tour Director, said to Surf Transworld. “The Quiksilver Ceremonial opens its waiting period just as the South Pacific begins to work its magic and the surfers focus on a new set of weather patterns. The endless winter – a big wave surfer’s dream!”
Ramón Navarro, the godfather of Chilean surfing and widely regarded as having ridden the best barrel ever, is in Pichilemu right now casting his eye over the ocean, waiting for the swell to arrive. No one knows the wave at Punta de Lobos better than Navarro, and the competition will only commence when he gives the “green flag.”
“Navarro is a legend,” Quiksilver representative Matías Infante told This is Chile. “He’s the most experienced surfer in Chile and he gives the last word.”
According to Carlos Ferrer, producer of the Quiksilver Ceremonial since 2009, we may not have to wait much longer.
“We’ve gotten word of a big storm off Tahiti,” Ferrer told This is Chile. “This means the water may be getting big enough by the end of this week.”
As well as Navarro, six other Chileans will be among this year’s 24 competitors, more than any other year. Surf veterans Cristián Merello and Diego Medina were invited to join the competition, and this year organizers decided to reserve four spots for local surfers. At a qualifying tournament earlier this year, Cristían Tapia, Ismael Herreros, Fernando Zegers, and teen hopeful Camilo Hernández all earned the chance to gain recognition on the big stage.
You can find the full list of competitors, including surf legends Jamie Sterling and Greg Long, at the competition’s website.
Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for news of the green flag and subsequent competition updates.