Two Chileans grab awards at big wave comp in Punta de Lobos

Ramón Navarro and Cristian Merello snag Best Drop-In and Best Wave at the Big Wave World Tour Quiksilver Ceremonial Expression Session in Chilean waters.

Hundreds of surf fans gathered on the cliffs of Punta de Lobos Tuesday to watch the world’s best big wave surfers compete in Chile’s Big Wave World Tour (BWWT) event, the Quiksilver Ceremonial 2013.

While the waves were too small to justify official scoring for the BWWT, all 24 competitors took to the water for a four-heat “Expression Session,” entertaining the crowds with powerful charges and solid drop-ins.

No overall winner was announced, though Chilean surf veterans Ramón Navarro and Cristian Merello came away with honors for Best Drop-in and Best Wave respectively.

“We were waiting and hoping for waves of up to 20 ft and it didn’t happen, but I’m still really happy to be here with this trophy,” Navarro told This Is Chile. “I’m happy that everyone had fun and that it’s been a beautiful day. It’s always a pleasure to have the best surfers in the world come to my home, I’m just really stoked about the whole thing.”

Sponsors Quiksilver and Subaru put on a feel-good surf fest for the spectators that had travelled from all corners of the country to the world-famous point break at Punta de Lobos. Stalls sold traditional Chilean snacks and locally spun sheep’s wool clothing, and a DJ entertained the crowd from 9 a.m. until sunset.

While not reaching official big wave territory, the swell was still impressive, and the surf pummeled Punta de Lobos’ iconic twin rock towers, sending spray billowing 60 ft into the air. Some of the sport’s premier athletes took to the water, including Greg Long and Jamie Sterling, and Australia’s Ben Wilkinson impressed the crowd when he forwent a jet-ski tow-in and entered the water via the point-break’s rocky outcrop.

As well as Navarro and Merello, four other Chileans competed in the session: Diego Medina was invited to join the competition, while surfers Cristian Tapia, Ismael Herreros, Fernando Zegers, and Camilo Hernández all earned spots through a qualifying competition held earlier this year.